"I don't think we showed enough pride today," running back LeSean McCoy said. "I don't think we showed enough heart."
That's a revealing admission because of the stakes of the game and the time they had to stew over an Oct. 14 overtime collapse to the Detroit Lions. This was the Eagles' first game following a bye week when Reid challenged the players, evaluated every facet of the team and fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.
"I didn't do a good enough job challenging them," Reid said.
It was the first loss after a bye week in Reid's 14 years as head coach. This might be his final time coaching the Eagles after a bye week, too, because Reid's job is in peril if the season continues on this course.
Quarterback Michael Vick's job might be in more immediate danger, and Vick even acknowledged after the game that Reid is "thinking about making a change at the quarterback position."
What's clear is that nothing and nobody is safe. Changes are not a surefire answer, either, because the defense appeared even worse under new coordinator Todd Bowles than it did under Castillo.
The Falcons scored on their first six drives of the game. They did not need to punt until the fourth quarter. Matt Ryan, an Exton native and Penn Charter alum, dominated an Eagles defense that had two weeks to prepare for Atlanta's system.
Ryan completed 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. The touchdowns came on the Falcons' first three drives, a span in which the Falcons converted all five of their third downs and the Eagles' defense committed three penalties.
"We have to find way to get that corrected, not shoot ourselves in the foot, get turnovers, get off the field on third down," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "That's the key to playing good defense and that's what we're not doing right now."
The Eagles' offense cannot be absolved from blame. After the Falcons opened the game with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that chewed up 8 minutes, 44 seconds, the offense needed to respond with a drive that allowed them to match the Falcons' firepower and give the defense rest.
Instead, the Eagles went three-and-out. They have not scored on their opening drive all season. The next time they got the ball, it was 14-0. By halftime, it was 24-7.
"We were just in comeback mode where we had to fight to get back in the game," Vick said.
The deficit limited what the Eagles could do on offense. The Falcons' weakness was run defense, but McCoy carried only 16 times for 45 yards. Vick did not turn the ball over on Sunday for just the second time this season, although he threw for only 191 yards and one touchdown.
DeSean Jackson was the leading receiver with 59 yards, while Jeremy Maclin had six receptions. Neither reached the end zone. The Eagles have scored three touchdowns in just one game this season.
"I am surprised," tight end Brent Celek said. "These last few weeks we have been playing bad football. We have to flip the switch and turn it around."
If only it were that easy. The Eagles have spoken after losses all season as if they could just flip a switch, as if rectifying a few issues will sprout the team that drew such lofty expectations before the season. But they're quickly realizing there is no quick fix, that firing the defensive coordinator does not cure the defense, that extra time to prepare does not rectify widespread issues.
The team's offices are closed on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy. The Eagles play next Monday in New Orleans against the Saints. That is the eighth game of a season that owner Jeffrey Lurie said required "substantial improvement" from last year. Reid is running out of time, and everyone - including Vick - can be spared if the team continues spiraling out of control.
"Right now what I'm concerned with is that we get ourselves better for New Orleans," Reid said. "That's what I'm concerned about. That's as far as I'm going."
Contact Zach Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.