Eagles-Titans Postgame: Passing on the Run
The Eagles won a game on the first play of the game on Sunday, in spite of the fact that Mark Sanchez is horrible and Chip Kelly is an idiot. I was also about to rush the field, to smack Chip Kelly in his stupid head, but figured he wasn't worth the effort.
Josh Huff returned the opening kickoff 107 yard for a touchdown and the Eagles never looked back. Well, I guess they did look back twice when Sanchez threw awful picks because Kelly continued to call numerous pass plays, in spite of the fact that the Eagles never trailed in the game. I have no idea what Kelly was thinking. He has a terrible QB and a stud running back against the second worst run defense in the entire NFL, and he chooses to throw the ball all game? Andy Reid would be so proud.
Too bad that thinking will never get Chipper an NFL playoff win. OK, back to this game.
The Eagle took a 17-0 lead on a completely over-matched Tennessee Titans team in the first quarter and the game was essentially over. The Eagles eventually won 43-24, in spite of the fact that Sanchez and Kelly tried to keep the Titans in the game.
The Eagles offense moved the ball, but couldn't covert enough of their scoring chances and had to settle for five Cody Parkey field goals. That's the kind of thing that happens when you call 43 pass plays and only 38 running plays against a defense that just gave up the most rushing yards to a running back in a game on Monday night. (Le'Veon Bell's 204 yard rushing) It just doesn't make any sense. The Eagles led the NFL in rushing last season, yet Kelly doesn't seem to want to run the ball this season, even when he's got a huge lead against an inferior opponent. So frustrating.
There will be those who mistakenly think Sanchez had a good game because he completed 30 of 43 passes for 307 yards and a TD, but he also threw two ugly interceptions that could have given a legitimate opponent a chance to get back into the game. It was kind of like how he didn't give the Eagles a chance last week against the Packers because he couldn't stop turning the ball over. Luckily for the Eagles, the Titans stink.
Titans QB Zach Mettenberger completed 20 of 39 passes for 345 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT, but most of his yardage was in garbage time. Yes, the Eagles couldn't seem to cover THE Delanie Walker, who caught 5 passes for 155 yards, but other than that, the Eagles defense actually managed to make the subpar Tennessee offense look as bad as they are. Any team that can't expose the Eagles suspect defensive backs should be embarrassed and the Titans never even challenged Eagles CBs Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams. The Titans leading rusher, Bishop Sankey only gained 43 yards and they fumbled the ball away twice. In short, they looked like a team that came into Lincoln Financial Field with a 2-8 record and left with a well-deserved 2-9 record.
The Titans went four-and-out on their first four offensive series before Mettenberger hit Justin Hunter with a 40-yard touchdown pass after Sanchez's first horrible interception. That cut the Eagles lead to 17-7 and gave the Titans some life. After the Eagles offense settled for a field goal to make it 20-7, Walker toasted Emmanuel Acho for a 68-yard reception to set up Shonn Greene's 2-yar TD run to make it a 20-14 game. At this point I was losing my voice screaming for Chipper to run the damn ball, but he was busy trying to prove to everybody what a genius he is by throwing the ball all over the yard with the worst starting QB in the entire NFL. The Eagles took only a 27-17 lead into halftime, even though they thoroughly outplayed the inferior Titans.
Luckily for Kelly and the Eagles, the Titans are not a good football team and they immediately fumbled the ball back to the Eagles on their first possession of the second half and gift-wrapped a short TD drive for Sanchez and the Eagles. That gave the Eagles a 34-17 lead and a little bit of breathing room. But since that lead obviously wasn't large enough for Kelly, or he just thinks he's a genius and has to prove it to everybody, he had a guy with more career interceptions than touchdowns continue to throw the ball until he threw yet another interception. Yes, I was losing my mind in the stands. But once again, these were the still the Titans and Sankey promptly fumbled the ball back to the Eagles.
The Eagles were able to hold off the Titans, only because they are not a good football team. The Titans, that is. We're still not sure whether or not the Eagles are a good football team.
LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing last season, yet Kelly only gave him 21 carries in a game the Eagles never trailed, against an opponent that never showed any semblance of an offense. Brilliant! McCoy finished with 130 yards on those 21 carries and even added a 2-yard TD Run. Darren Sproles chipped in with 25 yards on 6 carries and Chris Polk somehow only gained 5 yards on 7 carries. Even the Titans players and coaches wondered why the Eagles didn't want to run the ball against them, like every other team in the NFL has this season. Can you tell I have an agenda yet?
Sanchez spread the ball around (to the Eagles AND the Titans), as Jordan Matthews led the team with 6 catches for 77 yards. I still can't understand how a team with McCoy and Sproles in the backfield doesn't run multiple screen plays every game, yet Sproles caught only 3 passes for 14 yards and McCoy had a lone catch for 1 yard. Yes, the guy who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season, only touched the ball 22 times. It's not me, right?
Why is Chip Kelly Suddenly Obsessed With the Pass?
Jim Mora comments about Eagles chances with Mark Sanchez at QB
Yes, the Eagles won, but only because the Titans are a terrible football team. The defense actually stepped up again and forced three turnovers and sacked Mettenberger five times. Plus, the special teams chipped in again with that touchdown return, which gives the Eagles ten special teams and defensive TDs on the season. Unfortunately, there aren't many team this bad in the NFL that will gift-wrap a win for the Eagles.
The Eagles are now 8-3 and have a date with the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The winner will be in the driver's seat in the NFC East in a year when winning the division might be the only way to make the playoffs. The Eagles and Kelly have proven that they can beat the dregs of the NFL, but now they're going to have to step it up a notch. The first step will be to see if Kelly realizes that Mark Sanchez stinks and he needs to ride his running backs for a few weeks until Nick Foles' shoulder heals. Unfortunately, I think Chipper is out to prove that he's smarter than everybody else and that is not a recipe for success.