Inexplicably, Chip Kelly opts for almost unprecedented onside kick with 4:11 left in Eagles’ loss to Giants
Oct 27, 2013, 8:21 PM EST
For reasons unbeknownst to
most all, Giants punter Steve Weatherford double-clutched kicking a high snap out of his own end zone and taking the safety, instead gift-wrapping a two-yard touchdown for Eagles special teamer Najee Goode. Crazier: With 4:11 to go, the score 15-7, and with the Eagle defense having to that point allowed 12 yards in the second half, Chip Kelly opted for the onside kick.
Some context: Twenty-two onside kicks have been attempted by a team within eight points since 2011.
All but one came with less than 2:33 to go. None were successful.
Going back to 1999, the earliest year for which Pro-Football-Reference play index game play data is available, only once in 26 opportunities has a head coach down eight or less opted for an onside kick outside of 4:00 in the fourth quarter: Tom Coughlin in 2008, one year after winning a Super Bowl and two before winning another — the same two years he was this close to being out of a job, and, maybe, football.
Unsurprisingly, the kick was unsuccessful. Wasn’t even close. The Giants burned 3:44 over six plays before punting, leaving only 16 seconds for the Eagles and Matt Barkley. (Which, in theory, could have happened had Kelly kicked it deep.) Barkley threw his fourth interception in 46 attempts this season as the Eagles lost, 15-7, to extend their home skid to an unfathomable 10 games. It’s possible Alex Henery had looked good kicking them in practice this week/season/lifetime. Still, it’s hardly defensible.
Kelly should have kicked it deep. Period.
There’s a difference between aggressiveness and foolhardiness, confidence and naivete. This play demonstrated, in vivid detail, that difference. Between Kelly’s resume and flair for the unconventional, many are quick to question his decision-making, strategy, general modus operandi. Maybe too many.
Chip’s 8:00 a.m. hit on Philly talk radio tomorrow should be fun.
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