Among the various regrets and lamentations arising from the 10-point lead that the Eagles blew in the fourth quarter against the Lions is the fact that rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, a first-round draft pick, was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.
After the game, he admitted that he did it — and he acknowledged that his absence hurt the team.
“On the field goal, I came off the ball and ended up on the bottom of the pile,” Cox said, via comments distributed by the team. “I felt someone hitting on me and I started punching my way out. The referee threw the flag and ejected me from the game for throwing a punch. I threw a punch. I must admit I did throw a punch and he threw me out of the game.”
Cox knows he screwed up. “It was bad, real bad,” Cox said. “It hurt me. When I went out, [defensive line coach Jim Washburn] told me on the sideline that it was going to be hard with just three guys and to rotate with three guys. I can’t do that. I have to be smart about the situation.”
Coach Andy Reid kept it simple: “You should not be punching anybody.”
That’s good advice. Though there are plenty of reasons why the Eagles lost, not having Cox didn’t help.