How Rivers, Chargers Decoded the Eagles’ Defense

0V3J8652Philip Rivers completed 77 percent of his throws Sunday. Threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’  33-30  win over the Eagles. Took just one hit in the pocket, per the stat sheet.

If it looked like Rivers knew exactly what was coming, well, he did, according to several of the Eagles’ defensive players.

“Phillip Rivers just seemed to know everything that we were trying to throw at him,” said Cary Williams.

“They understood some of our calls or whatever was going on, it looked like he knew exactly what DeMeco [Ryans] was calling to a degree. He knew exactly what we were in to a degree. It was unfortunate. Sometimes you get outwitted, sometimes you get outplayed and I think today was one of those days.”

Rivers was able to get the better of the Eagles pre-snap. Connor Barwin explained that the no-huddle attack that the Chargers deployed wasn’t in the name of getting the snap off quickly. Instead, San Diego just sat at the line of scrimmage, allowed time to tick off the clock, and waited until the defense showed its hand. Once it did, the veteran quarterback made his adjustment and exploited the vulnerable area.

“We fell into it, showed our hand early, which I’m sure we’ll look back on tape and say we should have figured it out earlier and stopped showing what we were coming with,” said Barwin.

The Eagles yielded  539 yards in all. Rivers’ 36 completions were the second most ever against the Eagles in a single game, while the 22 passing first downs allowed tied a franchise mark set back in 1964. After a solid outing against Washington on Monday night, this performance served as a reminder that the unit has a ways to go.

“It was a totally different offense. [The Redskins] were a running offense, we shut them down. We had to kind of switch gears and we didn’t do as well stopping this west coast offense,” said Barwin. “The first time we faced it all year. I’m sure we’ll see it again and hopefully be better.”

Some of the struggles can be attributed to the massive scheme change the Eagles are undergoing on defense, and some of it can be purely placed on personnel. Safe to say the safeties will be written about quite a bit over the coming days and weeks.

But strategy was definitely a factor as well Sunday. Take the Antonio Gates-Mychal Kendricks matchup. The second-year linebacker had a very strong showing against Washington but had a rougher outing versus San Diego, particularly when it came to keeping up with the tight end.

“The routes I practiced [defending], I didn’t get any of those,” Kendricks allowed. “They came out with a different scheme than I even originally thought they were going to do.”

Gates finished with eight catches for 124 yards.

Billy Davis‘ group got the better of RGIII, Kyle Shanahan and company for a good portion of Monday’s game. (Granted, RGIII was coming in cold.) This week belonged to Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and his signal-caller.

“Three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush, six — we threw everything at them,” said Davis. “We tried to change it up, bluff blitzes and fall back. Phillip had a better day than we did.”

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  • Tyler Phillips

    11 win offense, 4 win defense.

    • BleedGreenJames

      4 wins if your opponents are Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland and the Jets.

    • SeaDucks

      You’re too Optipessimistic,

      14 win Offense, 2 win defense.

  • SeaDucks

    30 points in 20 minutes of possession. That’s 1.5 points/minute of having the ball. I’d be curious to know what some of the other prolific offenses are at?

  • dislikedisqus

    Other than Cole and Boykin, everyone sucked.

    But as I said in a pregame comment, a possession focused passing offense is the obvious way to attack the Eagles D,so they better figure out how to combat it. Tackling would be a start.

    • BleedGreenJames

      Removing Nate Allen from the roster would go a long way as well.

  • Ken Raining

    The Chargers also did a great job in picking up the blitzes. But the secondary was just brutal.

    • ftotheyu

      The Chargers were supposed to have a bad offensive line coming in (with Dunlap at LT), and they just morphed into 5 Larry Allen’s against the Eagles. Unbelievable. And the secondary… why not get Kerry Rhodes who is still a FA? According to PFF, Rhodes was the 4th best safety in the NFL last year. Why do we keep running Nate Allen out there? WHY?!

      • #7

        5 Larry Allen’s lol

  • Chargersthebest

    All you eagles fans stfu yall team is TOTAL ASS and we smacked yall AGAIN ! Hahhaha bums 2-14?????

    • Eaglehaslanded

      What hole did you crawl out of? Never seen you on here before. Especially prior to the game. Go away. Back to your dung pile pest!!!

  • The R

    sign kerry rhodes put in vinny and graham done 100 percent better defense

    • All In Eagles

      I hear ya, I bet he regrets having Curry inactive. Our D has zero, yes zero, pressure all day except for the 1 sack. Nothing was working, needed some fresh blood in there to see what happens.

  • ClydeSide

    Could King Dunlap have helped in decoding the defensive plays?

    • Justin

      Doubt it. We aren’t a wide 9 4-3 team any more.

  • #7

    Wow…the safety position. Nate Allen was terrible and I wish that we would attempt to do something in the Safety market. We could have had Mikell as he’s having an impact over there in Carolina. Kerry Rhodes, no one cares that he’s gay and we have over 20 mil in cap space. They say that he’s asking for too much money…it can’t be THAT much money.

    Cmon Howie. We have fire power on offense. We need SOMETHING in the back end of our defense.

    Have to give Rivers credit. He picked up apart today.

    This is why I hate when writers start predictions after one game. I hope that our team isn’t overlooking any team. We can’t.

    And Chip, you have to take the foot off the gas…and I’m sure that he’ll get better at doing that as we go along

  • Token

    So in week 2 of a new defense the other team already knows what you are doing? Not a good sign. Eagles didnt disguise anything very well today. After a few series they should have been smart enough to know what Rivers was doing. He took all the time at the line to make them show their hand. Yet, no adjustments were ever made. Thats just on the brains of the defensive coaches and players.

    • theycallmerob

      I think it’s your last sentence, but it can’t be overstated just how poorly the Secondary Not Named Boykin played. scheme and adjustments only matter so much if you don’t have a safety better than you or I. I’m still amazed at just how little pressure we got as well- Dunlap looked All-Pro.

      I sure hope the all-22 reveals what went wrong up front (too much 2-gapping?), but fact is we have the worst secondary in the NFL.

  • If Philip Rivers knows what they’re doing just imagine What Peyton Manning knows…6 foot bat in gotham city…wait till they get a load of him!

  • therealpistolp

    Not the end of the world or nothing… Buttt,, the D was terrible today!!! Gotta get off the field on 3rd down!! Cary Williams and Mychal Kendricks couldn’t get off beat street wit Floyd and Gates… No pressure up front.. NATE ALLEN… MUST DI3… Or a simple benching would suffice.. I mean what do the coaches see in a soft safety?? They tout his coverage yet I see him get beat on repeat.. Rather see the rookie.. D has to step it up.. 30 has to be enough to win a game..

    • JofreyRice

      Did Rivers even miss one third down throw? That freaking bum was automatic, floating his little cloud passes around the field all day.

      • Will

        With the cushions his WR had all Day you coulda done it, where were our Safeties all Day?

      • “That freaking bum was automatic, floating his little cloud passes around the field all day”

        That made me chuckle. But it’s so true.


      • Token

        A ton of pass completions yesterday that were the safeties fault. Either not being in position or not reacting fast enough. Just having one safety that could cover would help a lot compared to whats going on now.

        Overall though I hate this soft off man zone Davis runs. Brutal. Running a zone with players that both lack talent and arent smart or instinctive is a recipe for disaster every week. You want those guys having to think and make quick decisions as little as possible.

  • Aside from Jason Witten, it appears Gates was probably the best TE the Eagles will face all year. It was obvious Kendricks struggled with the talented vet. After Denver, non-division teams include TB (??), Oak (?), GB (Finley? eh), AR (Housler? eh), DET (Pettigrew? eh…Bush will be the tougher cover), MIN (Rudolph? decent), CHI (Bennett, decent).
    Also, aside from Manning the Elder and Rodgers picking us apart, there aren’t too many excellent QB-led WC offenses in our future. TB, OAK, ARI, and MIN haven’t looked impressive this year so far, and Stafford and Cutler are always iffy.
    I realize this is looking far ahead and reaching for conclusions too early, but it’s important to note that we all seemed to greatly underestimate this SD team. Rivers and Gates have been doing this for years, but Norv was always being Norv. Somehow their OL held up. Kudos.
    Most important takeaways: the Eagles continued to win the TO battle, and must do this going forward. Fletcher needs to come back ASAP. Wolff should start, and see more snaps overall. Barwin is irreplaceable. NFC East looks very, very weak.

    • Token

      Well thats the big plus. The division is bad. And we lost no ground today. At the end of it all, even though its a game I feel we should have won…. all that happened is we lost a non conference game and lost no ground in the division. So it could be worse.

      I think Allen has to have forced Chips hand at this point. He cant see time at safety anymore. Its clear to everyone. Wolff stinks too but I can deal with seeing someone new stink back there for awhile. A fresh stink.

      I wondered today, I thought Barwin has some ability to cover? I dont know scheme wise if it works, but maybe his bigger body could have slowed Gates a bit?

      Kendricks had a downer of a game coming off what I thought may have been a coming out party last week. Gone was the speed and instinct, and returning was the player that seems to be over thinking everything and playing tentative. Kendricks might be the most frustrating player on the team IMO. Hes got what you want talent wise, but will his head ever let him become the player he could be?

  • Tyler Phillips

    What use is a 2 Gap 3-4 if you are getting thrown on 50 times a game? Just wondering

  • morgan c

    “Three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush, six — we threw everything at them,” said Davis. “We tried to change it up, bluff blitzes and fall back. Phillip had a better day than we did.”

    Hmmm… looked to me Billy like you sure as hell were blitzing basically every play in the second and third quarters, and consistently not getting home. Calling similar blitzes as well. And you sat one of your best pass-rushers on a day where a pass-rush was completely anemic.

    I have faith in Chip, even though he was poor today. Billy Davis, however, will not win a playoff game as a defensive coordinator for the Eagles. I am quite confident in saying that, and no, I wasn’t one that was praising him last week. The guy is a failed disciple from the LeBeau school, and had the 28th, 31st, and 30th ranked defenses when he was a coordinator. He seems relatively unintelligent and simple in press conferences, and executes a predictable defense that fails to adjust. Jim Johnsons don’t grow on trees, we all know by now.

    • RIP illa

      I can’t wait for Rex to get fired and hopefully we make a play on him for D-Coord. Always hated the Davis signing!!! At least Rex has a better D scheme and would definitely push for better players to be on that side of the ball than just working w/ the crap Howie gave the team this year.

  • RIP illa

    The D got stuffed by Brown and Woodhead on the blitz all game. It kinda helps them when the blitzes were being shown “10 secs” before the ball was snapped too! And had no idea why our D-Linemen were dancing w/ there O-line and standing up waiting for something to happen instead of attacking them and rushing them!!! This happened whether we blitzed or not. I thought this D was being coached to ‘Play fast and if they’re gonna make mistakes, make them at 100 mph!’.

    The front 7 smacked nobody on the pass rush!!! Hell jus one time I wanted to see some just fly in there and blow up a O-Lineman…we got nothing of the sort! They played soft!

    And for everybody that wanted to Lord Trent Cole over his naysayers last week, and I am a naysayer, what exactly did he do vs the pass?! Yes he’s playing the run great, and that is great. But when it comes to the pass, whether it be dropping back or rushing, he’s yet to show anything!!! He had one meaningful pressure this week and no sacks. One meaningful pressure last week and no sacks. We run a 3-4. OLBs in a 3-4 need to be able to rush the passer or the D is screwed. Our best pass rushing OLB does nothing for us as a pass rusher. Not good!!! And no this is not to place all the blame on Cole…the collective effort of that group was garbage!!!

    How hard is it for Davis to activate Curry and run a traditional nickel, 4-2-5??? Are Logan or Square giving anything for us to be proud of??? Curry may not even be the answer but he definitely won’t make things any worse. And this is not a knee jerk reaction. The D did the same thing in the 4th against the Skins. Only difference is we had the lead and played zone, yet the line still blitzed a hell of a lot and Hardly nothing, if anything got home.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    As far as the defense, I think we all knew coming into the season that it wasn’t going to be all that good, especially with a scheme change. There will be some bad, as well as some good moments as the season progresses. My only hope is for improvement as we get deeper into the season & that Davis can show that he is a legit DC that can adjust to exploit on the opposing offense’s weaknesses. We’ve seen far too many years of gameplanning with zero in-game adjustments & quite frankly I’ve personally grown exhausted to watch us get or asses handed to us for a full 4 quarters on defense.

    • JofreyRice

      no excuse for why Allen and Coleman should still be here. That’s like the dog having an accident, and just leaving it there while you eat dinner.

      • anon

        Telling that Coleman and Colt Anderson still didn’t see field

  • #7

    Watching the game again and Nate Allen is getting dominated out there. Wow

    • Media Mike

      He sucked last week too. The Morris rushing TD was 100% Allen’s fault because he washed himself out of the play and Morris cut back into the spot Allen should have filled and crashed down from.

      • Will

        Yup saw that too….

  • Eaglehaslanded

    Rivers just watched tape of Davis’ games in Cleveland.

    • anon

      YEah i think he and the SD coordinator were together in Arizona. So he knew the defense already.

      • Eagles4Life

        Exaaaaaactly. Whisenhunt was there during Davis’ tenure. Familiarity.

  • anon

    Anyone think Kelly should have slowed it down generally today? I love watching our offense score 7 points in 1:30. But when our defense can’t stop teams should we do more to keep the defense off the field?

    • anon

      As an aside. on the last drive, we’re in FG territory. Why not at least run the clock down a little with some run plays. Understand he wants to score a TD, but 3 straight passing plays, taking no time off the clock? We could have managed that better and made the FG the last or close to last play of the game.

      • That wasn’t smart. At least attempt the run and get the time off the clock. Use the 2 minute warning to your advantage. Something. That could have gone better.

      • Cyrus Robinson

        The offense works best when it works fast. When the Eagles have to slow down the pace on offense, they struggle more. It leads to more confusion on the defense and it’s the pace they’re used to. If they slow it down, they’ll score less points.

  • anon

    Nmandi getting owned again. makes me feel better.

  • Will

    Pay that Man!!!!!!!!………………..
    Kerry Rhodes is available Chip Kelly………….

  • Will

    Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.

    Free agent safety Kerry Rhodes was more or less outed by Media Takeout
    during the offseason (the pictures that MTO posted of him with another
    man appear to have been scrubbed from the site). He still hasn’t found a
    job. This is fucked up, because Kerry Rhodes is good. In fact, by many
    metrics, he’s very good.

    picked off four passes last season (two of them came against the Jets,
    but still!) and was part of the fifth-best pass defense in the NFL. Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the fourth-best safety in all of football
    in 2012. Apart from the retired Ronde Barber, Rhodes is the only player
    in PFF’s top 30 safeties from 2012 that doesn’t currently have a job.

    Kerry Rhodes Insists He’s Not Gay, But At Least He Insists It Nicely

    in yesterday’s important news was this “SUPER WORLD EXCLUSIVE” from
    MediaTakeOut: Kerry Rhodes kissed a dude on the head. And not … Read…

    at his career stats and you will see that there was no obvious drop-off
    in the quality of Rhodes’s play in 2012 compared to the seven previous
    seasons. He’s been serviceable at worst and Pro Bowl-caliber at best.
    Nothing about him has changed except for the fact that someone put up a
    picture of him with his arm around a dude. Rhodes has vehemently denied the gay rumors, and yet the mere suspicion of his gayness seems to have been enough to make him unemployable.

    If you
    watched any of the games from Week 1, you know that there are roughly 50
    teams that could use improved safety play. According to Mike Florio,
    four teams tried out defensive backs this week: the Bucs, Colts,
    Dolphins and Seahawks. None of them brought in Rhodes. The second David
    Wilson put two balls on the ground against the Cowboys, Tom Coughlin was
    sprinting to the waiver wire to find any running back with 10 fingers
    and a working spinal cord (he grabbed Brandon Jacobs, which indicates
    that he failed in that task). Why a team like the Ravens—who were
    DESTROYED by Julius Thomas and the rest of the Denver passing
    offense—wouldn’t do the same thing and at least kick the tires on Rhodes
    is baffling. Florio told me this in an email:

    league source who requested anonymity: “There’s no buzz about Kerry
    Rhodes.” Also, from what I am hearing, I can’t disagree with the
    possibility Rhodes is being blackballed. You can quote me on all of

    I called 5
    Star Athlete Management, which represents Rhodes, to ask if the safety
    had fielded any calls this week. Jennifer Thatcher, a VP at the agency,
    confirmed that Rhodes got no tryouts after Week 1, but she declined to
    comment any further.

    Even if
    you’re unmoved by any social-justice concerns here, there’s the basic
    football problem of it. My favorite team BLOWS at strong safety right
    now, and it annoys me that they, along with 31 other teams, have so
    conspicuously avoided giving a capable defensive player like Rhodes so
    much as a tryout.

    This is a
    league that pays endless lip service to the idea that the best players
    play, regardless of skin color, politics, religion, whatever. If
    Rhodes’s sexuality is a nonissue for teams, then what else is wrong with
    him? What other explanation is there? Did his fucking legs fall off?
    There’s no indication that Rhodes is no longer interested in playing
    football. As recently as July, Rhodes said four teams were pursuing him.
    He has yet to file retirement papers. As a nine-year vet, Rhodes would
    be entitled to a league minimum of $840,000 under the current CBA: not
    cheap but not exorbitant. There’s no indication he is sitting around,
    expecting someone to hand him $30 million in guarantees. This is the
    NFL. If you’re on your couch and the league calls and offers you a job
    for the minimum, you go. Ask Brandon Jacobs.

    If Rhodes
    and Jason Collins spend the next full year unemployed, that’s basically a
    gigantic FUCK YOU from general managers. DURRRRR WE CAN’T HAVE OUR BOYS
    clear signal to closeted players to keep their mouths shut. And if
    Rhodes can be shunned, how many other players have been shunned for
    other various, imbecilic reasons?

    Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”: Chris Kluwe
    Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player
    Supporting It

    Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has spoken out in favor of a
    Maryland ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage. Yahoo has… Read…

    Friend of the site Chris Kluwe, who is not gay but has been a loud advocate for gay rights,
    also can’t get work. Statistically, Kluwe was a middle-of-the-pack
    punter for Minnesota last season. You can perhaps justify teams ignoring
    Kluwe in favor of seemingly better options. But is it really so hard to
    see an NFL team looking at Kluwe’s high profile and deeming his
    activism too much of a “distraction”? (Exhibit A: This ESPN column
    last year, in which the writer all but imagines NFL owners cracking
    their knuckles and saying, “That’s a nice social-justice platform you
    got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.” Sportswriters
    love to talk about “distractions,” because the term is value-neutral and
    lets them pretend that media fusses are naturally occurring external
    phenomena, like thunderstorms and double rainbows.) And in the case of
    Rhodes, there’s NO statistical justification for his unemployment. It’s
    football malpractice. He’s good. The numbers say so. And yet there he
    sits. Pretty depressing shit. Riley fucking Cooper dropped an n-bomb on
    camera and managed to stay employed, and Riley Cooper SUCKS. The longer
    Rhodes stays unemployed, the more glaring his absence becomes.

    • Media Mike

      I don’t care if he is a personal life combination of Freddy Mercury, Jerry “The Gerbil” Penacoli, Eli Manning, Larry Craig, and Jim McGreevey; the dude can play safety and is a free agent.
      I’m getting tired of the cocky roster decisions already. Keeping Vick already indicated that they’re not 100% building a 2014 and beyond roster, so what is the harm bringing in a 31 year old safety on a 2 year deal?
      GLOVER QUIN GLOVER QUIN GLOVER QUIN! He received a chump change contract from the Lions and our safety play still lacks anybody who can cover.

  • Will

    Hey Chip Kelly tough loss beat Kansas City and all is forgiven….

  • Will

    Defenses Win Championships!

  • Will

    If the Gnats sign Kerry Rhodes and he plays well against us gonna be pissed. Chip Kelly says none out there in FA. Hell Kerry Rhodes is better than anything on our current roster.Wake up!

  • The Answer

    Besides Kerry Rhodes, Antoine Winfield is another solid secondary player who is available but they’d have to convince him to come out of his 1 month retirement…we’ll see what happens Thursday night.

  • Will

    What happened Eagles? To busy clubbing and reading your press clippings, doing interviews? Bear down and have a winning season!

    • Media Mike

      This means you Kendricks.

  • anon

    We did produce 2 fumbles today, one in the red zone. For the first time since I can remember we are winning the turnover battle in two games. Also who would have though Vick could throw for 438 with no TDs, no fumbles, etc.

  • matt

    rushing 3 on 3rd down in the Red Zone gave Rivers so much time to find the wide open man in the third

  • Johnny_P

    People tend to forget that the San Diego Chargers are operating under a new head coach in Mike McCoy. This isn’t a Norv Turner based offense. Mike McCoy is not a pushover. He was the same coach responsible for incorporating Tim Tebow in the NFL & oh by the way was working WITH Peyton Manning last year. Their passing attack is unstoppable. Not to say the Chargers will run the table, but when you have a veteran in Rivers and Gates playing less experienced players (namely Kendricks) & shoddy secondary, it’s a recipe for disaster.

  • hopewell

    Bolts fan here. Looks to me like Kelly’s uber-fast offense is a double-edged sword. It scores so fast the D is right back onto the field. Chargers had the ball 40+ minutes.

    Eagles have lots of firepower on O, but unless you can do something about ball control, you may have a lot of games coming down to whoever has the ball last wins.

  • All In Eagles

    3 points:

    1. Chip just said yesterday that there is no one on the street who can come in and help this team at Safety, I completely disagree with that statement considering what just happened to ours. We all know who’s available.

    2. Saying that we shut down the WASH O last week is proving to be a joke. GB, who has a sub par D just smothered them yesterday. By week 8 WASH may prove to be in the bottom 5 of the entire NFL on both Offense and Defense (garbage time not including).

    3. The Cary Williams honeymoon seems to be over at this point, the guy had trouble covering ANYONE unless his hand was inside their jersey.

  • Bird of Prey

    Maybe if Rivers was a nicer guy, he could have told the secondary where they should have lined up. Like I said before (and was scolded for), Williams is going to lose us games with his lack of control, and the linebacker corps are too thin. To pick on the safeties is just too easy. Curry should get his chance on the field, but maybe he doesn’t cover well enough(sic). It’s still going to take a season or so for the team to earn a new defense, and get more talent for it. It’s only the second game so I’m only concerned about the personnel this season.

  • guest1

    When is the Nate Allen experience coming to an end? Worst safety ever, let cut our losses today…there’s got to be at least 100 players out there better than Nate Allen.

  • I’m just going to leave this right here

  • Max Lightfoot

    Rivers kept the ball away by using up the clock, even on the last field-goal winning drive. Their D-line stopped the run, hence the Eags couldn’t burn up the clock when they had the ball. If not for Boykin’s efforts, it could have been even worse.

    So that’s one way to beat Chip: burn the clock (a la Peyton Manning), bully our safeties, conmplete third downs, nickle-and-dime the defense.

    But am I the only one who thinks we underestimated the Chargers? They are better than their first game, where they completely blew that lead. Personally, I don’t think our D is good enough to underestimate any NFL team. What say ye?

  • ojdiddoit

    Billy Davis was out coached and out foxed by one Phillip Rivers