Eagles Lose Their Cool
Minneapolis — Flags were flying and tempers were flaring and the Viking horn was blowing for score after Minnesota score. The well-oiled machine that had ripped off five in a row broke down on Mall Of America Field.
A defense that had held its opponents to 21 points or fewer for nine games straight surrendered 48 to a Vikings team that was operating without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. LeSean McCoy, coming off a career day in the snow against Detroit, had 38 yards on just eight carries. The offense overall was choppy.
“A lot of frustration, honestly,” said DeSean Jackson. “We thought as an offense we should have came out there and be able to have a lot more success. We weren’t able to get it done. It was very frustrating, especially after the way we’ve been able to play the last couple weeks.”
The first signs of that frustration came in the third quarter after Nick Foles‘ second interception of the season. Jackson, the intended target, was animated as he returned to the sideline, apparently shouting in the direction of receivers coach Bob Bicknell and later, Jason Avant. Riley Cooper stepped in as mediator and was pushed away by Jackson, who eventually calmed down after a conversation with Avant away from the rest of the team.
“Football family is like dysfunction at times,” said Avant. “Sometimes tempers flare, and maybe the cameras caught that, but it’s no big deal.”
“I feel like I ran a great route, a great play call and I felt like I was open,” said Jackson. “I guess Nick wasn’t able to see right away. It took a little bit for the ball to get there, I looked up and I guess [Shaun Prater] came off Riley. At first when I ran the route nobody was on me.
“It was a frustrating part of the game. A big turnaround. I felt like I was open and I wasn’t able to get the ball and make a play.”
Jackson caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Foles later in the quarter and ended the day with 10 catches for 195 yards.
“I just went over there and tried to squash it,” said Chip Kelly, “and we’ll get to the bottom of it.”
Lack of discipline on the defensive side of the ball cost the Eagles down the stretch.
Roc Carmichael was whistled for taunting following a Minnesota punt early in the fourth quarter. The penalty backed the Eagles up to their own four-yard line. After a three-and-out, the Vikings started the next drive on the Eagles’ 36. Patrick Chung was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the first play of that series for flinging Matt Asiata down out of bounds. On the very next play, Cary Williams got in a shoving match with a Minnesota receiver and also got called for unnecessary roughness. Minnesota scored a play later, upping its advantage to 19.
“It showed a lack of maturity. Hopefully it doesn’t carry over to the other games because you can’t have those in order to be a playoff team,” said Avant. “You can’t have those and beat a team that is fundamentally sound like the Bears.”
Williams was pulled from the game in favor of Carmichael so that he could “cool off,” according to Bill Davis. He declined to speak with reporters afterwards.
“I was disappointed. I was disappointed that we lost our cool,” said Davis. “It’s a good group of veterans that can usually handle themselves, and we lost our cool at the end. We’ve got to get that fixed . Things are going to go bad sometimes. You’ve got to be able to handle it.
“[Williams] has been great, he really has. This is the first time that we really lost our composure.”
Said Kelly of the undisciplined play: “That will be straightened out. That’s not how we’re supposed to play, it’s obviously unacceptable and we’ll take care of that.”