Chip Kelly likely expected there to be some bumps in the road during his first year as the Eagles’ head coach.
But a 32-point loss where his offense was shut out in the second half until the backups came on the field was not what he had in mind when he got on the plane to fly to Denver.
“Offensively, we had too many drops and too many penalties,” Kelly said. “I felt like we could move the ball on them. But we get the ball down there, we end up with field goals and that’s not gonna win. You can’t trade three for sevens with Peyton, and that’s obviously difficult. And then special teams, we gave up 14 points, had a kickoff return returned for a touchdown and had a punt blocked.”
Kelly opted for field goals on a 4th-and-4 from the Denver 17 and again on a 4th-and-4 from the Broncos’ 7. He also decided to punt on a 4th-and-6 from the Denver 37. Three opportunities to score touchdowns, and a total of six points on the scoreboard.
“I just didn’t want to give them that field if we didn’t get it, just make it that much shorter for them,” Kelly said when asked about the punt. “I thought we had been good at plus-50 punts. Thought we could just pin them and at least make them have to go the distance.”
Kelly added that he and special-teams coach Dave Fipp decided a 54-yard field goal attempt was not an option at that point.
Offensively, the Eagles moved the ball in the first half, but struggled in the third quarter. Kelly pin-pointed the first drive of the second half as a key. The Broncos had just scored a touchdown on a 10-play, 80-yard drive. The Eagles’ offense ran just five plays in 1:24 before punting the ball away.
Vick was 4-for-11 in the second half. The Broncos played man coverage and challenged the Eagles’ receivers one-on-one, a strategy the Eagles have now seen for three straight weeks.
Asked if the receivers had trouble getting off of press coverage, Kelly said: “I mean, at times they did, but at other times, I thought they created some real good separation and we had some big plays. You’re not gonna be open every single play, but I think our guys did get off [of press coverage] at times, and I think Michael put the ball on them, and we moved the ball…”
DeSean Jackson had two catches for 34 yards; Riley Cooper two for 25.
Asked if he saw effort from his team in the second half, Kelly said: “Did I feel like it was there? Overall, at the end, no, I mean, you get worn down in a game like this.”
Kelly gave the Broncos plenty of credit and made it clear that the Eagles need to move on and stay positive as they look ahead to next week against the Giants.
“I don’t think this is a ‘Holy smokes, this season’s over,’ ” Kelly said. “I think every week is a season. We knew this challenge was going to be very difficult coming in just because of how the Broncos have played in their first three games. And we gotta go play.”
The Eagles have off on Monday and will return to practice at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.