Thoughts From Eagles-ChiefsBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, September 20th, 2013
It was an embarrassing night for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chip Kelly did not have his team ready to play tonight, and it showed through the team’s sloppy effort and five turnovers.
Offense, defense, and special teams all had key breakdowns throughout the night.
There was a general lack of focus throughout the team. Damaris Johnson began the game by muffing a punt. Michael Vick followed him with a pick-six. Jason Kelce threw away a possession with a botched snap that was recovered by the Chiefs.
Kelly’s offense came face-to-face with a quality NFL defense for the first time this season, and sputtered. Kelly never adjusted his protection schemes, and allowed the Chiefs to pressure Vick throughout the night. Justin Houston created chaos for the Eagles tonight 3.5 sacks and forcing a fumble.
One of Kelly’s most egregious decisions tonight was the absurd decision to go for two following Michael Vick’s touchdown pass to Jason Avant. Kelly decided to go for two with a swinging gate fake field goal that sent the ball directly to Zach Ertz, who was stuffed.
When I saw the play, the first thing that popped into my mind was the infamous Ronnie Brown halfback option play against the 49ers back in the 2011 season. It was a play that was completely unnecessary and just should not have happened under any circumstances.
At that point in the game, you’re already down by 10 points. You know you have a defense that can’t be counted on to shut an opponent down. You had already had a couple of turnovers. There’s absolutely no need for that nonsense, that right there was an example of Kelly having absolutely no respect for the league that he’s coaching in.
Kelly got a serious serving of humble pie tonight. The next time he has a short week, maybe he’ll spend more time making sure his team is mentally prepared instead of wasting time installing a gimmicky two-point conversion package.
Vick Begins To Revert
Michael Vick played some tremendous football through the first two weeks of the season, but on Thursday night he began to fall back into bad habits that ended up costing the team dearly.
Vick began the game by tossing a pick-six to Eric Berry. The veteran quarterback was caught locking on to Brent Celek, and Derrick Johnson read Vick’s eyes easily, and tipped the pass to his safety who took it back for an easy score.
In the second quarter, Vick killed an Eagles drive by throwing a pass behind Riley Cooper that was intercepted by Sean Smith. Vick just forced an ugly pass that his receiver had no chance of catching.
The Chiefs knocked Vick out of his rhythm early, and this game turned into a serious step backwards for the starting quarterback. Vick finished the game 13 of 30 for 201 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, and a lost fumble. His mechanics were poor throughout the night, often locking on to one receiver. The crisp, smooth, effective decisions that he had been making in the first two games were few and far between tonight.
Now, on the positive side, Vick made a lot of plays that helped keep the Eagles in the game too. He ripped off two long runs of 65 and 25 yards, and tossed a beautiful touchdown pass to Jason Avant.
Kansas City’s Offensive Incompetence Kept The Eagles In The Game
A lot of people are going to give the Eagles’ defense a great deal of credit for holding the Chiefs in check and keeping the team in the game tonight. And they certainly made some big stops tonight.
However, just as I thought it was important not to oversell what they did against the Redskins, I say again that its important not to oversell what they did against the Chiefs.
Andy Reid’s offense performed so poorly on Thursday Night, and their failures helped keep the Eagles alive. Alex Smith didn’t even think about throwing a pass more than 15 yards, even against a secondary this bad.
Reid’s Chiefs scored their first 10 points thanks to errors by the Eagles. The muffed punt and the interception return netted the Chiefs an early lead. Certainly give the Eagles’ defense credit for coming up with some stops, but Reid called such a conservative game that it made things a little easier for Billy Davis.
The Chiefs had to settle for field goals during both of their first three redzone possessions, leaving 12 points on the field in the first half alone.
When it mattered most however, the defense couldn’t get it done. Anytime the Chiefs needed to convert a third and long, they were able to find Donnie Avery on an underneath route that went for a big gain. Billy Davis had eight men dropped into coverage on these occasions, and never adjusted to take away Avery, who finished with seven grabs for 141 yards.
In the fourth quarter, the defense needed a stop after LeSean McCoy’s touchdown run, but instead allowed the Chiefs to march on an 11-play 75 yard drive that ended in a field goal and chewed up eight minutes and 15 seconds off of the clock.
- What a game by LeSean McCoy. McCoy picked up 158 yards on 20 carries, and broke away for a 41-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Shady left the game before the half with a scary looking leg injury, but got himself back in the game, played through pain, and helped the team get back in the game.
- DeSean Jackson finished with three catches for 62 yards. He was not nearly as impactful as he had been in the first two weeks of the season.
- Lane Johnson struggled heavily tonight against Justin Houston. Johnson was abused in pass protection throughout the night.
- Todd Herremans had a terrible game as well.
- Riley Cooper dropped a catchable pass from Vick that ended the team’s second drive in the first quarter. Cooper was completely shutdown by Sean Smith.
- Jason Kelce caused a turnover with a bad snap, and then created a 10-yard loss with a high snap to start the second half.
- While the Chiefs took away DeSean, Jason Avant picked up the slack, catching five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Avant made a brilliant one-handed catch in the fourth that set up McCoy’s touchdown run.
- The Eagles had built up a lot of excitement for their tight ends this year, but they were unable to make an impact. Brent Celek had just two catches for 18 yards and Zach Ertz had one for five. $4 million dollar tight end James Casey was nowhere to be found, once again.
- Patrick Chung was awful. Chung missed tackles throughout the game, and by the end of the night was replaced by Earl Wolff. Chung’s most notable miss came on Donnie Avery’s 51-yard catch and run.
- Nate Allen actually played a decent game tonight. Allen picked up a sack on Alex Smith on third and goal to force the Chiefs to settle for three in the first quarter. Allen broke up a pass and made a stop on Jamaal Charles after a short gain in the second half.
- Vinny Curry was active for the first time in 2013, and got a sack on Alex Smith in the third quarter and drew a flag for a holding penalty several plays later. Why did it take so long for him to get some snaps again?
- Mychal Kendricks finished with nine tackles.
- Fletcher Cox had his best game of the season. Cox finally began to generate a pass rush, and picked up a sack.
- Trent Cole played a lot of snaps as a defensive end tonight, and picked up a sack.
- Brandon Graham picked up a sack on Smith in the fourth quarter.
- Jake Knott made a cameo in the second half, and stopped Charles for a short gain.
- Cary Williams was a bright spot tonight, completely shutting down Dwayne Bowe.
- Rookie seventh-round pick Jordan Poyer was inactive for the first time this season in favor of Shaun Prater.
- Former Eagle Quintin Demps opened up the game with a 58-yard kickoff return.
- Damaris Johnson muffed the punt, setting up the Chiefs for a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
- Alex Henery is killing this team right now. Henery missed another field goal, and was flagged for 15-yard horsecollar tackle on Demps.
The Chip Kelly honeymoon is over.
For the first time this season, Kelly’s offense looked human. A good NFL defense was able to matchup, exploit weaknesses in the offensive line, limit DeSean Jackson, and force Michael Vick into mistakes. And Kelly himself struggled to make adjustments.
The Eagles now sit at 1-2, and have a date with Peyton Manning and the powerful Denver Broncos in 10 days. The possibility of falling to 1-3 is very real, and this stretch is really going to test Kelly and see what he’s made of. The team is on a losing streak, and there’s a blueprint on how to defend his offense.
Kelly’s challenge is going to be to keep the spirits of the team (and himself) up through these tough weeks. This is a team that has gone into the toilet and quit at the first sign of adversity over the last couple of years, and Kelly needs to make sure that his message keeps getting through to his group, even throughout the tough losses that they’ve already suffered, and may very well continue to suffer.
Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter.
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