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Lions 24, Eagles 23

It was so very close.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly everyone expected the Eagles to handle the Lions on Sunday. So when Matthew Stafford threw his third touchdown of the first half to give Detroit a 21-7 lead with three minutes left in the first half, things were looking... interesting for the Eagles.

There was a porous first half from the defense. There were more than 100 yards of penalties against the Eagles.

Alright, it didn’t look interesting, it looked bad.

And then Carson Wentz brought the Eagles all the way back with another incredible game. And the defense stiffened up, allowing just three points in the second half. And the Eagles took a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter and everything looked good.

And then... Ryan Mathews. Oh, Ryan Mathews.

The oft-injured, soft-spoken, really-good-guy running back who can’t seem to catch a dang break in his entire NFL career fumbled the ball with just over two minutes left in the game, giving the Lions optimal field position. All they needed was a dozen yards and a field goal to win the game.

Stafford completed a huge third down, deep into Eagles territory, and kicked a field goal with 88 seconds left.

Which left Carson Wentz with one more drive.

He threw an interception on the first play of the drive. The Eagles lost.

Wentz finished the game 25 of 33 for 238 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He looked once again like a seasoned veteran. At least a few of those incompletions were drops, including one by Dorial Green-Beckham in the end zone.

He had two bad throws, all day. One on the first drive, and one on his final play of the game.

Sunday was just another example of why Eagles fans, and Eagles coaches, and Eagles players are very excited about the 23-year-old quarterback.

On the flip side of the ball, things weren’t as rosy.

Jim Schwartz’s second return to Detroit since being fired as the Lions’ head coach started out sub-optimally. The Lions scored a touchdown on each of their first three drives of the game, scoring at will. The passing game was rolling, with Stafford completing 11 of his first 15 passes, and Theo Riddick — Theo Riddick?! — was unstoppable both on the ground and in the air.

The second half, however, was a completely different story.

Maybe it was the return of Nigel Bradham from a seeming first-half exile for his bonehead-ery? That was probably a fairly big part; Mychal Kendricks was playing some abhorrent football in the first half.

It’s also just been this unit’s style, to play better defense as the game goes along. It helps when the offense is extending drives and letting the defense rest, and it helps when Matthew Stafford fumbles the ball for no reason in his own red zone, but there’s just something about Schwartz’s men. They love the second half. They held the Lions to 45 yards in the final 30 minutes of the game.

45. YARDS.

In the end, though, the second-half comeback went for naught. The Eagles are 3-1.

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