PHILADELPHIA -- According to a published report, LeSean McCoy got a phone call last Tuesday.
He didn't recognize the number, so he picked up the phone. It was his former coach, ChipKelly. McCoy hung up the phone without responding.
Unfortunately, Shady's Bills teammates didn't answer the call, either. Given a chance to celebrate McCoy's return to Philadlelphia and remain relevant in the AFC playoff race, they made just enough mistakes to suffer a 23-20 loss Sunday to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
The loss, which dropped the Bills to 6-7 with three games to play, was a snapshot of their troubles for much of their exasperating first season under Rex Ryan.
They committed a whopping 14 penalties for 96 yards, many of them pre-snap infractions by the defense and several holding penalties by an offensive line that struggled to contain Philly defensive end Fletcher Cox. A team that has been threatening to break the NFL record for penalties looked the part on this day.
They had a critical mistake on special teams -- a muffed punt by Marcus Thigpen that led to the Eagles' second touchdown. They gave up a long passing touchdown, a 53-yard bomb from Sam Bradford to Nelson Agholor for the Eagles' first TD.
They missed key tackles, the most glaring a whiff by Leodis McKelvin on a 41-yard catch by tight end Zach Ertz late in the game. The Ertz catch and run led to a 30-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal that put the Eagles in front, 23-20, with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bills got the ball back twice with a chance to tie or go ahead, but mistakes and poor throws by quarterback Tyrod Taylor were their undoing.
On the first possession, Taylor escaped for big yardage on a scramble, but the play was called back because guard Richie Incognito was flagged for holding Fletcher Cox, who might become the most hated Cox among Bills fans since Bryan Cox played for Miami.
On third-and-14, Taylor threw the ball short of Sammy Watkins, who seemed to run his route farther than Taylor expected. On the Bills' final, desperation possession, Taylor's deep throw for Robert Woods was picked off by Ed Reynolds, putting the Bills away for good. That ended a streak without an interception that went back to the Giants loss.
McCoy's return to Philly didn't go well. He had a good first half, rushing for 63 yards and popping a 24-yarder. But in the second half, with the game in the balance, McCoy was barely a factor. He gained only 11 yards on eight carries after halftime.
You could make the argument that the Bills lost this game in the first half, when they rolled up 248 yards of offense but were able to muster only 10 points and trailed, 17-10. Again, it was little penalties -- a false start here, an illegal use of hands there -- that prevented them from taking more advantage of a solid offensive half.
Taylor was 19 of 36 for 268 yards. He was 9 for 17 in the second half for 114 yards, not what you expect from a quarterback looking to prove himself as an NFL franchise quarterback and command the massive salary commensurate with that designation.