Chip Kelly’s Eagles dropped to 3-5 on the season after losing to the Giants, 15-7 in Week 8. This game was marred by offensive ineptness and questionable decision-making by the rookie head coach.
The Eagles have also extended their franchise record home-game losing streak to 10. “Home field advantage” no longer applies to this team, and that is a disservice to the fans who spend their hard-earned money to attend the games.
There were only a few positives I could glean from the wreckage that was Sunday’s game at the Linc. So, we might as well start with the shorter list…
Things that made me say WTG! (the positives) -
Ummm….errrrrr….uhhhh, oh yeah, the defense. While the offense has been busy regressing, the defense has been progressing. The Giants don’t exactly have a juggernaut offense as they’ve had their fair share of blunders this year, but they still have a two-time Super Bowl-winning QB and some decent receivers.
Though they couldn’t take the ball away from a team that has been gift-wrapping turnovers, they held them out of the end zone. The Giants moved the ball between the twenties, but the defense stiffened up when they got close and held them to just field goals.
It was only because of this that we were able to actually draw a slight bit of excitement after the special teams scored the Eagles’ only TD on the day and brought them to within one score. The defense kept the Eagles in the game.
I have to give the secondary some props as well. They have steadily improved as the season has progressed and are slowly becoming a solid unit. For the most part, Fletcher, Boykin and Williams provided tight coverage and made some plays on the ball (passes defensed).
Hell, I’m even seeing Nate Allen flying around and making some plays. He and Earl Wolff are starting to become a solid, if unspectacular pair of safeties.
The best part of the improvement with the secondary is the fact they tackle well. It’s refreshing to see some physicality out of our corners that we haven’t seen in years. There also have been much fewer breakdowns in coverage (i.e., communication between the players).
The special teams deserve a shout-out mainly because they scored the game’s only TD on a fumble recovery after a bad snap on a Giants punt. Brandon Boykin crashed into the punter to prevent him from getting the ball and Najee Goode came up with the recovery and score.
It was the only play to elicit excitement from the crowd and actually spurred a briefly lived hope that the Eagles could come back.
Now for the many things that made me say WTF! (the negatives) -
After the defense started the game forcing a three-and-out, Michael Vick and the offense took the field for the first time. Vick was intercepted on his second pass attempt and it set the tone for the day.
He had Celek open but threw it to the opposite side that Celek was heading. Hard to say if it was juts a bad pass or he simply anticipated Celek going left instead of right. Either way, horrible way to start the game offensively.
Vick followed that play up with an encore. On the first play of the next possession, he took a bad sack and fumbled the ball inside the 10-yard line. Antrelle Rolle was actually laying on the ball but somehow didn’t realize it was there (or that it was a fumble) and Vick was able to get it back.
Word is that Vick re-injured his hamstring and may not have been 100-percent. However, the re-injury didn’t happen until after the above plays and in any case, it’s not as if those plays were “unusual” for Vick.
Matt Barkley entered the game with just over two minutes before half time. He appeared to give the offense a spark and drove the team down the field and set up a first and goal situation at the Giants’ two yard line.
This was Barkley’s fourth career drive and ended the same as the first three…with a turnover. On first and goal, he rolled out to the left and was under pressure when he appeared to try and throw the ball away. But, he was strip-sacked and the Giants recovered.
He also ended the game with another turnover on his final drive and in between were a bunch of incompletions, sacks, and ineffectiveness.
One of his sacks was on a play in which he appeared to stare forever to the left waiting for a bubble screen to develop that never did, then took the sack. That play was the epitome of a rookie QB staring down his receiver.
He is, however, a rookie so we can’t be too hard on the guy.
Chip Kelly is starting to make me say WTF! almost every week now. For a guy that was billed as having a “brilliant football mind” upon his hiring, his decision-making makes him more like a “Rich Kotite football mind.”
The play that Barkley fumbled just before half time should never have happened. It was first and goal at the two with over a minute to play. Kelly was predominantly a run-oriented coach in college and has this guy named LeSean McCoy on his team now.
I fully expected them to try and pound it in from the two and once I saw that Barkley was going to pass, I said WTF! even before he was chased and fumbled. Why try to be cute there? Friggin run the damn ball!
Chip came in saying things like playing physical football and that offenses need plays to “hang their hats’ on. He was mainly talking about his zone-run scheme at Oregon. Well, first and goal at the two means it’s time to “bring your lunch pail” and get physical.
That play call was vintage Andy Reid…trying to outsmart everyone and have it blow up in your face.
Then, there was the head-scratching decision not to try a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter. Instead, he goes for it on fourth and 10 and turns the ball over on downs.
Granted, they were going against the wind at the time, but it still seemed like a very odd decision coming just one week after he didn’t go for it on fourth and one and instead attempted a 60-yard field goal.
And the questionable decisions didn’t stop there. After the Eagles scored their lone touchdown, Chip decided to try an on-sides kick after that with over four minutes remaining in the game.
This was the play that made me say WTF! louder than any other during the game.
I get it, he was trying to gain some momentum there but it was a huge gamble that he didn’t need to take at that point. They were only down by one score and had enough time left to get the ball back.
They were lucky that the Giants didn’t end up scoring after the failed on-sides kick and if they had, it would have put the game out of reach.
I hope these are “growing pains” for the new coach and not harbingers of things to come.
Brandon Boykin is a good corner. However, he needs to get a little stronger. There was a third-down play in the first quarter where he tackled Jerrel Jernigan one yard shy of the first down.
However, he struggled to bring him down and actually lost his grip and fell backwards. Jernigan simply fell down after that. In other words, it wasn’t a clean tackle and if Jernigan regains his balance, he would have made it.
Boykin also had Eli Manning in his clutches for a sack in the second quarter but couldn’t bring him down. She-li isn’t known for being “tough to bring down” in the pocket and most players would have had the sack there.
Hit the weight room Brandon!
LeSean McCoy seems to have lost a little mojo. Granted, the offensive line may not be opening good running lanes, but McCoy seemed a little timid on his runs yesterday. He appeared to start dancing far too early behind the line instead of hitting the hole.
DeSean Jackson pulled a “for who, for what?” move when he caught a pass in stride over the middle on a third-and-eight play and took a step back to avoid a hit. Had he just kept running in the direction he was going, he would have had the first down.
Instead, he went backwards and came up a yard short.
Matt Barkley hooked up with Jason Avant for 11 yards on a huge fourth-and-10 play mid-way through the fourth quarter that would have given the Eagles a first down at the Giants’ 25 yard line.
Instead, Avant was called for offensive pass interference. Then Kelly decides to go for it again on fourth and 20 (another bad decision) instead of just punting it and trying to pin New York deep. The Giants took over on downs and in good field position.
Though they didn’t score on the following drive, my point is that they were set up with a short field and easily could have put the game out of reach with another field goal.
The Eagles have now gone two straight games without an offensive touchdown. The quarterback situation is a mess, they can’t win at home and Chip Kelly isn’t helping matters with his game plans or decision making.
At what point do we start rooting for draft position?