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Bills' penalties, defensive errors spoil LeSean McCoy's Philly return

PHILADELPHIA -- LeSean McCoy might have stolen the show in his return Sunday to Lincoln Financial Field by walking to midfield for the coin toss and appearing to kiss the Philadelphia Eagles' logo, but after that he wasn't a major factor in the Buffalo Bills' crushing 23-20 loss to the Eagles.

Instead, the Bills' ongoing problems this season buried them again in this game and likely ended their playoff hopes. They had 14 penalties for 96 yards that stalled the offense; they allowed big plays on defense, including a 53-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a 41-yard catch late in the fourth quarter that put the Eagles in range for the go-ahead field goal; and they had their third punt returner of the season, Marcus Thigpen, join his predecessors in losing a fumble.

McCoy was effective in the first half, gaining 63 yards on 12 carries and adding 16 yards on two catches. But the Eagles figured him out in the second half, holding him to 11 yards on eight carries. The Bills' lone rushing touchdown was scored by backup Mike Gillislee, who scampered 19 yards for a third-quarter score and was met by McCoy to celebrate on the field.

It was one of few reasons for the Bills to cheer on an afternoon when, no matter how much extra juice McCoy's return to Philadelphia gave his teammates, they couldn't overcome the same issues that have left them with a losing record and on the extreme fringe of the playoff race with three games remaining.

What it means: After the Bills' playoff chances took a hit last week despite their win over the Houston Texans, their probability of making the postseason took another huge hit Sunday with their loss to the Eagles and wins by the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. At this point, the Bills will need to win their final three games and get all sorts of help to somehow crack the postseason.

One reason to get excited: Is there one? The Bills' season is effectively over. If there's any silver lining, it's that they have dealt with a slew of injuries and managed to stay in the playoff race until mid-December. Maybe there's some hope for next season, but Bills fans are sick of that line after 16 years of missing the playoffs.

One reason to panic: The Bills have a losing record in December and need to win all three of their remaining games to match their 9-7 record from last season. At this point, it's safe to say it's been a highly disappointing first season for Rex Ryan in Buffalo. His job is almost certainly safe, but general manager Doug Whaley might be on shakier ground -- whether it's deserved or not.

Fantasy watch: Sammy Watkins scored the Bills' only passing touchdown on a 47-yard catch, but it was Robert Woods who led the day for the Bills' receivers. He finished with five catches for 106 yards, taking advantage of a vulnerable Eagles secondary.

Ouch: Tight end Charles Clay left in the first half with a back injury and did not return. With the Bills releasing No. 2 tight end Matthew Mulligan last week, they were down to Chris Gragg and Nick O'Leary as their healthy tight ends. Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio came into the game for several plays as an extra lineman to help block.