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Eagles don't expect another collapse after hot start

The situations aren't identical. The Eagles were 3-0 last year, and they're 2-1 this year, with a seven-point loss on the road to an undefeated Chiefs team.

They're similar enough, though, that head coach Doug Pederson made a point to note what happened to his team last year.

The Eagles fell apart last fall after that 3-0 start, winning just two of their next 11 games before year-ending wins over the Giants and the Cowboys' backups.

Week 3 last year was a shocking 34-3 win over a very good Steelers team. Week 3 this year was a last-second win over the Giants on a 61-yard field goal.

Is there a lesson from what happened last year? Pederson believes there is.

"Yeah, it's tough," Pederson said. "Because any time you win, and you win [in] the fashion that we did, it is emotional. It's a physical football game, No. 1. It was an emotional football game, No. 2. And then to win it, No. 3.

"Keeping the guys grounded [is the challenge]. I think sometimes wins can mask a little bit of the ‘we-need-to-get-better mentality,’ and we've got to continue to get better and show improvement. 

"And so that's the challenge this week. …  Part of my job is to make sure that they are focused and ready to practice … and then we'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. 

"So it can be a little bit of a challenge. I don't want them to read a lot of their press clippings because there can be a lot of praise. But at the same time, we understand that we have to get better."

Last year, the bye week followed that win over the Steelers and then the Eagles went into Detroit, where Ryan Mathews' fumble near midfield with under three minutes left led to a crushing 24-23 loss that started the downward spiral.

There are a lot of players on the current Eagles who weren't here for last year's collapse, but there are 34 guys on the active roster who were.

Did the Eagles learn from how they handled that 3-0 start? We'll find out in the coming weeks.

“I think coming off the bye, the loss after the bye to the Lions, and it being such a tough loss, I think the combination of that really set us back a little bit," linebacker Jordan Hicks said.

"I think we’re a little bit more mature than we were last year. We’ve got guys who’ve been in that situation, who understand what it takes to win in this league, what it takes to have success in this league, and I don’t expect that to happen this year."

The Eagles travel to the West Coast on Saturday and face the winless Chargers at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at the StubHub Center, a 30,000-seat soccer stadium on the campus of California State University in Carson, California.

It'll be the Eagles' first game in the L.A. area since Week 3 of 1990, when they beat the Rams, 27-21, and quite likely saved Buddy Ryan's job after an 0-2 start.

The Eagles have lost five of their last seven West Coast games, with the last win coming in Oakland in 2013 — Nick Foles' seven-touchdown game against Matt McGloin and the Raiders.

"Going to the West Coast can be tough," Carson Wentz said. "Now you're playing in a soccer stadium, an 0-3 team — their record might say they're not a good team but they are a solid team, they've been in every one of their games. It's definitely one we definitely can't overlook."

Last year's Eagles probably would have lost this game.

We'll learn a lot about this year's Eagles team on Sunday.

“First and foremost, it’s a long season," Hicks said. "NFL, every week you’re going up against a team that can beat you and you really have to be prepared week in and week out.

"You can’t take any weeks off, you can’t let one game cause another loss and you have to make sure you’re constantly continuing to get better and fixing your mistakes throughout the year."