Rapid Reaction: Bills 31, Eagles 24

October, 9, 2011
10/09/11
4:26
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' latest crushing loss, this one to the Buffalo Bills.

What it means: It's tough to see a way back from here for the Eagles. They showed in the second half that they have the talent to score and play with anyone, but they've just made too many mistakes, too many bad plays and missed too many tackles so far this year, and they're 1-4 with a tough division road game looming next week. They're going to have to be nearly perfect from here on out to have a chance to rebound and make the playoffs, and they're a long, long way from anything resembling perfect.

Same old Eagles run defense: We knew Buffalo running back Fred Jackson was likely to have a field day against the Eagles' 30th-ranked rushing defense, and he did, ripping off 58 first-half rushing yards and adding 22 more on his first run of the second half as the Bills built a 28-7 lead. Part of the reason the Eagles got back into the game was because the Bills went away from the run game in the fourth quarter for some reason in spite of how well it had worked. The Eagles made more tackles and more plays in the second level of their defense Sunday than they have been making, but it remains clear the middle of the defense is soft and can be run on almost at will.

Tale of two Vicks: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was a mess in the first half, throwing three interceptions and badly mismanaging the clock in the final minute before halftime. But he came out of the locker room a new man, running the offense more confidently, efficiently and safely. He managed to find DeSean Jackson, a top weapon who's been missing too much this year, and LeSean McCoy on some underneath routes, and he took off himself on a 53-yard run that set up a score. Vick's play in the second half was the reason the Eagles got back in the game, but his play in the first was a huge part of the reason they were so far down in the first place.

No margin for error: The fourth interception wasn't Vick's fault, as Jason Avant had the ball in his hands and the Bills ripped it out. But the mistake as the Eagles were driving toward a potential game-tying touchdown just goes to show what the Eagles are right now -- a team that keeps putting itself in a position where it can't afford even one mistake. The offsides call on fourth-and-inches was another illustration of a team that doesn't have control of itself right now, and teams like that don't come back from 1-4 starts.

What's next: The Eagles travel to Washington on Sunday for a vital intradivision game against the Redskins. After a couple of games in a row against teams that don't bring an inordinate amount of pressure, Vick is likely to take a large number of hits from Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and a Washington defense that was tied for the league lead in sacks entering this week's games. The Redskins are also coming off a bye and will be well-rested, which works against the Eagles after this grueling game.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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