DeSean: 'I can't really discuss what happened'
The Eagles are still in first place in the NFC East, despite losing 48-30 to the Vikings. (USA Today Images)
MINNEAPOLIS – They didn’t just lose the game. They lost their composure as well.
The Eagles got hammered 48-30 by the Vikings Sunday at the Metrodome, and as the game got away from them, they lost their cool several times.
With the game out of hand, the Eagles were called for three frustration-related penalties in the fourth quarter. Those, combined with DeSean Jackson’s sideline antics in the third quarter (see story), left the impression of a team unable to mentally handle its first loss in seven weeks.
“It showed a lack of maturity,” veteran receiver Jason Avant said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t carry over into the other games because you can’t have those in order to be a playoff team, and that’s our aspiration, to get in.
“You can’t have those penalties and beat a team that’s fundamentally sound, like the Bears. So hopefully that was one of those atypical things that never occurs again.”
The Eagles, 8-6 and still in first place in the NFC East, face the Bears Sunday and then finish the season against the Cowboys.
In all Sunday, the Eagles were penalized nine times for 94 yards, both season highs and both their most since the 2012 opener, when they were cited 12 times for 110 yards against the Browns.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined, for sure,” LeSean McCoy said. “Today we were not disciplined enough. The type of football we play, we play smart and aggressive and we didn’t do that today.
“We were playing sloppy, small things that we shouldn’t have done. We’ve got to keep our cool. The frustration was terrible. Definitely frustrating. When you need to get stops and you need the ball to go our way, you can’t have those penalties and losing your cool and things like that.
“We’ve got to get back to playing Eagle football. When everything’s going against you, sometimes you lose your cool, and I think today that’s what happened.”
The Eagles have been pretty good this year about dealing with adversity and keeping their cool when things aren’t going well.
Not Sunday. Not against the Vikings.
“You never want to see that,” guard Evan Mathis said. “I did not see how they all unfolded, but if it is someone letting their emotions get the best of them, then we cannot have that. We have to keep our composure.”
The main offenders were members of the Eagles’ beleaguered secondary, which allowed 383 passing yards to Matt Cassel.
With the Vikings leading 34-22 six minutes into the fourth quarter, cornerback Roc Carmichael was called for taunting after an exchange with Vikings receiver Rodney Smith.
A minute later, safety Patrick Chung was called for a 15-yard personal foul for unnecessary roughness after a late hit on Vikings tailback Matt Asiata, and one play later, Cary Williams was also cited for unnecessary roughness. One play after that, the Vikings scored to take a 41-22 lead.
Did the penalties cost the Eagles the game? Probably not. But this is a team that scored 34 points in the final 19 minutes against the Lions.
You never know.
Williams didn’t talk after the game, but Carmichael said he disagreed with the penalty.
“I just think it was a terrible call,” Carmichael said. “It wasn’t taunting, we were talking trash. It wasn’t like there was any pushing or any taunting. We were talking trash out there, and he said, ‘I’m going to get you next play,’ and I said something like, ‘It’s going to be a long day,’ and I turn around and there was a flag.”
Jason Peters said it was up to the veterans to remind the young players that they need to stay composed to give the Eagles a chance to come back.
But two of the offenders – Williams and Chung – have been in the league at least five years.
“Because we’re competitors, we want to win,” Peters said. “We got down to this team and some of the guys lost their cool. But you’ve got to keep your poise and fight through it.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys and the veterans have to show them how to handle certain situations.”