Eagles-Rams Postgame: You Are What Your Record Says You are
"Tough 4-and-1, soft 4-and-1, it doesn't matter," Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said after his team barely escaped with a 34-28 win over the visiting St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Holy crapola. Really, Chipper?
The Eagles finally got a lead but still couldn't win a game easy. The Eagles they built a 34-7 lead and held on for a white-knuckle win, as their offense sputtered and their defense bent and broke right up until the very end.
The Eagles flipped the script and finally got an early lead in a game and still managed to make it interesting until the very end. Not only did they continue their stretch of special teams and defensive scores, but the offense actually decided to show up early in this win.
The Eagles special teams blocked yet another punt and returned it for a touchdown this week to star the scoring, then added a couple of Cody Parkey field goals for a 13-0 lead against the hapless Rams. And that was just in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Rams finally managed an 11-play 84-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Brian Quick to cut the lead to 13-7. The Eagles offense eventually decided to show up, after not managing a touchdown on their last 18 drives, and answered with a long drive of their own by scoring a touchdown from Nick Foles to Riley Cooper (no really, he caught it), for 9 yards. The 11-play, 80-yard drive ate up the rest of the first half and the Eagles went into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
The Eagle defense decided they wanted in on the action again early in the second half and got a touchdown on their own when Trent Cole sacked Davis and Cedric Thornton recovered the fumble in the endzone for the score and a 27-7 lead. After a Zac Stacey fumble, caused by Brandon Graham, Nick Foles threw a touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin to give the Eagles a 34-7 lead. Then the Eagles apparently thought the game was over.
Benny Cunningham ran for a 14-yard touchdown, Davis hit Kenny Britt for a 30-yard touchdown and then hit Brian Quick for a 5-yard touchdown to cut the Eagles lead to 34-28.
To say the atmosphere in the stadium was a bit tense is an understatement. The Eagles had a bad team down and somehow let them right back in the game. Good teams simply don't do that.
Luckily, the Eagles offense managed to grind some time off the clock before the defense decided to show up and stop a mediocre Rams offense at the end to preserve the win. But it wasn't pretty.
Foles had a decent game, completing 24-of-37 passes for 207 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. A pedestrian outing by his own standards he set with his mind-blowing stats last year, but he finally produced some offense and led his team to a win. It's an improvement over last week, for sure. Foles was helped by Jeremy Maclin (5-76-1) and LeSean McCoy got back on track a bit with 81 yards rushing on 24 carries. That is far less than what was expected against a Ram defense that came into the game ranked a lowly 30th against the rush, but Darren Sproles added another 51 yards rushing on 7 carries. Adding in Foles 13 yards rushing gave the Eagles 145 rushing, but that isn't nearly enough for a team that led the NFL in rushing leas season against a team that can't stop anybody this season.
And if that wasn't bad enough, neither McCoy nor Sproles had a reception in a game where Chip Kelly must have forgotten who exactly his star players were on offense.
Nick Foles: 24-37-207-2-1
LeSean McCoy: 24-81-0
Jeremy Maclin: 5-76-1
Austin Davis: 29-49-375-3-0
Benny Cunningham: 7-47-1
Brian Quick: 5-87-2
Against a better team, that oversight would have led to a loss. Luckily for Chipper, the Rams are not a good team.
Davis played admirably, completing 29-of-49 pass for 375 yards and 3 TDs without an interception, but most of that was against the Eagles prevent defense. At least I want to believe that was the Eagles prevent defense. If not, then their defense is just as bad as the unit that was dead last against the pass last season.
I don't know whether the Eagles defense is this bad or Kelly's offense isn't good enough to grind out the clock for a win. Both looked better down the stretch last season, but they look far worse so far this season. But somehow, the Eagles are winning this season.
They're 4-1, as Kelly pointed out, but it is an unconvincing 4-1, if you know what I mean.
I'll take a 4-1 record over the alternative, since they say good teams find a way to win.
The Eagles are winning somehow, some way. And as Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are."
Are the Eagles a legit 4-1 team?
The Eagles have scored seven special teams and defensive touchdowns this season, with five of those coming in the last two weeks. They can't bank on that happening all season, but they at least turned it into a win over an inferior opponent in this game.
The Eagles are 4-1 and although they might not look like the most intimidating 4-1 team, the fact remains that they are 4-1. Have I mentioned that the Eagles are 4-1? Just checking.
No matter how it looked, the Eagles got the win. For now that's all that matters.