Chip Kelly has his Philadelphia Eagles sitting at 6-5 heading into the bye week after hanging on to beat the Redskins, 24-16. While they did “beat” Washington, it’s annoying to have to preface the word “beat” with ”after hanging on to“.
They won, but they had to sweat it out at the end in a game they were dominating for the first three quarters.
The Eagles covered 348 yards and scored on four of their first six drives to take a commanding 24-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, after their second-half opening 80-yard drive for their final touchdown, their last five drives of the game besides the kneel-down at the end went like this…
3 plays, -4 yards, punt
3 plays, 8 yards, punt
4 plays, 9 yards, turnover on downs
7 plays, 24 yards, punt
3 plays, 9 yards, punt
Out of all those plays, all but one were conservative in nature (runs/short passes). That started mid-way through the third quarter, which is far too early to go into clock-eating mode.
Sure, it helps to take time off the clock and you don’t want to risk a big turnover, but 24 points is still technically only a three score lead. And with over 20 minutes of game clock left, that’s plenty of time for the opponent to overcome such a deficit.
Besides the blow-out in Oakland, the only other time this season the Eagles had such a comfortable lead at that point in the game was back in Week 1 against the Redskins. And again, the Eagles did the same thing and were conservative on offense while the opponent mounted a comeback.
Yesterday, it almost cost them.
The Redskins drove down to the Eagles’ 18-yard line with plenty of time left for a score. If not for a really bad decision by RG3 that led to the game-ending interception, it was quite possible the Redskins could have tied it and sent the game into overtime.
I don’t mean to nitpick after a nice win and claiming the division lead, but I’d like to see Kelly go for the jugular in situations like that. Stop taking your foot off the gas and instead keep the pedal to the metal.
For a guy that just came from college where he would routinely roll up the score, I’m not sure why he hasn’t carried over that mentality here. Perhaps someone got in his ear and told him that there is some kind of unwritten rule of respect to not run the score up on your opponent in the NFL.
While that’s true to an extent, I believe that only truly applies when the game is completely out of hand or you get much closer to the end of the game. Being up 24 points and getting conservative mid-way through the fourth might be okay, but not mid-way through the third.
Kelly has the reputation of being aggressive in his play-calling and decision-making, but through 11 games this season one thing that is clearly missing is a killer instinct.
Hey Chip, while having a ”don’t kick a man when he’s down” philosophy is a good trait to have as a person, it doesn’t necessarily apply to an NFL coach in the heat of battle.
If you have him down, kick him at least once just to make sure he stays down.