Eagles Turn To Run-First OffenseBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Running Backs Monday, September 9th, 2013
Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles took center stage as they kicked off Monday Night Football on ESPN. The Chip Kelly era got underway with what looked like a wide-margin victory and ended up coming down to the last possessions of the game.
LeSean McCoy was the biggest contributor on offense. With a career-high 31 carries, Shady racked up 184 yards, just a yard shy of his personal best. After an interception on the opening Redskins drive of the second half, McCoy had his longest run of the night. The 34-yard touchdown run gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the night at 33-7. It also ended up being the last score for the Eagles, being shut out the final 28 minutes and 26 seconds of the game.
Number 25 will continue to be the biggest beneficiary of Chip Kelly’s offense. Michael Vick added 54 rushing yards on nine carries while Bryce Brown added 25 more on nine carries. For a total of 263 yards, 83 more than the passing game, the Eagles run game was unstoppable. To add perspective, the Andy Reid-led Eagles only topped the 200-yard rushing mark in 13 games in his 14 seasons as head coach. It is something that will become a staple for the Chip Kelly-led Eagles. While it is unlikely that McCoy will top his carries/game record every week, he will continue to be fed the ball. With his 5.9 yards-per-carry average, he will likely continue to slash through defenses.
The run-pass ratio, 49-25 on Monday night, was largely helped by the early lead the Eagles stormed off to. However, Chip Kelly’s love for running the football will have similar results game in and game out. With the trio of LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, and Bryce Brown (not to mention Chris Polk who didn’t have a carry in the first week but impressed in the preseason) the Eagles will always have fresh legs to get the ball to and run against the defense. Evan Mathis, who speaks for the whole offensive line when he says that the running game really allows you to unload on a defense, will certainly appreciate that.
DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick came out on the same page in the passing game and connected seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Jackson, who was battling with DeAngelo Hall the whole night, was shut down in the second half. Vick was held to just 13 passing yards in the second half; none of those were to DeSean Jackson.
Chip Kelly’s high-octane, speed offense was purely speculation before Monday night. All questions were answered as Chip Kelly brought a new speed of play to the NFL. The opening quarter of his NFL coaching career yielded 30 plays, the most since Peyton Manning and the Colts had 31 plays in a quarter of a 2009 game.
The offense didn’t slow down after that. Adding 23 more plays in the second quarter, the Eagles had the most plays in a half of football since the 1998 Vikings had 56 plays in just 30 minutes. “I don’t think it can get too much faster than that,” said Vick after the game. The third and fourth quarters were not as great for the Eagles.
Outplayed 59 plays to 24 in the second half, the Eagles held the ball for only 12 minutes and 19 seconds. Philadelphia’s defense was the one with their hands on their knees and heavy breathing in the second half as the Redskins defense got the break they were longing in the early parts of the game.
After the game, Chip Kelly spoke for the team: “We’re excited. Guys played with great energy. We made some mistakes, coaches included, but it feels great.”
The long offseason of conditioning and preparation for the 2013 season paid off in a big way. “I feel like I can play another four quarters,” said Vick after the game. That will bode well as the Eagles play their first three games separated by just ten days.
The Eagles were able to leave Washington with a 33-27 victory, much closer than most fans had hoped for. They wouldn’t be our Philadelphia Eagles if they didn’t keep us biting our fingernails until the final snaps though, would they?
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