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PHILADELPHIA -- Immense amount of pressure comes with Super Bowl expectations. The Philadelphia Eagles are feeling the effects of the weight of winning a championship. 

No NFC team has lost a Super Bowl then returned the following year since the Minnesota Vikings in 1975. Going back to a championship game is hard to do, even though the Eagles seemed to be on their way. They were 10-1 and had the best record in the NFC by two games, well on their way toward claiming home-field advantage for the second year in a row.

Then the wheels fell off. Philadelphia lost five of its last six games to close the season, losing to some bad football teams in the process. The Eagles appear lost and confused, searching for answers as they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild card round -- on the road. 

How did the the season fall off the rails in six weeks' time? Let's look at how things transpired since the 10-1 start:

Dec. 3: Lost 42-19 to 49ers (Week 13)

The Eagles defense allowed touchdowns on six straight possessions in a 42-19 defeat that wasn't even that close. The loss dropped the Eagles to 10-2, but the trash-talking from the 49ers leading up to the game resonated in the aftermath of the affair. 

"I guess it's up to y'all to kind of interpret it," Trent Williams said after the game. "I had full confidence we would have this type of game from the jump. We got a quarterback, so it made it a lot easier this time." 

Another storyline from the incident was Eagles' chief security officer Dom DiSandro getting ejected from the game following an incident with 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (who was also ejected). DiSandro was fined and not allowed on the sideline for the remainder of the regular season. 

"I definitely don't have any hard feelings towards Dom or anything like that," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said the next day. "I don't want anyone to go too hard on him. I think he just got caught in a weird situation and an emotional situation. So, no hard feelings towards him. 

"I know a lot of people who know him and speak very highly of him. I just couldn't believe we lost our player because of it." 

Dec. 10: Lost 33-13 to Cowboys (Week 14)

The Eagles didn't show much fight in the 33-13 loss, the second consecutive loss by 20-plus points to a team that won 10-plus games. Philadelphia became the first team since the 1983 Cowboys to enter eight-plus games above .500 and lose by 20-plus points in back-to-back games, per CBS Sports Research. No team won a Super Bowl after losing back-to-back games by 15-plus points.

Fletcher Cox challenged the team after the game, trying to help his team avoid a collapse that appeared impending. 

"It's one of them things man, you know, tough, you know, two in a row. I think the biggest thing for this team now is really find out who the dudes are," Cox said. "And that's always the case. And I've been part of teams where the dudes in the locker room do something about it. 

"And I've been a part of the team where you know, it kind of crumbles. But now it's time to see the real leadership. The real players. The guys that (are) elite on this team, myself included, step up and do something about it. Get this team another win."

Dec. 17: DC Sean Desai stripped of play-calling duties

Hours before the Sunday slate of NFL games (Eagles played on Monday night), the news was leaked Philadelphia replaced Desai as the defensive play-caller in favor of Matt Patricia. Desai moved up to the coaches' box and Patricia moved down to the field. 

Philadelphia made the change to the defense after two poor performances against the 49ers and Cowboys, but there were problems prior to those two games. Since Week 8, the Eagles were 32nd in the NFL in third-down defense (54.8%) and red zone defense (78.3%), also allowing a league-high 428.2 yards per game and 297.8 passing yards per game before making the change. Philadelphia was 31st in the league in points per game allowed (30.0) and allowed 30-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1967. 

Desai was in the first year of a four-year deal as defensive coordinator. 

Dec. 17: Jalen Hurts battles illness 

Hurts was battling an illness and missed the final team practice Saturday in preparation for the Monday game against the Seahawks. The Eagles didn't initially give Hurts an injury designation, but that changed Sunday as the quarterback was officially ruled as questionable.

Hurts traveled with the team separately so other members of the team didn't get sick. He started against the Seahawks on Monday, finishing 17 of 31 for 143 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 20-17 loss. 

Dec. 18: Hurts questions team commitment after Week 15 loss to Seahawks

Following the 20-17 loss, an under-the-weather Jalen Hurts questioned the team's commitment, even at 10-4 and clinching a playoff berth. Losing three straight games certainly isn't the standard, especially after the last game involved a 92-yard game-winning touchdown drive by Drew Lock in the final two minutes. 

"I've been talking about execution all year. Being on the same page, everyone being on the same page. We didn't execute. I don't think we were committed enough, you know. Just gotta turn it around," Hurts said. "It's a challenge we have to embrace. (We) just gotta continue and see it through." 

When asked what he meant by his statement, Hurts was pretty transparent. 

"Commitment. I don't know, I don't have a dictionary on me now," Hurts said. "I don't know how else to say that. It's a matter of being on the same page. It takes everyone being all in in all aspects. It starts with me."

Dec. 22: Darius Slay shoots down conspiracy theory after knee surgery

Slay had knee surgery just days after Patricia replaced Desai as defensive play-caller. There was a conspiracy theory on social media Slay elected to get knee surgery when Patricia was promoted to the team's defensive play-caller, showcasing the reluctance to work with him. 

The Eagles cornerback shot down that theory quickly. 

"He for sure is a whole different dude than he was in Detroit, I must say," Slay said on Dec. 22. "I told him, I appreciate him for being a man about the situation and coming in and trying to fix the situation. So I was like, it's only right for me as a man as well to give another man a fair shot. It's been very, very productive.

"We doing great. I can't complain about it. Glad of the hire, He's a bright man when it comes to football." 

As for the knee injury, Slay battled the knee problem since 2019. He wanted to play the gauntlet of the schedule with his teammates, but the knee injury got progressively worse. Slay wouldn't give a timeline for his return, but he is expected to be back for the playoffs. 

Dec. 25: Eagles snap losing streak (Week 16)

The Eagles won a football game for the first time since Nov. 26, beating the Giants 33-25. They snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 11-4 and tie for the best record in the NFC. The Eagles led the NFC East by a game and were a win and Dallas Cowboys loss away from wrapping up a division title. Right where they wanted to be, right?

The Eagles won, but were far from perfect. Here are some ugly examples as the locker room felt like a loss:

  • Olamide Zaccheaus and Boston Scott ran into each other on a kickoff return that led to a fumble.
  • Dallas Goedert slipped, which led to an interception returned for a touchdown.
  • Jalen Hurts didn't run out of bounds near the end of the first half.
  • Nick Sirianni let 20 seconds run off the clock at the end of the same half before calling a timeout.
  • Jalen Carter jogged off the field, which led to an offsides penalty on fourth down, giving the outmatched New York Giants a first down and extending what once was a dormant drive. 

Those were just the on-field shenanigans. 

"We're not playing good football right now," wide receiver DeVonta Smith said. "I'm not satisfied. Yeah, we got 11 wins. I'm not happy. It (the offense) needs to be better for what I want to do, what everybody else in here wants to do, what we want to be.

"We're nowhere near that so, no, I'm not happy."

Even though Philadelphia controlled its own destiny, the win felt like a loss. Not a great sign for a team that needed a win in the worst way. 

Dec. 22-Jan. 3: A.J. Brown declines to speak to media

Brown has spoken to the media aplenty on and off the record, so when he doesn't speak it's well noticed. Brown politely declined to speak to the media after the Dec. 25 win over the New York Giantssaying to several reporters, "I was taught if I had nothing good to say to not say anything. I'll take the fine if I have to."

Brown didn't speak the week leading up to the Cardinals game either. He broke his media silence heading into the Week 18 game against the Giants. 

"I didn't wanna be negative," Brown said on Jan. 3. "I was already into the mindset of we were going through tough times, so me personally, the person I am -- I just have to go back to work. Ain't nothing I can do about it. 

"Like I said after the game, I was raised that if I have nothing good to say, I'm not gonna say nothing at all. I'm not just gonna continue to pound a negative into a negative. You guys can write for negative stuff, you watch the game too! You guys already know, so there's nothing more that I can say. I'm not trying to make it worse than what it is."

Brown also defended Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni in his 13-minute media session. The Eagles receiver defended his head coach while shooting down any reported quarrels he has with the coaching staff. 

"There may be things that Nick probably wanna fix about himself. Loyalty is not one of them," Brown said. "He takes (the blame) for us when it has nothing to do with him. He gets the blame, but that comes with his job. Sometimes Jalen (Hurts) does the same thing. Just like Brian (Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson), he gets the wrong end of the stick sometimes -- when it be us. 

"The coaches played zero snaps this year. It is not the coaches. It is us." 

Dec. 31: Lost to three-win Cardinals (Week 17)

After a "get right" game against the Giants, the Eagles defense laid an egg against one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Eagles gave up points in six of seven possessions (not counting end of half) in the loss. The second half was even worse as the Cardinals scored 29 points in the final 30 minutes (they haven't scored more than 29 in a game all year) and scored four touchdowns on four possessions.

DeVonta Smith also was seen on crutches after the game. Turns out Smith suffered an ankle sprain and missed the regular-season finale the next week. 

The Eagles fell to 11-5 as the Cowboys took over the NFC East lead. For the Eagles to win the division, they needed a win and a Cowboys loss in Week 18. All Philadelphia had to do was win out heading into the game. 

Jan. 7: Lost 27-10 to Giants (Week 18)

Against a Giants team that had nothing to play for, the Eagles trailed 24-0 at halftime and we're ran out of MetLife Stadium by a team they beat two weeks earlier. Jalen Hurts left the game with a dislocated right middle finger, A.J. Brown left with a knee sprain and Sydney Brown was lost for the season with a torn ACL. 

Dallas Goedert thought the Eagles were in cruise control after clinching a playoff berth three weeks ago, a damning sign for a team that couldn't get out of its own way. 

"I just know everybody in the locker room is ready to go to work for the playoffs," Goedert said. "Ever since we clinched the playoff (berth), I just think everybody has been waiting for the playoffs. Not something that, you know, is a great thing. I think everybody is gonna be ready to go and show the world what we're capable of."

The Eagles insisted they are 0-0 heading into the postseason, and the last six games didn't matter. 

"We 0-0, what we gonna do?" Brandon Graham said. "That's the best thing about this right now. There's people going home right now, but I don't believe we gonna be home. You know what I'm saying? It's been a rough ending, but it's about to be a beautiful start."