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Eagles-Cowboys Postgame: The Honeymoon is Over
I didn't like it when the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly because I knew for a fact that the only reason he was leaving college football was that the NCAA was about to smack his Oregon program with sanctions. (Note: The NCAA did eventually suspend Kelly personally from coaching for 18 months) I also didn't think his gimmicky offense would work in the NFL. Then Kelly gave a bunch of interviews about how he could adapt to the NFL and, like a sucker, I bought it. I guess anything other than Andy Reid looked good to a weary Eagles fan. I should have stuck with my first impression.
The Eagles have now gone two games in a row without scoring an offensive touchdown under the offensive genius that is Chip Kelly. Sunday's loss was a particularly embarrassing one to a previously 1-6 New York Giants squad that the rest of NFL had left for dead. The Eagles only score in the 15-7 loss was on a botched snap for a punt that Najee Goode returned two yards for a touchdown with 4:19 left in the game.
In all honesty, the Eagles offense hasn't looked dynamic since the first quarter of the first game against the Redskins. And, as it turns out, the Redskins stink.
Oh sure, people will make excuses about Michael Vick getting hurt in the second quarter, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes, that Vick started the game hurt. It was obvious that he wasn't recovered from his pulled hamstring to be able to function as even an average quarterback.
I said before this game that Vick wouldn't be able to run and without his best (only?) weapon, he would not be effective. Vick was less than effective in his short time against the Giants. His second pass was horribly thrown and it was easily intercepted by Giants safety Antrel Rolle. Luckily for Vick and the rest of the Eagles, the defense came to play, again.
Vick 6-for-9, 31 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Barkley 17-for-26, 158 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Manning 25-for 39, 246 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Eagles Fans 10 Home Losses in a Row
The Eagles defense that held the high-scoring Dallas Cowboys to only 17 points last week, with absolutely no help from their offensive counterparts, held the Giants to a field goal after the Vick interception. This would become a recurring theme for the Giants, as their offense failed to score a single touchdown all game. Instead they settled for five Josh Brown field goals. Fortunately for the Giants, that was more than enough to get the victory against this Eagles offense.
Vick proceeded to fumble while getting sacked on the next possession, but Rolle didn't see the ball and Vick recovered it. No matter, because the hardest working man on the Eagles roster, punter Donnie Jones, would have to punt after two more useless plays anyway.
Vick had an intentional grounding penalty on the Eagles next possession and lead one more fruitless drive before Kelly had seen enough and benched Vick with the Eagles down 12-0.
Of course, there is some debate as to whether Vick was hurt or he was benched. During their postgame press conferences, they had differing opinions on the matter. Kelly said that Vick admitted that he was hurt so he took him out. Vick simply said that his coach took him out but he wanted to continue to play. Personally, I'm siding with Vick's version of events since Vick could be seen sulking on the bench during the game with a towel over his head. No, it wasn't the mature thing to do when rookie quarterback Matt Barkley certainly could have used some encouragement from Vick, but I'll give Vick credit for toughing it out and trying to play while clearly still injured.
Anyway, Barkley came in with 2:24 left in the first half and did the same thing that Nick Foles did three weeks ago when he replaced an injured Vick near the end of the first half. Barkley drove the Eagles down to the Giants 2 yard line with a nice array of throws. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Kelly was about to try to show the world what a genius he is.
Instead of giving the ball to the NFL's leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, Kelly called for a rollout with his rookie quarterback playing for only the second time. Hilarity ensued. Well, unless you were one of the poor lost souls like me, who were in attendance for the Eagles' tenth straight loss at home. Barkley rolled to his left and fumbled the ball while being sacked. The Giants recovered the fumble at the 12 yard line and the Eagles only threat of the day was over.
Now I'm not even sure if McCoy would have scored, since he only gained 48 yards on 15 carries against a suddenly stout New York run defense. The Giants have now faced McCoy twice, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson over the last four games and only allowed a total of 189 yards rushing on 67 carries. That's a very good way to turn around the fortunes of a losing team. So is not turning the ball over.
When the Eagles beat the Giants three weeks ago, New York committed four turnovers, including three interceptions by Eli Manning. This time Manning didn't commit a single turnover. Manning was 25 of 39 for 246 yards. It didn't matter that he didn't throw a touchdown this game because he avoided the costly turnovers that have hurt the Giants all season. It's not a coincidence that Manning hasn't turned the ball over the last two games and the Giants won both to raise their record to 2-6. Sadly, that only puts them one game behind the 3-5 Eagles and two games behind the 4-4 Dallas Cowboys for the top spot in the pathetic NFC East.
Barkley finished the game 17 for 26 for 158 yards and one interception on a last second Hail Mary pass at the end. Vick completed 6 of his 9 passes, with one interception before he left or got benched. Unfortunately, it might be better if Chip Kelly got benched as the team's offensive coordinator/"genius".
The Eagles only gained 201 yards of total offense against a terrible Giants defense a week after gaining only 278 yards against an equally bad Cowboys defense. So the bloom is off the rose of the Chip Kelly honeymoon in Philadelphia. He can't beat up on the Northeastsouthwest Universities of college football anymore. He's playing with the big boys now and he's failing miserably at it.
If he doesn't turn it around soon, I don't want Kelly picking the "quarterback of the future". That's because he'll be picking a quarterback who is strictly suited to running his offense that it appears NFL defenses have figured out how to completely shut down. Or shut out.
Divorces can be messy. But I'm not sure it can be worse that what's going on with the Philadelphia Eagles right now under Chip Kelly.