Eagles Broncos Football

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (2) runs back fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER — In the moment, it seemed liked the right call.

It was fourth and 1 on the Philadelphia 23-yard line. The Broncos were down seven to the Eagles with just over a quarter left to play, still very much alive and with a chance to win the game.

Teddy Bridgewater got the snap and handed it off to Melvin Gordon. Then everything came undone in a dramatic, almost slow-motion collapse for the Broncos.

Gordon fumbled the ball. Eagles cornerback Darius Slay Jr. scooped it up. Then he dropped it. But there was no one near him, so he easily recovered to race 82-yards to score what would be the decisive touchdown of the day. A sea or orange just stood there, dumfounded as Slay ran by.

From there, the Eagles took control of the game and went on to beat the Broncos 30-13.

"It was definitely a momentum shift," Bridgewater said. "We've responded before, but we just didn't respond today."

Gordon, who finished the day with 45 rushing yards, said he isn't sure what happened on that play. He thought he had an open lane up the middle to get the first down. After Slay got the ball, Gordon said he was beat and not able to recover.

"He's a great player and he made a great play," Gordon said. "I got crushed on that play."

It wasn't just Gordon that missed out on catching Slay. Tight end Eric Saubert, who made a diving attempt to tackle Slay, was the only player that seemed to get in an arms reach. Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who earlier in the game had a 64-yard reception, also had a good angle but was blocked by an Eagles player. Bridgewater appeared to just jump out of the way, granting Slay an open field.

"I was just trying to force the ball back inside," Bridgewater said. "He ran right past me."

The play affected both sides of the ball. Safety Justin Simmons said it was a 'loser mentality' to let that impact the defense. But it was a momentum shift for them too, and he said they have to find a way to keep that from happening again.

"It's a loser mentality to think that's it," Simmons said. "We still had all of the fourth quarter left, it was a two score game. We have to find a way to get the ball back to our offense, it doesn't matter how it happens. ... it was a pivotal play obviously, but I already gave up if I'm thinking that's it at that point of the game. We have to find a way."

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