For eight games, the Philadelphia Eagles were perfect -- at least in end result.
That all changed Monday, as the Eagles were stymied by the NFC East-rival Washington Commanders in a 32-21 loss rife with Philadelphia flubs largely uncharacteristic of their winning efforts prior. Thus, as members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins popped champagne bottles, head coach Nick Sirianni and his Eagles were not drowning in their sorrows but rather holding themselves accountable.
"I think when you play the way we did tonight, and you play the way we did on all three phases -- offense, defense, special teams, coaching -- when you play like that," Sirianni said, "it does seem like everything's going against you, you create your own luck, and we played like crap."
As the Eagles fell to 8-1, the game did not come and go without its controversy.
Down 23-21 after they'd finally rekindled their offense on the previous drive, Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert fumbled away the ball despite replays showing he was clearly the victim of a face mask. On the Commanders' final offensive possession of the game, quarterback Taylor Heinicke gave himself up and was then hit by Brandon Graham, who drew a controversial unnecessary roughness call and bestowed Washington a new set of times and more clock to kill.
Sirianni made it clear that those calls -- nor any others -- weren't to blame for the loss; he and his team were.
"The [four] turnovers lost us the game, the time of possession loses you the game, we lost it together -- offense, defense, special teams, coaching -- we lost it together, that's what lost us the game," he said.
Indeed, the Eagles' first loss came with other unfortunate firsts. They trailed for the first time in the second half. They lost the turnover battle for the first time. And they lost the time of possession battle in a fashion seldom seen.
All began well for Philly, as Jalen Hurts cashed in a Taylor Heinicke fumble with a rushing touchdown and then threw a jump-pass for a TD on the Eagles' second possession. It all unraveled thereafter, though.
Coming into the game with just three turnovers on the season, Philadelphia had four on Monday.
After a Hurts interception led to a 17-14 Commanders lead in the second quarter, the Eagles emerged with their first second-half deficit, which exposed a long-running deficiency. After Monday, the Eagles' 7.9 points per game in the second half are seventh-worst in the NFL, and their 142.8 yards per game during the final two quarters in third-worst, per NFL Research. Philadelphia's season-long lack of second-half offense portended to be a problem if a comeback presented itself. On Monday, though the Eagles were able to cut it to 23-21 with a fourth-quarter score, those problems persisted.
And, perhaps symbolically, time ran out on their undefeated bid as they ran just 47 plays to the Commanders' 81 with Washington possessing the ball for 40 minutes and 24 seconds -- more than double Philadelphia's 19:36.
Two quick scores early for Philly were not any foreshadowing as their next 10 offensive plays resulted in an interception and two three-and-outs. As the Eagles offense sputtered, the Philadelphia defense tired with Washington marching and grinding out the clock.
And so it went that every compliment for Washington's efforts came with the caveat that it was an Eagles' loss more so than an Commanders' victory.
"It's on us," Hurts said. "That's a great football team. They're well coached. I think with the uncharacteristic -- that's the word we're using -- the uncharacteristic mistakes that we've made. Things that we haven't really done all year in terms of our formula for winning football games. You know, when you go out there and turn the ball over like that, not so good things happen. We have to do a better job as a team."
For the first time all season, the Eagles weren't the better team. But, undefeated no longer, Sirianni's message was about moving on as a team.
"We started 8-0 together," he said, "we lost this game together, and we'll move on together, and we'll get better from this."