Eagles continue fall in 31-24 loss to Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—Just when it looked as though it couldn't get any worse for the underachieving Philadelphia Eagles, it did.
Now the most-hyped team in the preseason finds itself with one of the worst records in the NFL after a 31-24 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
After squandering fourth-quarter leads in each of their past three games, the Eagles were in position to rally from a 21-point deficit against the upstart Bills. But Michael Vick's fourth interception of the game late in the fourth quarter gave the Bills the ball, and Juqua Parker jumped offsides with 1:23 left on a fourth-and-inches play on Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's hard-count to allow the Bills to run out the clock and secure a win over the free-falling Eagles.
Philadelphia's 1-4 record was expected to be reversed at this point. Instead, they're a team that commits too many turnovers and penalties, and isn't opportunistic enough on offense when they get deep into the opposition's territory.
"I've never been a part of anything where you feel like things are snowballing on you," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said. "You feel like when you're in the game, things just continually feel like they're not falling your way. But that's up to us, we can turn it around."
Vick went 26 of 40 for 315 yards passing and two touchdowns, but was undone by his career-worst four interception day. He added 90 yards rushing give him 4,948 for his career, passing Randall Cunningham for most yards by an NFL quarterback.
Philadelphia has lost four in a row -- its longest skid since 2005 -- and is off to its worst start since 1999, coach Andy Reid's first season.
"We've just got to put it all together for four quarters," Vick said. "At this point, it's out of the coach's hands. I think it's the players, because we're the ones out there."
Buffalo running back Fred Jackson finished with a combined 196 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 5-yard run, and linebacker Nick Barnett had two of Buffalo's four interceptions.
After scoring on a 31-yard interception return in the second quarter, Barnett sealed the victory by grabbing Vick's tipped pass intended for Jason Avant with 1:49 remaining at the Bills 26.
The Bills took over and never gave the ball back. The game was decided on -- what else? -- another Eagles miscue.
Parker's gaffe gave the Bills a new set of downs and a chance to run out the clock after Philadelphia had used up its timeouts.
The Bills (4-1) bounced back from blowing a 14-point lead in a 23-20 loss at Cincinnati last weekend. Buffalo has matched its best start since 2008.
"We're putting ourselves in a tremendous opportunity," Jackson said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we're happy where we are right now."
The Bills rolled to a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter on Brad Smith's 6-yard scamper.
The Eagles rallied back by scoring 17 points on three of their next four drives before their sloppiness resurfaced on their final possession.
The Bills defense made up for allowing 489 yards offense by forcing five takeaways, including a fumble recovery. Buffalo now has 12 interceptions -- one more than it had all last year. And the defense has scored touchdowns on interception returns in three straight games, matching Buffalo's best stretch since its inaugural season in 1960.
"Guys are doing a great job making plays on the ball," Barnett said.
Safety George Wilson led the defense with 11 tackles, an interception and broke up three passes.
Vick had three of his first four possessions end with interceptions.
After his third interception to Barnett, Vick walked off the field with his head down before being consoled on the sideline by several teammates and Reid, who put his arm on the quarterback's shoulder. As Vick returned to the field, guard Danny Watkins patted Vick on the helmet.
LeSean McCoy scored on a 10-yard run, while Vick hit DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin for touchdown passes.
The Eagles' offense didn't get much help from its high-priced defense, which had difficulty tackling in allowing Buffalo 331 yards offense and 21 first downs.
Receiver Donald Jones set up Jackson's game-opening touchdown with an 18-yard catch-and-run, in which he broke three tackles before being brought down at the Eagles 6.
And they were totally caught off guard on a screen pass to Jackson, who ran free for 49 yards to set up the Bills' second score, David Nelson's 6-yard catch.
Fitzpatrick went 21 of 27 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception.