The critical folly came in the fourth quarter of the Eagles’ 20-14 NFC divisional round loss on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
New Orleans missed a field goal — and a chance to go up by two possessions — with 3:03 remaining, handing the ball to Philadelphia in great field position. The Eagles drove, attempted to get a game-winning score. Philadelphia used a roughing the passer penalty to reach the New Orleans 27-yard-line.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles dropped back two plays later. He scanned the field before firing a short pass to his left toward Jeffery. The ball came in toward Jeffery’s hands, but went right through his hands. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore snagged the deflected pass for a game-clinching interception.
“That’s on me. I’ll take that loss,” Jeffery told reporters. “It’s on me.”
“I let my teammates down, the city of Philadelphia, that’s on me. I’ll take that.”
Jeffery had five catches for 63 yards in the loss, leading the Eagles in receiving yards. The 2013 Pro Bowl selection had 843 yards this season, his highest yardage total since joining the Eagles after the 2016 season with the Chicago Bears. Jeffery also recorded 65 receptions and six scores in 13 starts this season.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson consoled Jeffery after the game-altering drop.
“I just told him he has to keep his head up and don’t let one play define you. It’s not who he is, he’s too good of a player,” Pederson said.
“He’ll embrace it. He’ll be better for it.”
Jeffery, 28, caught a career-best 70.7 percent of his targets during the regular season.
“You just tell him you love him,” Foles told reporters, when asked what he said to Jeffery after the drop. “That’s what it’s about. This game is tough. Not everyone can do it in those moments. Just tell him I love you and just keep going — amongst other things that I’ll keep to myself — but that’s the general message.”