Mistakes, confusion doom Eagles in seventh straight loss

Eagles fans voice their displeasure with Andy Reid. The coach is likely to be fired after the season.

Gary Barnridge streaked right down the middle of the field — completely uncovered, as safeties stared at the linebackers — and hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton. It was emblematic of the Eagles’ defense since Todd Bowles took the reins.

“We were in zone coverage. They got us,” said linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

Ryans and the Eagles looked confused, almost like someone had whispered the play into Newton’s ear. The Panthers scored 14 points in a 3-minute span to start Monday night’s game and walked out of the Linc with a 30-22 victory over the slumping Eagles. It marked the seventh straight loss for Andy Reid’s squad, the longest skid of his coaching career.

“It’s not the same things every week,” safety Nate Allen said. “There’s going to be mistakes. That’s part of football. You have to eliminate those mistakes.”

But the Eagles haven’t been able to do that in 2012. They turned the ball three times against Carolina, while failing to register a takeaway for the third straight week. They rank last in the NFC in that department.

“A lot of misfortune out there,” Ryans said. “Turning the ball over and not getting turnovers again, leaving guys open on the deep balls is unacceptable, can’t win like that.”

To their credit, the Eagles did make a game out of it thanks to a breakout performance from Bryce Brown. The rookie back busted loose for 178 yards, a new franchise rookie record, and two touchdowns. His 5-yard touchdown run gave the Eagles a lead late in the third quarter, a lead that the defense quickly handed back. After Newton scored on a 2-yard run, Brandon Boykin sealed the Eagles’ fate when he fumbled the kickoff return.

“It’s stressing because every possible way that we could lose a game, we’ve done it,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “Right now our performance is pretty terrible.”

And it has most likely cost Reid his job. Before the season started, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie informed the world that an 8-8 record wasn’t acceptable. Lurie wanted to see “substantial improvement.” Well, obviously that hasn’t happened.

Reid mentioned that he hasn’t spoken with Lurie about the possibility of being dismissed before this lost season ends. Holding a 3-8 record, he is probably coaching his final five games in Philadelphia.

“Obviously, he’s as competitive as anybody and he wants to win games,” Reid said of Lurie. “That’s what he’s in this business for, but we really haven’t gone there. I’m trying to get this football team to win games, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The players are trying, too. As much as they block it out, they see the writing on the wall.

“He’s a great coach, but that’s all out of my hands,” Allen said. “I can’t even imagine [being in Reid’s position], with the passing of his son and all that, I can’t even imagine. He’s the toughest coach I’ve ever been coached by mentally.”

Three players up

1. Bryce Brown. Rookie running back made his first start at any level since Oct. 31, 2008 and went off for 178 yards, with a 65-yard gainer, and two touchdowns. The performance broke two franchise records, for most rushing yards by a rookie back (besting Correll Buckhalter). His two touchdowns were also the most by an Eagles rookie back since Ryan Moats (2005). Brown (two fumbles) needs to secure the ball better.

2. Vinny Curry. Second-round pick made his NFL debut for the team he rooted for growing up and showed he can play with the big boys. The rookie defensive end ran mostly with the second unit and tallied five total tackles, including a nice wrap-up on his very first snap. Curry said he was thinking of his mom, who would have celebrated her birthday Tuesday. She passed away one year ago. “She would have been proud because I played my butt off,” Curry said.

3. Offensive line. They were far from perfect, but it was by far the best this makeshift unit has looked all season. They helped pave the way for Brown’s record-setting night and kept Nick Foles clean (one sack) and only one quarterback hit, per the stat sheet.

Three players down

1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The up-and-down corner was mostly down Monday. DRC got beat badly on by a deep pass to Louis Murphy, who hauled in it for 55 yards. Not only did he give up the big play, he was also flagged for pass interference. It wasn’t the only time DRC looked confused. He struggled on crossing routes again.

2. Nick Foles. His final stats don’t look too bad, but the rookie quarterback looked tentative despite having pretty good protection. Foles nearly threw three interceptions — two potential pick-sixes — and got bailed out on a phantom pass interference call on his 51-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin. Foles finished 16-of-21 for 119 yards (89.2 QB rating).

3. Brandon Boykin. Kick returner picked the absolute worst possible time to fumble, letting the ball slip out with 4:31 remaining and the Birds down eight. For the game, Boykin averaged 22 yards on three returns. Ironically, the one he fumbled was his longest return of the season.


Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.


Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…


Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…


D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.


Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…


'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…


Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.


NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?


Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.


Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.


Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…


How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…


Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.


Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.