Oct 27, 2013, 4:50 PM EDT
As bad as things got in Andy Reid’s final season in Philadelphia, never did the Eagles go two full games without scoring a touchdown on offense. Even without 80 percent of the starters along the offensive line, even with LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson missing in the end, whether it was Michael Vick or Nick Foles under center, Reid’s system always managed to result in some points.
Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense was leaving opposing defenses in the dust through much of the first six games this season, but all of a sudden the production has been ground to a halt. Don’t let the seven fool you in the 15-7 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday—that lone TD was scored by their special teams, a gift from a bad snap.
That means Philadelphia’s offense was good for just three points over the last two weeks at home against their two most-hated division rivals. Even that lonely field goal was largely a result of good field position from an interception.
You can’t lay the blame on the quarterbacks this week either. Michael Vick did his best to play, but the hamstring wouldn’t let him. The injury left the four-time Pro Bowler a sitting duck in the pocket, as he completed 6 of 9 passes for 31 yards with an interception and a sack before exiting the game in the second quarter. After the game, Chip admitted Vick aggravated the injury during the game.
The offense improved somewhat under Matt Barkley, but only marginally. The rookie managed to get the Eagles across midfield a handful of times, but none of those drives ended with points. Barkley completed 17 of 26 for 158 yards, was sacked three times, and threw a desperation interception on the Birds’ final possession.
Perhaps had Barkley been put in a better position to succeed, the outcome would have been different. Vick took the majority of the first-team reps in practice this week even though he was never 100 percent. Barkley may have benefited from the extra work, and instead was asked to come in and lead the offense from behind as a reserve.
It’s too bad, because the Eagles didn’t need exceptional quarterback play to win this game. The defense once again did a great job, holding the Giants to five field goals on the afternoon. Throw in the special teams miscue, and even just one touchdown and one three-pointer would’ve been enough to win.
Kelly’s in-game decisions were no better. When Barkley led the offense to New York’s 2-yard line on his first series, the head coach inexplicably called a timeout then called a passing play rather than try to pound LeSean McCoy in there. The fourth-round pick rolled left and was eventually chased down and stripped when he couldn’t find an open receiver, ending that scoring threat.
Chip Kelly was also incredibly inconsistent with his decisions on fourth down. At one point, the Eagles attempted to convert a 4th-and-9 rather than attempt a 50-yard field goal. Later in the game, they opted to punt from inside Giants territory rather than go on 4th and 4. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to any of it.
Same with the play-calling. For a coach who claims he’s not glued to any one system, Kelly can’t seem to find a way to hand the ball to Shady without the read-option concept coming into play. The Giants were not worried about Barkley—or Vick for that matter—taking off with the football at all. At one point on 3rd and 2, McCoy ran an outside zone read rather than diving straight ahead. The play was stuffed in the backfield.
McCoy finished with 15 carries for 48 yards for a 3.2 average. It’s the fourth time in five games the All-Pro back has found running lanes few and far between.
This is not the first time some of Kelly’s game-time decisions have come under scrutiny, but this entire week seems to have been mishandled from a coaching standpoint. From the situation with the quarterbacks, to play-calling that simply wasn’t working, it’s hard for anybody to make the claim he put his team in the best possible situation to win the game.
Not to run him out of town or anything. The Eagles didn’t score any touchdowns in games 2 and 3 of the Andy Reid era way back in 1999, and that worked out well for everybody. Chip Kelly needs to make some major adjustments though. Sorry, he probably doesn’t have the franchise quarterback to fit his system yet. The offense still needs to work somewhat.
With the Eagles’ loss, their record falls to 3-5 this season. Their losing streak at the Linc has now reached 10 games, which is a total embarrassment for this organization. Next week they’ll leave the unfriendly confines of home for Oakland, in a game I’m sure fans are all very excited to watch.
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