Mack Hollins was making his first career start. JJ Arcega-Whiteside was playing in his third career game, Greg Ward in his first.
So with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery both out with injuries, the Eagles went into their game against the Lions Sunday with one experienced wide receiver.
One guy who had started a game. One guy who had more than 21 career catches. One guy Carson Wentz could really count on.
That was Nelson Agholor. Considering the circumtances, he had to be great.
Then he fumbled.
The plays that you messed up on could have been the plays that determined an opportunity to win,” a disconsolate Agholor said at his locker after the Eagles lost to the Lions Sunday. “In my mind, I’m trying to eliminate bad plays. I think good plays are going to come. I think I’m gifted, I’m coached well, I’m put in great positions, but in terms of making mistakes, it can’t happen. Especially with me being a veteran in the group.
It was a bad one.
The Eagles trailed by seven points late in the second quarter when Carson Wentz got Agholor the ball on a 1st-and-10 near midfield. He gained a few yards and then the ball just popped out when he tried to gain a few more.
Darius Slay recovered and returned it 38 yards, leading to a short Lions field goal drive.
I just shouldn’t make that mistake,” he said. “It is simple as that, man. Trying to fight for more yards, trying to turn it up. Maybe just catch, tuck and fall. You got six yards already, just take the six yards. I wanted to try to make another play and I left the ball behind.
The fumble was the fourth of Agholor’s career but his first lost fumble since a loss to the Redskins in 2015 when the Eagles were lateraling the ball on the final play of the game.
So it was really the first true lost fumble of his career.
It hit him hard.
You can’t make excuses,” he said. “We had opportunities on balls, we’re supposed to make plays. S--- hurts. It really does because we love this game, we try really hard, we practice hard and there’s no excuses. We have to make plays. … I wish I didn’t have those mistakes because you can’t turn over the football. I wish I wasn’t one of the problems.
This was the second straight week Agholor put up decent numbers but made a crushing mistake.
He was 8 for 107 last week in Atlanta but dropped a wide-open 60-yard pass that could have won the game. And he was 8 for 50 Sunday in the Eagles’ 27-24 loss with his second career two-TD game (see observations).
He’s got 18 catches, 168 yards and three TDs so far but all anybody is going to talk about is the screw-ups.
We just can’t make mistakes,” he said. “We can’t make mistakes. We’ve got to be better. One hundred percent. We’ve got to be better. We have to evaluate ourselves. It’s a quick turnaround and we have to try and not repeat the mistakes that we made tonight.
Even Agholor didn’t want to talk about his catches or his touchdowns. He was focusing only on what he did wrong.
Nobody knows when Jackson and Jeffery will get back. Until they do, it’s going to be up to Agholor and the other guys to make plays.
And to stop screwing up.
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