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Offensive: Eagles offense held without a touchdown for second straight week

Oct 27, 2013, 4:50 PM EDT

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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.

  1. i dont think so - Oct 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    “Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense was leaving opposing defenses in the dust through much of the first six games this season…”

    they were 3-3 through the first 6. you can put up as many yards as you want but this offense is nothing special.

    Reply
    • Andrew Kulp - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      They were also averaging 27.7 points per game… I believe that ranked 8th heading into Week 7.

      Reply
      • so what? - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        they were 3-3

      • Andrew Kulp - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        And that was all the fault of the offense? They scored 30 in one of those losses.

  2. Chris - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    What’s really disconcerting to me as I watch these Eagles is not that they’re not good this year (which I didn’t expect anyway), but that they’re not gonna be any good next year either. They have so many holes that it’s gonna be at least 2015 before you can make this team into anything.

    And then on top of that we get to watch the whole football world fellate Andy Reid after he’s managed to accomplish the incredible feat of going the entire first half of his season without playing a single decent team…

    Reply
  3. sfsu - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    That sucks, man. I’m part of the Eagles fanbase who is rooting for the best coach in Eagles history to, you know, succeed in his underdog role.

    Kelly has fucked up clock management at the end of the first half for 3 straight weeks now, and he screwed up the end of the 2nd half today as well multiple times. But he doesn’t clear his throat during press conferences, so it’s okay when he forfeits the game by punting at midfield with 10 minutes left in the game.

    Reply
    • sfsu - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      meant to be a reply @Chris

      Reply
    • Chris - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      who cast Greasy Neale in an underdog role?

      Reply
      • sfsu - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:28 PM

        I mean, if you have a valid argument why Andy Reid wouldn’t have been successful in the 1940s, go right ahead

  4. Jason R. - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    The issue I have with the “so many holes” argument, while mostly valid, is that the D seems to have figured things out. Only gave up 17 last week and 15 this week. If I told you two weeks ago that’s what they do, you’d assume they’d be 2-0 in those games, right?

    One glaring positional deficiency this season: WR. But (arguably) their best WR is out with a blown ACL; this would be a completely different offense with Maclin out there instead of Cooper; I don’t find that point to be debatable.

    We’re Chip and the coaching staff trying to do the best they can with the garbage (defensively) that Andy left them. Teams like the Colts and Chiefs, hell even the 2000 Eagles, spoil fans into thinking that if you go 2-14 one year you can win your division the next year. But way more teams stay bad than have a dramatic turn around. The difference in the three examples above: finding a franchise QB. The Raiders, Bills, Browns, Dolphins, Cardinals, Jags, Bucs, and Jets will tell you that those guys don’t grow on trees and life is quite bleak without one.

    I accept that the Eagles don’t have a QB right now; Vick is who he is, Foles isn’t who Andy thought/hoped/sold he was (see also: Kevin Kolb), and Barkley dropped from #1 overall pick to the FOURTH ROUND for a reason.

    What I find hard to accept is the inconsistency of the coaching staff, specifically on fourth down. It may be that there was a 15 mph wind in the face of Henery on the unattempted 50 yards field goal. But the goal line debacle was horrendous on every level. Why take the time out? Why put the ball in the hands of your INT-throwing-fourth-round-drafted-pressed-into-service rookie QB and not the NFL’s leading rusher?

    I give Chip a pass on this season ala Andy in ’99, but it’d be nice to know who he is and what he’s about. I guess the answer to that is “read-option handoffs that may or may not actually have an option attached to it”. After all the years of Andy not being able to pick up a 3rd or 4th and short, it feels like we’ve actually digressed in that area.

    Note: I’m also pissed at Jackson and Shady for running laterally and not just putting their noses down and picking up the first down, pretty sure I made some enemies in my neighborhood with my language and volume on those two particular plays.

    Reply
    • BenE. - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      Great post. Comment of the week IMO. I was wondering if anyone was going to bring up Desean and Shady giving up the yard and essentially the 1st down to try to bounce outside and make a big play. I’m annoyed at Desean in particular about that. It’s the 3rd quarter and the offense has been struggling to pick up yards all afternoon, let along first downs. You catch the ball over the middle and all you have to do is drop your shoulder and get that last yard. Instead, Mesean tries to pad his stats by breaking to the outside, and ends up getting stopped that same yard short of a first down. Time to punt. Sometimes, you have to take one for the team (not your fantasy team).

      Reply
  5. kmac - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    At 1st it looked like we would win too many games for a good draft position, but if you look at the schedule they may not win more than 2 more games. Right now they would pick 9th in the draft. If they can get a QB we can get out this funk next year. They might not win a home game game this year if they don’t beat the skins

    Reply
  6. G_E - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Things to remember:

    1) the Alamo
    2) the titans
    3) the seasons 1st two quarters of Chip Kelly football

    Other than that, not much to remember.

    Reply
    • LolCryEaglesCry - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      I guess football is harder when top athletes aren’t lining up to go to your program. Ask Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban.

      Reply
  7. Akeem the African Dream - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    These guys are terrible.

    Matt Barkley is not capable of playing in the NFL.

    Reply

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