Michael Vick

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick grabs a loose ball during a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last month in Philadelphia. Vick's status for Sunday's game against the New York Giants is still uncertain due to a hamstring injury.

Associated Press photo by Matt Rourke, Sept. 19

PHILADELPHIA - Most NFL teams would dread the prospect of playing three straight road games.

The Eagles should be looking foward to getting away for awhile.

Thursday's 26-16 loss to Kansas City marked their eighth straight defeat at Lincoln Financial Field dating back to last season. Almost an entire calendar year has passed since fans were able to celebrate a victory at the Linc. They last won there on Sept. 30, 2012, when the Eagles celebrated retiring safety Brian Dawkins' No. 20 jersey with a 19-17 win over the New York Giants.

The franchise retired Donovan McNabb's No. 5 on Thursday. And while fans rewarded him with a standing ovation, the team couldn't sustain the momentum during the game.

As a result, the Eagles will head to Denver on Sept. 29 with a 1-2 record and a lot of questions concerning the identity of the team. They have 10 days to figure out whether they are the exciting team that took the league by storm by winning at Washington on opening day or the one that struggled mightily against the Chiefs.

"It starts with leadership," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said after Thursday's game. "The younger guys are watching to see what we do, and that is how they respond. I think we just have to take care of the small things and that will take care of the bigger things. It's a long season."

It must look miles long as they head to Mile High.

Inconsistency on offense, defense and special teams will not cut it against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High is the first and probably toughest stop on a tour that will also feature games at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium.

Not only is the thin air tough to acclimate to, but Manning is operating at a level that can embarrass opponents at any altitude.

"We can't face a bigger challenge than playing the Broncos at Mile High Stadium," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Friday in quotes provided by the team. "But a lot of it is mental more than it is physical. In terms of us being able to construct a hyperbaric chamber over that football field, we can't do that. We're going to practice and train like we normally practice and train and go out there and play football."

Kelly's high-tempo offense committed four turnovers against the Chiefs. The defense played better than previous games, but fell apart down the stretch. Special teams surrendered some big returns, place-kicker Alex Henery missed a field goal and returner Damaris Johnson coughed up a punt.

"I think you draw on the positives, what you did well, and the address the mistakes," Kelly said. "That's what I talked about in the locker room after the game with our guys. The people that are going to fix this were in the locker room (Thursday night). It's our coaching staff and our players.

"During a season, whether you won or lost last week is really irrelevant in terms of moving forward. If you win, you can't be patting yourself on the back too long because the next team is hunting for you. If you lose, you can't be licking your wounds too long because the next team is hunting for you.

The Eagles had some highlights against the Chiefs. McCoy rushed for 158 yards - the third-highest total of his career - including an electric, 41-yard touchdown dash. His 395 rushing yards are the most ever by an Eagle in the first three games of a season. Quarterback Michael Vick's 61-yard run was the longest of his career.

Defensively, they collected six sacks.

But they didn't play good enough for long enough, which is why the biggest cheers at the Linc on Thursday were reserved for the opposing coach and a retired quarterback.

"Fourteen years is 14 years," Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who coached the Eagles from 1999 to 2012, said after the game. "That's a long time, especially for a chubby, old guy. I appreciate the fans and the support they gave. I appreciated it when I was here and I appreciated it from them again today. (The ovation) was very kind of them."

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