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Lions Stun Eagles with Fourth-Quarter Comeback, Overtime Win

Oct 14, 2012, 5:55 PM EDT

This is what happens when a team comes to rely on last minute heroics. Eventually, inevitably, they will fall short.

For three of the first four weeks of the 2012 season, the Eagles were able to score late to either take or extend a lead. The offense held up that end of the bargain again on Sunday, just as they did last week in Pittsburgh. But similar to last week, the defense would prove unable to hold the fort in the end.

A 70-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to Jeremy Maclin put the Birds ahead by 10 with five minutes to play, and seemed like it could be the final nail in the coffin for the Lions. The Birds would go on to squander that spread before regulation was out though, forcing overtime — and along with it, indigestion.

Despite winning the coin toss, the Eagles went backwards for a quick three-and-out, the ensuing punt giving Detroit excellent field position. The Lions only needed to travel 23 yards on five plays for Jason Hanson to kick a game-winning 45-yard field goal, sealing Philadelphia’s fate with a heartbreaking 26-23 loss.

It was Juan Castillo’s unit’s most disappointing effort this season. Down Fletcher Cox, who had been ejected earlier for throwing a punch, and Nate Allen, who left the game with an injury, the Eagles surrendered 20 points over the final five drives and 19 minutes of action. After the Lions were unable to mount consistent offense through three quarters, the only thing that stopped them down the stretch was the clock.

While the defense will likely be in the cross-hairs over the next two weeks, they didn’t get a lot of help in the end. The Birds went three-and-out on their final possession in the fourth quarter, then again in overtime. And once more, the turnovers. Michael Vick threw a pair of interceptions, was sacked three times, and lost another fumble on a miscommunication with Dallas Reynolds. Clearly they could have done more.

Yet to paraphrase the great Donovan McNabb, when the offense came off the field, the Eagles had the lead. That is sure to be the story of this game.

So right when it was beginning to appear as if they would be heading into the bye with a 4-2 record, Philly is dropped to 3-3 for 2012. Three of their wins are by a combined four points, while two of their losses are by a total of five. Losses like this only adds to the feeling that the Birds are lucky to even be .500 – and it seems we are only adding to the list of their flaws as we go.