Observations: Broncos 52, Eagles 20

Wes Welker, Nate Allen

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 52-20 loss to the Broncos in Denver.


* Going in, some (present company included) thought Chip Kelly would be a little bit more aggressive, knowing the offense would have to match Peyton Manning and company. But that wasn’t the case. The Eagles kicked a field goal with a 4th-and-4 at Denver’s 17 in the first. They later kicked on 4th-and-4 from Denver’s 7. And finally, they punted on 4th-and-6 from the Broncos’ 37.

* Michael Vick and the offense moved the ball well in the first half, but were completely shut down in third and fourth quarters. Vick started off 10-for-16 for 170 yards. But he completed just four of his next 11 passes and finished 14-for-27 for 248 yards. The Eagles had three punts and a missed field goal to start out the third quarter as the game got out of hand. Vick was sacked three times. The Broncos used a familiar strategy: playing man coverage on the outside. We’ll see with the All-22 whether Vick missed open guys, but from the TV angles, it looked once again like players struggled to get open.

* The Broncos entered the game limiting opponents to a little over 43 rushing yards per game and 2.3 YPC. The Eagles totaled 166 yards on 35 runs, averaging 4.7 YPC. LeSean McCoy had 16 carries for 73 yards. He missed some time in the first half because of an injury. Official word was that he got the wind knocked out of him. Bryce Brown had eight carries for 19 yards. Chris Polk got the ball on his first career snap and scampered into the end zone from 4 yards out for a touchdown. He finished with 33 yards on three carries.

* Brent Celek was the team’s leading receiver with three grabs for 57 yards. But he had a huge drop early. On third down, with the Eagles driving, Celek couldn’t hang on to a pass from Vick that would have given the offense a first down inside the Broncos’ 5-yard-line. Brown had two catches for 41 yards, including a 35-yarder that set up their lone first-half touchdown. Evan Mathis made a nice block on the play.

* DeSean Jackson finished with two catches for 34 yards on six targets. He had a big play taken away because of a Mathis penalty. Riley Cooper had two catches for 25 yards.

* It seemed like the Eagles went with more two tight-end sets. Zach Ertz had a 38-yard catch. James Casey had his first catch as an Eagle, a 12-yarder in the first half.

* Damaris Johnson gave the Eagles good field position with a 21-yard punt return on the first-half possession where they scored a touchdown.

* The Eagles kicked the extra point rather than go for two down 14-12 in the first half.

* Jackson slid down to avoid a big hit after a 14-yard catch in the first. He left the game for a snap and appeared to be dinged-up, but returned.

* Nick Foles came into the game late in the fourth and engineered a 7-play, 80-yard drive. Jeff Maehl scored a 6-yard touchdown.


* The Eagles’ defense allowed the Broncos to set a franchise record with 52 points, although to be fair, special teams gave up 14 of those. Peyton Manning went 28-for-34 for 327 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. manning was pulled in the fourth quarter. The Broncos scored 21 points and piled up 18 first downs in the third quarter.

* The Eagles’ D gave up two touchdowns on four Broncos first-half possessions. Denver drove 74 yards on nine plays on its first possession. Manning hit Wes Welker for a 6-yard score. The Eagles blitzed seven on the play, including slot corner Brandon Boykin. Fox announcer Troy Aikman seemed to think rookie Earl Wolff was out of position on the play. In the second half, Boykin got beaten by Welker for a 4-yard touchdown.

* Fletcher Cox twice jumped offsides for penalties in the first half. Both times, he gave the Broncos first downs.

* The Eagles had one sack (Cedric Thornton) and two QB hits (Cox and Thornton). For most of the game, Manning had all day. None of Billy Davis’ blitzes seemed to get home. On one second-half touchdown, Brandon Graham lined up over the slot receiver and then rushed the QB. He had no chance of getting to Manning, who slipped the ball to Demaryius Thomas for a 15-yard touchdown.

* Cary Williams got smoked by Eric Decker on a double-move in the first half, but Manning overthrew him. Later, Williams got beaten for a 52-yard bomb. It looked like Wolff was out of position on the play. Bradley Fletcher also struggled. He got called for pass interference in the third and then allowed a touchdown to Thomas.

* Special teams let the Eagles down for a second consecutive week. Trindon Holliday took a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. It looked like Jordan Poyer might have been held on the play, but there was no call. In the second half, the Eagles had a punt blocked and returned for a score.

* The Broncos had 141 yards rushing and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

* Did you notice the Eagles with a “Papa John’s! Papa John’s!” call that the TV microphones picked up?

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  • Not much to say. When u lose that badly and no turnovers were involved. *shrug*

    • evanphilly

      A but whoopin’ by maybe the best ever.

    • Dutch

      Yes there is, 1. Bill Davis is complicit in this stomping by Denver. What kind of game defensively was he calling, what were his objectives? He was not trying to get to Manning and at the very least move him off of his spot.

      A good loss is a loss that the Eagles can take valuable lessons from in their development. There’s no good lesson to take from this beat down. Some of the damage was needlessly caused by boneheaded scheming.

      • morgan c

        Billy Davis is an idiot.

        • irvin792

          Some Madden 25 players could call up a better game plan than Davis.

      • lol.

        When I say that I just mean there is nothing good to take away from this loss. When you lose that badly and turnovers weren’t involved…it’s just a clusterf*ck of a situation.

  • Cyrus Robinson

    The good news: a loss is a loss, doesn’t matter by how much, and we’re only one gb of first place.
    The bad news: we suck.

    • Philly0312

      Good news = our next 8 opponents currently have a combined 6 – 26 record

      • #7

        Thats all we got left man

  • therealpistolp

    Lovin the new mobile website guys! Lol

  • BlindChow

    I HATED the jumps off-sides. I couldn’t believe the defense wasn’t coached better about that, since that happens every week with Manning. If they were warned not to fall for the hard count, my respect for Cox has just dropped.

  • jakethesnake

    watching press conference with kelly and vick….everyone is content to blame it on manning’s greatness instead of focusing on incompetence and failures in game planning and execution…..wtf…..don’t think this is going to end well…I’ll bet the Giant kick their butts too….tell chip to rent not buy….

    • evanphilly

      Sure, but this is a team that you HAVE to play perfect against to have a chance to beat. You need to score on every drive against the Broncoes. Don’t know if there is a team out there that can do that. Eagles should beat the Giants next week, I look forward to it

      • #7

        Me too. Long season

    • Well what do you want them to say? Our receivers can’t get separation, can’t catch and when they do catch can’t hold onto the ball?

      • Dutch

        How that offense racked up 400 plus yards of offense is a mystery to me…. Hard to believe we have no receiver capable of getting off the line in man coverage and our defensive backfield has lead feet. That’s a horrible combination.

  • #7

    “Brandon Graham lined up over the slot receiver and then rushed the QB.”


    • JofreyRice

      yeah, that was so stupid. That wasn’t the only time Brandon Graham was on Demaryius Thomas, either. He ended up on him, and gave up a 1st down earlier in the game. I mean, we know they need help with talent, but that’s about the worst way to deploy your talent imaginable.

      • #7

        Why don’t they just make us fans the DC. 2nd and 4 and we play ten yards off of the WRs against Peyton Manning. No words man

      • LeClaw

        I’m with you on Billy…I was excited about his history with Pitt and the whole I’ll mold the D around the talent…but he is Zero blitzing way too much with a secondary that can’t cover shit…we have good pass rushers….let them generate pressure a little more and try for a coverage sack every now and then…DON’T f’ing blitz the corner and have the safety have to rotate over to an impossible area because you want to disguise it

        • Dutch

          Billy was pretty much a ball boy in Pittsburgh.

    • Capt. Chippahpants

      Between that bullshit (sorry Sheil and Tim) and Boykin playing outside linebacker, I’m really over Billy Davis. I hope they brought him in solely to install the system (like he’s done at other stops) and then just hire someone else.

      On the bright side, we’re still in the running for one of those stellar QBs…

    • #7

      I swear Manning had to be laughing to himself when he saw this crap. Brandon Graham covering the slot WR? wow

    • Dutch

      Davis should be relieved of his duties because of more than a few questionable schemes, and play calls and that’s one of them. Giving Manning additional time to find the receiver Graham just left. How bizarre was that call. The worse part was everybody in the Stadium saw the play unfold. It was like live shot slow motion unfolding.

      • Chali

        I am tired of seeing our D-Ends cover and our CB’s as down linemen… gimmick defense.. let rushers rush and cb’s outside blitz or cover… itsretarded.. epic fail by Davis…

  • JofreyRice

    hooo boy, that was horrid. I expected the Broncos to score a lot, but hate to lose like that, with the offense neutralized, too. Chip’s O kinda needs a running game to work. When they got down by so much, it was sort of a runaway train.

    What bugs me is the conservatism. At worst, this season could be a chance for Kelly to see where and when he can get aggressive without too much real negative effect–he shied away from every attempt. He just looked like an overwhelmed coach trying not to be embarrassed too badly. Bad look.

    • evanphilly

      Even if Kelly goes for it on 4th down and fails, he gets ripped for giving Manning a short field. In the end, that non-move actually turned out to be a victory for the Eagles today.

      The running game is pretty good for the Eagles so far. They faced the best run D in the league this week and looked good doing it. But like you said…once the game got out of hand, everything turned to ash.

      • JofreyRice

        Maybe some would rip Kelly about giving Manning a short field, but come on, would it really have made a difference? I think the guy had like 6 incompletions all day. The Eagles probably had more PI’s than he had the ball hit the grass. The best series was when he missed Eric Decker who had burned Sconces deep, and then Wes Welker tripped on their crappy grass/sod.

        Aggressiveness definitely was one of Chip’s hallmarks at Oregon, and something I think a lot of us expected to see. I think this would have been the time to get aggressive, considering we knew the defense was horribly overmatched by about June of last year. No one expected the Eagles to win, but I think it would have been nice to see them a little more competitive than this.

        • anon

          Yeah we clearly don’t have the latent for the (any) scheme. I think a better DC could have turned water into wine, but you know how this organization is on the defensive side of the ball. I sort of feel bad b/c the talent is really hamstringing CK. But all that said, i think we’ll look good when we play normal teams.

      • KobraKai7474

        Regarding Kelly’s conservatism, I am not saying you are wrong, but a successful coach MUST make the gutsy calls based on what gives the team it’s best chance to win rather than on what will get him “ripped” the least.

    • anon

      I think Kelly is trying to deal with the fact that we don’t have a D that can’t stop anyone. Giving manning an extra 20 yds likely means a TD since they are scoring on every possession.

  • Mrkraxx

    1 game back in division with 12 to play. That’s is all that matters now. Denver isn’t losing unless Peyton decides they are, which doesn’t happen til January with him, and we pushed their d around alot before it got out of hand. Move on, quickly.

    • Media Mike

      I’m down with that, but I swear to God we had not be the team the Eli and Giants beat to finally win a game. There is nothing more contemptable in this world than Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin, and New York fans in general. I’m hoping at this time next week we’re laughing about a big win, our O-line stoning their D, a 200+ yard game from Shady, a broken leg Eli out for the season, and Victor Cruz knocked out with a concussion prior to even coming close to another f-ing salsa dance.

      • Media Mike

        Disclaimer: I’m a tough guy because I sit at home on my computer and wish injuries on others. Nothing more “contemptable” (sic) than that.

        • theycallmerob


        • Media Mike

          Again with the trolling.

      • #7

        Hell yeah. Its a must

  • Media Mike

    I’m the first person nuking Vick when I think things are his fault, but can we help the dude out some? Kelce needs to get in the weight room and Herremans continues to be a skid mark upon the human species. Celek drops a perfectly thrown pass from Vick while our kicker cannot connect on routine pro level kicks. The failure to upgrade #2 WR after the injury to Maclin was the height of arrogance. People were screaming for the Eagles to sign Glover Quin, but we’re stuck watching Nate Allen week after week. The DC has no clue on how to match the scheme to the roster.

    If you told me we’d have a game where Vick made zero critical mistakes, I’d tell you we lost to Denver 38-31 or something of that order.

    • Media Mike

      Disclaimer: I’m a football genius who sits at a computer and tells others how it should be. Dude.

      • Media Mike

        Again, try to find your own screen name as some point. Then your stalking and trolling of my comments might actually have a better purpose.

    • #7

      We had a chance. Drops and penalties

  • Mikeq

    I think one thing that has me frustrated is the pass rush. I know Kelly wants to play the 3-4 but this 3-4 pass rush produces nothing unless they want to expose the backend with a blitz. How can you still play a 3-4 with one NFL quality outside LB? This roster still screams to be playing a 4-3 alignment. We heard a lot in the offseason how Kelly will maximize what is available but this to me completely contradicts that. Second place on the frustrat-o-meter is the WRs. Right now we have Djax and good slot guy in Avant and the other guys could be cut tomorrow with little worry. Oh well, on to the Giants!

  • Justin

    I don’t put any of this loss on Vick. We need a receiver not named DeSean Jackson to step up. KC and Denver have both taken him away, and it ends up collapsing our passing game.

    • LeClaw

      We had two WR go down with ACL tears…this is not a instant fix…to panic buy a wr would be a foolish waste of resources

      • TPZ-1

        “Buying” a competent WR to get Riley Cooper off the start is NOT a waste of resources.

        • KobraKai7474

          You are acting as if there are competent WRs walking the streets and/or available in trades. There aren’t. They guys currently available are available for a reason… they are lacking in talent or in the ability to be a good teammate. There is nothing to be gained by adding a guy who is too old, too slow, or too unwilling to set a good example for the young guys who will eventually determine whether the Chip Kelly “experiment” goes anywhere near a Super Bowl.

          • LeClaw

            That was my point, getting a competent WR now would be a panic buy (at the cost of a draft pick) when we should also consider panic buying a DB first…if we do get one

  • #7

    Where you at Teach..I mean DeMeco Ryans? All this “leading” and the box sheets are empty

  • anon

    I know we all take defeats really hard. But c’mon we are a 4-12 team, who got rebuilt in the offseason, all new coaches, etc. and we got toasted by a team that is crushing EVERYONE — see what they did to Baltimore (who won the SB last year)?

    What’d we expect? To beat the Broncos? We played a great first half. I sort of blame Kelly for not going to Colorado earlier b/c our d was f****d

    The talent difference between the Broncos and the Eagles is insane, at literally every position except RB. I hate that DRC played a great game.

    That said the Chiefs have also beat all of the NFC East. We’ll rack up some wins over the next 5 weeks, start believing in ourselves and the system and go from there.

    Don’t forget Broncos blew out Ravens during the year — and see what happened? Not saying we’ll win the SB, but we can definitely improve over the course of the season.

    • BlindChow

      We scored 13 points in the first half. That’s not “great.” Their defense (lacking a few key players) effectively shut down what was supposed to be our strong suit. We’re taking this defeat hard because it is clear we are regressing; Chip Kelly has been unable to adapt to the gameplan KC laid out to stop us, and now no part of this team looks competent. (Except for McCoy.)

  • Dutch

    The Eagles had better rethink the idea they can take a chance and allow Maclin to walk after this season. As it is, there’s zero talent at receiver other than DJax.

    For the remainder of the year the Eagles receivers will see man to man coverage because none other than DJax can beat a defender off the line. That is pathetic along with the sorry state of the Tight End position and that’s because Celek is the better pass catching tight end….

    Bill Davis needs to be relieved. Nothing he does works or makes sense.

    The deck is stacked against the three playmakers on the Eagles offense, and the best defenders are negated by awkward defensive play calls. This is turning into a zoo when it doesn’t have to be that sever.

    • “For the remainder of the year the Eagles receivers will see man to man
      coverage because none other than DJax can beat a defender off the line”


      And that’s painful. Man coverage is a luxury in the NFL…a QB should see that and get all warm and fuzzy inside ’cause at least one of his guys should be open. Not the Eagles however. None of their guys are open. Ever.


  • KobraKai7474

    Look, the Eagles are who we thought they were: A team that was awful last year and is now rebuilding from scratch. In my mind, the goal for this season always was to be playing better and showing real progress after, say, Halloween. With NFC East being so unexpectedly awful, even meeting that fairly minimalist goal could keep them in contention this year, but much more important is to be building for next year and beyond…. and, for better or worse, that probably means sitting Vick someday soon. If he can’t make this offense go, there is really no reason for him to be anything other than a 3rd QB on this team while Kelly figures out if Foles or Barkley can make it work. Point being, yes, the Washington game briefly gave us some unrealistic expectations, but the reality is that this team lost yesterday to a very good Super Bowl contender on the road in a game that everybody should have fully expected would be lopsided. Now, if we are seeing outcomes like this AFTER we put up our Xmas lights this year, it will be time to start questioning Chip Kelly and his abilities.

  • KobraKai7474

    I realize it is kind of silly to trash the Eagles D based on what, arguably, the best QB in the history the league who is fronting a loaded offense at home one mile above sea level did to them. However, it is reaching the point of insanity ( ie doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results), to keep sending players covering the slot, whether Boykins, Graham or somebody else, on blitzes. Even if they come untouched, they simply can’t get to the QB in a quick release offense before the QB can get rid of the ball (and the QB is usually getting rid of the ball right to the spot vacated by the blitzer). Look, I understand that 3-4 defenses, by definition, require blitzing to get pressure, but the Eagles need to start bringing that pressure from the inside and/or they have to admit that they simply do NOT have the personnel to run the 4-3. Something HAS to give here.

  • KimbaFuzz

    I know it was against Peyton Manning, but this type of beatdown is demoralizing. The defense was just totally ineffective. And offensively, the lack of WR/TE production outside of DJax is depressing. The Eagles sorely miss Maclin.