The Chip Kelly era is off to a good start as his Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins 33-27 in Week 1 of the 2013 season. The offense was a machine and the defense was surprisingly adept in the first half of the game.
However, in the second half things got a little uneasy as the Eagles had to hold-off a Redskin rally.
Below are my WTF and WTG awards as well as some general observations from the game last night. If you don’t know, WTF is the popular abbreviation for “What The F#@!” and WTG is my made-up abbreviation for “Way To Go!.”
Basically, these are my normal reactions to things during every Eagles game, because there is always something to get pissed-off about and/or excited about (although I don’t really sit there and say “Way to Go!” like a dork, WTG just sounds better in conjunction with WTF.)
First up are the things that made me happy, or, WTG!
- Two words: LeSean McCoy! Shady stated he wanted to dominate this season and, well, he was dominant last night in carrying the ball 31 times for 184 yards and a TD. On his 34-yard TD run he looked like vintage Barry Sanders as he juked, cut and jumped his way for the score.
- Michael Vick played a good game overall. He completed 15 out of 25 passes for 203 yards and two TDs and ran the ball nine times for 54 yards and another score. He wasn’t perfect, but he was certainly effective and showed why he won the QB competition.
Most importantly, he didn’t throw an interception or fumble the ball.
- Cary Williams put his money where his mouth was last night. He had a great game with a sack, an excellent diving interception and a critical pass knock-down on a late-game fourth down play.
If he keeps that up, nobody will remember all the drama he’s been involved in over the past few months.
- Mychal Kendricks quietly had an excellent game. He was all over the field and was in on 10 tackles, including one for a loss, and was a very effective blitzer. Hopefully this is a sign of more good things to come from this young linebacker.
- Trent Cole is back! Though he didn’t notch a sack, he was in the backfield making plays and getting good pressure on RG3. He forced an Alfred Morris fumble on the Redskins’ first play of the game, was credited with a safety and was a force in stopping the run-game.
- I give a big thumbs-up to Chip Kelly in his coaching debut. He had the team prepared and his offense completely caught the Redskins off-guard in the first half. He made a few mistakes, but the Eagles looked like a team that has bought-in to his philosophy.
- Hey, how ’bout the special teams?! This is a much-improved unit over the past few years. The coverage teams were excellent, Donnie Jones had three punts downed inside the 20 (including one at the six yard line that ultimately led to the safety) and Alex Henery was perfect.
New special teams coach Dave Fipp deserves some kudos as well as Chip Kelly for putting an emphasis on special teams in shaping the roster.
Okay, now it’s time for the things that made me utter the words: WTF!
- The backwards pass deflection that went for a TD…how in the hell could the refs rule that a backwards pass? Even after a replay?!? The replay clearly showed that, at least, the ball was deflected at a point where it was even from where Vick released it.
Vick released the ball at about the 9 and 1/2 yard line, the ball was batted at about the same point on the field or if anything, at about the 9 and 1/4 yard line. The one thing that was clear was that it did not go backwards before the deflection.
- Vick missing a wide-open Riley Cooper in the end zone. On a third-down play in the first quarter, Vick rolled to his left and ultimately fired a pass to Zach Ertz that end-up incomplete. If he surveyed the field a little better he would have seen Cooper for the easy score instead of having to settle for a field goal.
- Chip’s challenge on the Ertz incompletion. It was obvious to me that it was incomplete in real time on TV. The Eagles lined-up and actually kicked the field goal but Kelly threw the challenge flag just before the snap (which erased three points off the board).
Luckily, Henery made the 48-yard attempt the second time after the challenge was lost.
- An offensive false start penalty on Jason Peters after the defender came completely across the line of scrimmage. Peters may have reacted a little slow, but 9.9 times out of 10 that is a defensive off-sides penalty.
- Redskins defenders faking injury. I counted at least twice where a defender had what appeared to be a fake injury. On both occasions, replay showed the guy who appeared completely fine until the end of the play when suddenly, “something hurt,”
Until the NFL figures out a way to penalize teams for that, if even possible, we’ll see that much more this year.
- Patrick Chung showed why he should be in coverage as least as possible. Late in the fourth quarter as the Skins were mounting a comeback, Chung looked bad in allowing Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson get behind him in the end zone for a score.
You simply can’t let receivers get behind you in those situations…that’s pass defense 101.
- The let-down in the second half by the Eagles was concerning. The Eagles dominated the first half on both sides of the ball when they rolled up 322 yards of offense and 24 points while holding the Redskins to 75 yards and no offensive scores (and getting two points for the safety).
However, in the second half, the Redskins rolled up about 300 yards of offense while the Eagles could barely muster over 100. Plus, they were outscored 20-7 and had to hang on for dear life that the ‘Skins didn’t complete their comeback.
General observations and comments
For some reason, Chip Kelly took his foot off the gas pedal in the second half. It’s hard to say if he prematurely just went into “kill the clock” mode or if the Redskins’ defense started to figure out how to attack the Eagles offense.
It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinators game plan for Chip’s offense now that they have some game film to study. Likewise, it’ll be interesting to see if Chip changes things up based on what he saw from the Redskins’ defense that was successful in stopping him.
A large part of the first-half success by the Eagles’ defense was due to RG3 missing throws to receivers and/or his receivers dropping passes. There were several of those in the first half.
In the second half, those throws were made and the receivers were catching them. Therefore, the Eagles’ pass defense was shredded. The secondary accounted for two interceptions and a few passes defensed, but in general the coverage was not good.
Chip Kelly better learn to keep his foot on the gas for the entire game because if the second half was any indication, the Eagles could be involved in several shootouts this year.
All in all, it was a good debut for the 2013 Eagles. The offense was exciting to watch and the defense made some plays.
Buckle up Eagles fans, this season could be a wild ride!