Tremendous lift for the franchise Monday night, getting the "W" over the Redskins… but much needs to be addressed.
In a post-game interview, Mike Vick said the Eagles only unveiled "about 60%" of their "high-octane" offense against the Redskins… But that may be more than enough for the rest of the league to decipher.
I can imagine being a fly on the wall in the San Diego Chargers' film room tomorrow. I can almost hear Phil Rivers saying "We got this…"
But for the moment, savor the victory…
Vick, running the fast attack that won 87 percent of the time during Kelly's four years at the University of Oregon, completed 15 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran nine times for 56 yards and a score. McCoy had 31 carries for 184 yards, including a 34-yard TD. DeSean Jackson piled up 104 yards on seven catches.
The fly in the ointment is the Redskins looked woefully unprepared and unconditioned for what they came up against in the first half… plus their quarterback RGIII was initially way out of sync with what he wanted to accomplish in their game plan.
Meanwhile I thought Vick was exposing himself to too much damage potential. Especially as the game wore on (and the downside of the Chip Kelly speedometer is that games can now last 4 hours) I just didn't see the upside of no-huddle plays that had Vick keeping the ball on designed runs or (even worse) throwing downfield blocks for McCoy or Bryce Brown.
You're up 33-7… so— why?
Maybe it's the old baseball manager in my head, but if I'm up 33-7 in the 3rd quarter, I lift my starter and bring in a long reliever to mop up. I'm a pitch-count kinda guy… and the live-game experience would have been great for Nick Foles.
Instead, we saw the Eagles offensive line get gassed, which was inevitable based upon the pace of the game and the humid conditions at FedEx Field, and Vick was left in and began to get flustered by blitzes and even got hit hard on several busted plays. It was getting ugly.
The Eagles came out running the no-huddle offense many expected they would, but did it at a pace that few thought they were capable of. After receiving the ball to start the game, the Eagles came out in the no-huddle, getting the ball all the way down to the Redskins four-yard line in eight plays spanning just over three-minutes. The drive would end on a controversial call, as a Michael Vick pass was ruled to have gone backwards, allowing DeAngelo Hall to return it 75-yards for a touchdown.
"It was a bizarre play," Kelly said.
After settling for a field goal on its next possession, the Eagles offense would strike quickly on its third. Following a Mychael Kendricks fumble recovery, Vick hit DeSean Jackson from 25-yards out for his first touchdown of the season. Two drives later the Eagles struck again, as Brent Celek got in on the action with a 28-yard touchdown of his own.
A three-yard Vick touchdown run right before the half made the score 26-7, capping off a dizzying-first half that resembled a video-game. The Eagles racked up 322 yards on offense in the first half, which is more than 12 teams had total in their first game.
"I like what we do," Michael Vick said. "I feel confident and comfortable with everything Coach Kelly calls."
Of course, I don't really think Kelly is calling for Vick to hold on to the ball in a broken play and absorb a shot to the ribs as he waits too long to release the ball on a throwaway. This is the kind of stuff that needs to stop.
It was a night the Eagles offense ran 77 plays in 32 minutes, a mind-blowing average of under 30 seconds per play. That number was slowed down considerably in the second half when the Eagles took their foot off the gas.
"We don't count plays, we never have," Kelly said. "The thing we count is points."
The Eagles defense was sound in the first half and put some nice pressure on RGIII. Maybe it was because they were so fresh and on an adrenalin high. Mychal Hendricks was all over the place at OLB. Cedric Thornton had a dominating performance at DT and even batted a pass back into the first row. Trent Cole was tackling and sacking from his new LB spot. DeMeco Ryans rag-dolled Griffin on a sack. Cary Williams was busting stuff up and even made a great INT.
But in the second half, the Eagles defense seemed tired, and the secondary was exposed as an overall minus in the scheme of things.
Maybe it's the "prevent defense" called by Bill Davis that's to blame. Maybe it's the up-the-middle all-out blitz that RGIII finally figured out. But it's probably a combination of fatigue and lack of athletic talent at the safety position that allowed the Redskins' offense to regroup and find a way to bring the final score within 6.
It would have been a bigger rout if Vick hadn't missed three open receivers in the first quarter, or if his sideways lateral on first-and-goal at the 4 hadn't been tipped by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and returned 75 yards for a Redskins touchdown.
Perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment by Vick, McCoy, Kelly and the Eagles: they managed to upstage Griffin. The game was played eight months to the day since the Redskins quarterback had major knee surgery, and his return Monday was the culmination of a dedicated, high-profile rehab that included a public clash with Washington coach Mike Shanahan that barely put a dent in the fans' fervent adoration for their franchise player.
As it turned out, their fans didn't have much of a chance to chant "R-G-3!" — because the Redskins offense couldn't stay on the field. Their first seven plays: lost fumble by Alfred Morris, 3-yard loss by Morris, penalty for illegal shift, screen to Morris that got back some yards, interception thrown by Griffin into triple coverage, pass dropped by fullback Darrel Young, and a safety that occurred when Morris bobbled a pitch in the end zone.
The Redskins were trailing 33-7 late in the third quarter before three consecutive touchdowns — the last coming with 1:14 to play — made the score more respectable.
Wearing a brace on his right knee, Griffin completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards, but 169 yards came in the fourth after the Eagles had taken control. He was also intercepted twice — the first multi-interception game of his career. He ran only five times for 24 yards. He reached down to touch his knee after he was slammed down by Mychal Kendricks late in the second quarter — Griffin was flagged for intentional grounding on the play — but the quarterback remained in the game.
Washington didn't run a play in Philadelphia territory until the second half. At one point, the Eagles were outgaining the Redskins 146-3. There was a moment in the second quarter when the weary defense had more cramps (two) than the offense had first downs (one). Even Kai Forbath, who made 17 of 18 field goals in his rookie year, was wide right in the third quarter. Shanahan's team also committed 10 penalties for 75 yards. Kerrigan left in the fourth quarter with concussion symptoms.
The first-half stats resembled something from an Oregon opener against a creampuff, not a game between NFC East rivals. Total yards: 322-75. First downs: 21-3. Time of possession: 20:20-9:40. Philadelphia's 53 plays were the second-most in a first half by any NFL team since 1991.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.8||5.5|
Comp – Att
Yards per pass
Sacks – Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||2-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||1|