Detroit Lions defense does enough to slow ailing Eagles, 27-24, stay undefeated

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t pretty Sunday, just like it hasn’t been all year. But the Detroit Lions are still among the NFL’s unbeatens.

Jamal Agnew returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown and the Lions got a key fourth-down stop with 41 seconds to play after allowing a blocked field goal to beat the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, 27-24.

The Lions were outgained by nearly 100 yards but came up with enough clutch defensive plays to improve to 2-0-1 heading into next week’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs at Ford Field.

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The Eagles cut a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to three with 6:59 to play but went four-and-out on their final two drives.

Their final possession started at midfield, after Malcolm Jenkins blocked a Matt Prater kick with 1:40 to play and a block-in-the-back penalty negated a big return.

Tracy Walker broke up a pass to Zach Ertz on first down and Mack Hollins couldn’t make a juggling catch over Mike Ford on second down, leaving the Eagles in third-and-10.

Lions cornerback Darius Slay celebrates his fumble return as he runs past Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz during the second quarter Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia.

After a short pass to Nelson Agholor, Wentz appeared to complete a big fourth-down pass to Darren Sproles down the right sideline but Sproles was called for offensive pass interference for shoving Tavon Wilson on the play.

Out of field-goal range and backed up at their own 45, the Eagles threw deep on fourth-and-15. Rashaan Melvin had good coverage on rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who dropped Wentz’s pass inside the 10-yard line and the Lions ran out the final 41 seconds on the clock.

Wentz, playing without his top two receivers, completed 19 of 36 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.

Matthew Stafford was 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards for the Lions, who recovered two first-half fumbles by the Eagles to build a 20-10 halftime lead.

The Lions managed just two field goals off the turnovers, even though they started the second possession at the Philadelphia 15.

Lions tight end Logan Thomas makes a reception past Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby during the second quarter on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia.

Agnew, who was pulled from his return duties in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, took the Eagles’ opening kickoff 100 yards for the score, and Kerryon Johnson (on a 1-yard run) and Marvin Jones (on a 12-yard pass from Stafford) scored touchdowns for the Lions.

Jones finished with six catches for a game-high 101 yards for the Lions, who lost starting cornerback Darius Slay to an apparent hamstring injury.

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