Andy Reid was furious. Referee Scott Green had just cost the Eagles four points because of a roughing the passer call that he had made on defensive end Jason Babin, prolonging an extinguished drive. What should have been a Chicago Bears field goal in the last minute of the first half ended up being a touchdown because of that flag, and Reid was chewing out Green in a way that you rarely see: pointing, gesticulating, the anger shooting from his eyes.
It was a debatable call, to be sure. The hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was a little bit late, and that was true enough -- but Babin did appear to be shoved from behind by the Bears’ Chris Spencer. It wasn’t much of a shove, but it also wasn’t much of a hit on Cutler, either. It was a play that the referee might have chosen to ignore in many circumstances. But Green didn’t, and Reid was wild.
Because that is the thing about this Eagles defense -- and Reid has to know it as well as anyone. That is, the margin for error is so small, still.
It is the story of this season, a defense that cannot quite be counted upon. They had come off a good game against the Washington Redskins and a great game against the Dallas Cowboys -- proving, perhaps, that the NFC East really isn’t very good this year. They had played those games, though, and they were beginning to develop a little bit of a swagger, and then they found themselves on the wrong end of a 30-24 score against the Bears at Lincoln Financial Field.