It was one of the biggest plays from Sunday’s loss to the Lions and the Eagles were inexcusably ill-prepared.
In the second quarter, after Miles Sanders fumbled the ball away, the Lions took the field and ran a reverse to the left side of the field and gained 44 yards.
It looked like the Eagles had just 10 players on the field.
“It didn’t look like it …” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said.
They were definitely short a man. They were missing their right defensive end.
“That was an unfortunate situation and our substitution pattern broke down,” Schwartz said Tuesday. “I don’t know if you guys noticed, but we were rolling through quite a bit, trying to keep guys fresh. And Derek (Barnett) had gone down with that ankle injury and we were sort of in the middle of getting that settled and all of a sudden, we were on the field quick with that turnover. And all of a sudden, we had to take it and we had a miscommunication of who was going out there.
“We paid a heavy price for it because even though they get the ball at midfield, we still had a chance to keep them out of field goal range. That ball put them down (in field goal range). We were able to stop out of that, but three points in a game like that is big.”
On the play, Kerryon Johnson took a handoff from Matt Stafford and flipped the ball to J.D. McKissic, who ran free to the left exactly where the missing right defensive end should have been. Even Stafford got out in front and got a block on the play.
While the Eagles obviously didn’t notice they had just 10 players, the Lions certainly did.
“I’m really supposed to seal the end on that play," Stafford said, via MLive.com. "We only had 10 guys (to face) because there was no end over there, so I just kept moving and found the next guy. I’m sure he’s been hit a lot harder than that, but I at least tried to get in the way.”
Eventually, the Eagles got a stop on this drive and held the Lions to a field goal to extend the lead to seven. But the Eagles lost this game by three points. And in a game full of mistakes, starting a defensive drive with 10 players ranks right up there.
“I’m sure there’s a million plays in that game where you say ‘hey if we had made that catch’ or ‘if we had made that tackle’ or ‘if we got that sack,’” Schwartz said. “That’s one that we say ‘look, if we stopped that reverse.’ That’s not to say we would have stopped it if another guy had been there, but we sure got a lot better chance. Maybe we keep them off the board. Maybe we don’t. But maybe we keep them off the board there and we gotta do better than that.”
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