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Enigmatic Eagles seek answers after blown leads

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Enigmatic Eagles seek answers after blown leads

PHILADELPHIA (AP) When Andy Reid uses the word ``pathetic'' to describe the performance of the Philadelphia Eagles, it must've been really bad.

The Eagles blew a 10-point lead with 5:18 left and lost 26-23 in overtime to Detroit on Sunday to fall to 3-3 going into their bye week. It was the second straight game they wasted a late lead, a common theme over the past two seasons.

Throughout his 14 seasons as head coach, Reid typically accepts blame after each loss, filling his news conferences with quotes such as: ``I have to do a better job'' and ``I have to put the players in better position to perform.''

After uttering those phrases several times Monday, Reid was uncharacteristically critical of the offense for its last two series. Michael Vick and Co. went three-and-out late in the game, allowing the Lions enough time to get the tying field goal to force overtime. After winning the coin toss, they went three-and-out again with Vick getting sacked on the first two plays to lose 21 yards.

That forced Mat McBriar to punt out of the end zone, so the Lions started with excellent field position and won it on a 45-yard field goal.

``The last two drives offensively were pathetic,'' Reid said. ``They were pathetic from a coaching standpoint and they were pathetic from a players' standpoint. When you're in a tight game and have an opportunity to score, you go down and you put it together. When it's needed, when your back is to the wall, and when it's the fourth quarter or overtime, you put that together and you go take care of business.

``Both sides of the ball, we failed in that area.''

Another favorite quote for Reid is this: ``We all have a piece of the pie.''

Six games in, he's right on. The offense, defense and special teams share the blame for a mediocre start.

Vick has been a turnover machine, throwing eight interceptions and losing five fumbles. Overall, the Eagles have 17 turnovers. But it's not all Vick's fault. The injury-depleted offensive line has struggled mightily, letting Vick get hit at an astounding rate.

The running game has been inconsistent and the receivers aren't making standout plays. Tight end Brent Celek dropped a TD pass on one drive that ended with a field goal and his pass interference penalty negated his own TD catch on another that ended with 3 points. Turned out to be a difference between winning and losing.

``I feel a huge responsibility for this loss with how I played and the position I put our team in,'' Celek said. ``It's just uncalled for, especially, for my age and position on this team, I can't do that. I can't do that to this team, to this city, this organization.

``That's on me.''

On defense, the Eagles are a confusing group. They suddenly can't seem to get to the quarterback. After leading the NFL with 50 sacks last year, they have only seven and none in the past three games. But they were able to limit yards and keep teams off the scoreboard en route to a 3-1 start.

In the last two games, however, they've allowed long drives at crucial times late in the fourth quarter. They can't get stops at important points and nobody on defense seems capable of making a big play. The Eagles have forced just eight turnovers.

``It stings because it's the second week in a row that we didn't get it done in the fourth quarter,'' linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. ``That is our time to go out and shut people out. We didn't get it done.''

Special teams have been downright awful all season for Philadelphia. They had a chance to redeem themselves against the Lions, who entered ranked last in coverage and having allowed four returns for scores. But the Eagles averaged just 4.0 yards on three punt returns and 24.4 yards on five kick returns.

``We go back and we evaluate and tear things apart during this bye week and look at how we get ourselves better in both areas - as players and coaches,'' Reid said. ``You evaluate everything and that's what we'll do from that standpoint. With 10 games left, we know that there are a lot of games left. Anything is possible in the NFL, and I still believe that we have a good football team. We just have to get a couple of things together here.''

Reid, as he normally does during a bye, gave the players the entire week off. They'll return next Monday to begin preparing for the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons (6-0). The Falcons also will be coming off a bye. The Eagles have never lost a regular-season game after a bye under Reid, going 13-0.

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

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USA Today Sports Images

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

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NBC Sports Washington

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 9/16 Colts
Week 3 9/23 Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 10/8 (Mon.) @Saints (8:15)
Week 6 10/14 Panthers
Week 7 10/21 Cowboys (4:25)
Week 8 10/28 @Giants
Week 9 11/4 Falcons
Week 10 11/11 @Bucs
Week 11 11/18 Texans
Week 12 11/22 (Thanksgiving) @Cowboys (4:30)
Week 13 12/3 (Mon.) @Eagles (8:15)
Week 14 12/9 Giants
Week 15 12/16 @Jaguars
Week 16 12/23 @Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 12/30 Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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