In the wake of the Eagles' loss Sunday to the Saints, in which Alshon Jeffery committed a costly late-game drop, the veteran wide receiver said the season-ending result was “on me.” To some Bears fans, though, the gaffe was the result of “karma."
With Philadelphia driving toward a potential game-winning touchdown, Jeffery let a pass slip through his hands with two minutes left, leading to a crucial interception of quarterback Nick Foles and a 20-14 New Orleans victory. That came a week after Jeffery, a former Bears player, taunted Chicago fans at Soldier Field just after Cody Parkey’s “double doink” missed field goal let the Eagles escape with their own dramatic win.
Jeffery’s waving of “bye-bye” to Bears fans followed comments before the wild-card game in which he said, “I love the city of Philadelphia. Chicago is just when I was there for work.” That led to some booing during the contest, to which he may have been reacting with his taunts, but after the loss to the Saints, he was left to claim that he “let the city of Philadelphia down.”
“I let my teammates down,” Jeffery said. “That’s on me. We’ll be back next year for sure.”
Some of Jeffery’s teammates had his back after the loss, with tight end Zach Ertz saying, “That game wasn’t decided by that play, number one. Two, we wouldn’t change the play call. And three, we’re not in this situation without him. That’s the bottom line.
“He is one of the best receivers in the league. There are not many guys who are able to make plays continually like he does,” Ertz continued. “Does he catch that ball 99 times out of 100? Yeah. 999,999 out of a million? Yeah. It’s tough to end like that … but he should know that play didn’t decide this game.”
Philadelphia offensive tackle Lane Johnson claimed that Jeffery was playing through “broken ribs” and “toughed it out for his teammates.” Johnson added, “He doesn’t have to say nothing. We had plenty of opportunities to win this game. It’s not one guy’s fault.”
“It’s really hard because he’s so down,” Eagles Coach Doug Pederson said of Jeffery. “But for me, it’s about staying positive. Listen, he’s made many, many big catches for us this season and he will continue to do that. He’s just got to keep his head up. Don’t let one play define you. It’s not who he is. He’s too good of a player."
Jeffery echoed his coach’s language, telling reporters, “One play don’t define me. I mean, all of the greats, they have missed game-winning shots. … So it happens. It’s part of football. I just hated the way it happened in the playoffs and it was the final moment.”
Chicago’s final moment came a week ago and more than a few Bears fans showed Sunday that the wound was still fresh, particularly the part on which they felt Jeffery poured salt.
In response to a website’s tweet declaring, “Before trashing Alshon Jeffrey, you may want to hear what he was playing through,” a Twitter user with the handle Chicago Honey Bear said, “Nope, don’t care. This was karma answering Alshon’s a--hatness from last game. There’s nothing like just desserts being served perfectly chilled and the tea perfectly sweet and warm.”
There were plenty of Twitter users happy to let Jeffery know that karma was a certain b-word, including one who appended a photo of the receiver waving to Bears fans and declared, “Normally I would feel bad for Alshon as I was a big fan of his. But then I remembered this after last week and now I don’t.”
It remains to be seen what kind of reception Jeffery gets from Eagles fans, who are not known to be the most tenderhearted group. The irate calls to Philadelphia sports radio have undoubtedly already begun, but it’s likely that it will all seem decidedly warm and fuzzy compared to bone-chilling sentiments emanating from the Windy City.
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