All-22: How Foles, Celek Iced the Game

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With two minutes left in Sunday’s game, Chip Kelly put the decision-making power in Nick Foles’ hands.

The offense had called 14 straight run plays. But after Bryce Brown got dropped for a 2-yard loss, the Eagles faced a 4th-and-12. They had the game in hand (up 34-20), but a turnover on downs would have given the Lions at least a slim chance of scoring, kicking an onside kick and scoring again.




The call, like many others in the Eagles' playbook, gave the quarterback options. He would have to read a key defender and then make a decision post-snap.

Here's the initial look.

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The read-player is safety Glover Quin. Foles knows pre-snap that if Quin inches up, Celek will be wide open. If Quin hangs back, Foles hands the ball off to Chris Polk.

"I had seen what they were doing the previous plays we were in that formation," Foles said. "The safety was playing on me so if I was pulling it, he was coming off. And that’s what a lot of teams like to do. That way they can account for everyone. So if he did that once again, I felt like if he came down, it was really Brent blocking on the D-End and trying to get up."

Here's a look from the other angle.

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Foles takes the snap, and the defense reads run all the way. Why? Because the offense is blocking run all the way. It's not a matter of selling it, either. All that the linemen know on this play is they're blocking run. It's up to Foles to pull the ball if he wants to. Even Celek is blocking the backside defensive end.

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You can see Quin has his eyes on Foles in case he pulls it.

"The look was the look I had seen over and over again previously in the game," Foles said. "They didn’t have a safety over the top over Brent to where it could really take away the play, so I just really tried to stretch the read and read the safety. He came down hard on the run and then I just let Brent go get it."

Foles did a great job selling the handoff. Celek released from his initial block and went out into his route.

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"It was a play where if they were gonna bite after I blocked the end, then I was gonna take off and Nick was gonna throw it to me," Celek said. "As soon as I saw that safety bite and I hit the end, I knew we had it so I took off. And he threw the easiest ball ever to catch. And then I slid. I knew the game was over at that point."

Added Kelly: "It was just a read play. If he had Brent he would take it. If not he could hand it off."

The Eagles try to add in wrinkles to keep the defense honest - especially in situations where opponents are expecting them to run the ball.

"They’ll be aware of that from now on so they might let that safety linger a little more just in case Brent does release," Foles said. "But that’s where you gameplan for those situations. You try to add something that they necessarily haven’t seen so it gives you options in that situation to really ice the game."

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  • Peter

    Great post! I I learn a lot from you two.

    • G_WallyHunter

      they should pretty much rename the blog “Eagles Football for Dummies” it’s just that reader-friendly lol. Not that we are all a bunch of dummies, but this stuff is just top notch. The way these two present the stuff is unmatchable.

  • Scott J

    No pics of the catch and slide? Boooo.

    • Rambler

      Exactly what I was looking for… the Sheil breakdown from the All-22 tape of Celek’s slide at the end of this play. Come on Sheil, step it up!

      • EaglePete

        you guys are gettin greedy. Cmon, I know youve all seen the pics and highlights at least a dozen times by now.

    • mtn_green

      Slide

      • Leegles

        Pretty cool: note Howie (arms raised) and Eagles pres Don Smolenski (to Howie’s right) in the background

    • Justin
      • poetx99

        this really should have “WHEEEEE!!!!” captioned on it at the end.

        that was a truly joyous football moment. and much more memorable than if he had scored.

    • hokieduck

      I so loved the heads up nature of the slide. And let’s face it. In the snow, it was epic!!!

      • hokieduck

        Also, loved Celek’s ear-to-ear grin after he got up! Still could have run. No one touched him or was even inside the frame of these shots. Absolutely loved it.

        We are seeing smart football, folks. Another Chip hallmark. He seeks great physical players but only if they are smart and have the character to buy in and be team first guys. Love it.

  • BirdGang

    With Foles smarts and the weapons we have…this team will go very far. and I am very excited.

    • ecuamerican

      Remember, this is just Year 1. Just wait until the Eagles get more of the type of players Chip really wants (and get some of those injured players back). In the end, Kelly wants to develop a program (a la college programs), not just a team.

      • D Money

        Injured players as in Maclin? Only other injured player is Goode, now that Wolff is on his way back

      • hokieduck

        Four years is how long it takes (according to the Chipster) for a team to “water the bamboo” and get to where he can implement his full panoply of scheming. Scary, isn’t it?

  • Andy124

    Beautiful.

  • theycallmerob

    2 min left with a novice QB trying to ice the game on 4th and long, and Chip defers the decision-making to the kid. Good to see the trust. And killer play-fake to make a read on the safety (!!).
    And as an earlier commenter noted, good to see guys like Shady and Ertz at Sixers games. Also good to see the pic of all the assassin-mask LBs at the DET game. Heck, good to read about Barwin coordinating front 7 dinners every week.
    And awesome to see Azz molding those kids into one of the league’s best DLs.
    Such a great foundation they’re laying this year.

    • Brian

      Merry Christmas from your 2013 Philadelphia Eagles

  • mtn_green

    Honestly, like the ‘brad smith play’ if 4-12 play didn’t work and lions scored, we’d be back to ‘chip can’t manage the fourth quarter’ nonsense. His playcalling was good in Washington and AZ, they didn’t execute like in lions game.

    I can’t remember the yard line they were on for 4-12, gutsy call but seemed better than punting.

    Kudos to chip and to the whole team for always looking like the better coached team. Give chip some slack for AZ and WA games.

    • Andy124

      Give chip some slack for AZ and WA games.
      Not much slack needed seeing as we won them.

      • cliff henny

        coming off 4-12, destroyed roster, kelly has eagles 8-5, and we’re complaining about style points (hey, i did it too)…only philly fans

    • GEAGLE

      Slack? I adore those games…I’m not some idiot who thinks football is just a 60 minute picnic..I watch Brady squeak by friggin Clevland and it get talked about as the comeback of the ages…Chip doesn’t need slack, especially from dopes who would give them any for wins we controlled for 45 plus minutes

    • SJHaack

      Why is this playcall an exercise in bad game management if it doesn’t work? They were on the 35 yard line. Punting doesn’t make much sense; Donnie Jones has been great but there’s a much higher than normal chance he either kicks it for a touchback or something bad happens on the snap. They were up 2 scores. Giving the Lions the ball on their 35 down two touchdowns with 2:20 left is an absolutely acceptable outcome. If the pass is incomplete, the clock stops. If they do not convert on 4th down, the clock stops. The Lions had 9 in the box and no one further than 10 yards from the LoS.

      It’s an excellent playcall whether they convert or not. The Lions only had about 100 yards in the entire half, and just went 4 and out.

  • Andy124

    How ’bout the balls on that play. How easy would it have been for Foles to hand it off and play it safe and say, “Gee coach, he didn’t really bite enough”? With those conditions, and after the first half he and the recievers had, no pass could feel like a sure thing.

    A normal person, they’re going to hand it off, or short arm the throw with butt lips puckered tight enough to turn coal in to diamond. Our young man processed what he had learned in-game, read the play flawlessly and delivered a perfect, soft, catchable ball to seal the game.

    It’s an exciting time to be an Eagles fan.

    • GEAGLE

      Dude, our coach,QB and Defense and Oline/shady are truly FEARLESS, that makes you dangerous..a minute ago Caplan compares FOles to a mentally tougher Eli manning, not flashy but a guy you can win two SB with lol

      And now FOles is talking about the importance of him always owning up to his mistakes…I pray Donovan is listening and that Tim and Sheil do an article on this few quote…it’s incredible to hear
      ..
      People are nuts if they don’t think big balls Chip found his QB soulmate to go to war with!!
      ..
      Caplan just predicts us running the table 11-5

      • Alex

        Why the hell do you spell his name FOles instead of Foles? Are you just a moron?

        • daveH

          haha it BOthers you right?? FOles FOles FOles — har har you are irritated the way he types!! im laffing – go tell your MOmmy that the other BOys aren’t playing nicely with YOu — YOOOOOOOuR THE MOOOOOORON alex !

          • Alex

            It must have been tough for daveh… growing up gay.

          • daveH

            is that an insult Alex ? are you saying there is something wrong with that ?
            that’s actually quite emabarrassing dude. ask someone to retract it for your own sake.

          • Alex

            Whatsa matter daveh, can talk noise but can’t handle it? All bark no bite? Have your parents not accepted your life choices?

          • daveH

            good ones alex. wow your good. nah I cant compete w you man. typos & gays ..they drive ya nuts right? well heres two nuts for your chin bud. enjoy em. glad to hav your valuable eagles insights.

          • Alex

            You offered some great eagles insights with your first response… trying to be a douche when I just asked a question. But its not surprising to see a guy of your preference go that direction with your ‘two nuts’. I understand though… it must have been hard growing up ‘that way’.

          • daveH

            why do u go on gay bashing dude? its embarrassing. you actually do make me feel bad for you.

          • scadole

            *you’re

        • Dominik

          Autocorrect. Discussed it here a few times already and I didn’t understand it at the beginning, too. But if he keeps projecting the Eagles as good as he has this season, I can life with it. ;)

    • HowboutdemIggles

      His intelligence is amazing, and he knows what his flaws are, and I love how he always talks about getting better at what he didn’t do well. We saw flashes of this guy last season with the game winner he had vs Tampa a season ago. He’s not flashy he’s not fast, he’s smart and he’s growing. It’s awesome to see.

    • southy

      This is a wrinkle born out of previous failure. Arizona was adjusting to the r/o by crashing the DE and bringing a DB down to take Foles. DET must have seen that on film. Chip told us about the sift block to deal with that, but this is essentially the same concept just Celek is already backside. Bringing the safety down really opens up Celek should he release, and in this instance DET bit HARD. Love it.

  • FluxCapacitor

    Not sure if this has been discussed before, but I’m kind of
    confused as to how we don’t have a bunch of ineligible receiver downfield penalties with this kind of play. Are the OL taught to run block, but never go past the LOS, or is
    the pass out before they cross?

    • Joe from Easton

      It’s a product of the zone blocking scheme that they run. They don’t fire off of the ball and “drive” block on running plays. They play their zone and take care of defenders that are crashing into their gaps as the play forms. Now I’m sure they’re not told to just stay there and keep pass blocking no matter what so there is obviously a feel for how it works that gets better with experience.

      • hokieduck

        For sure they are not told to stay put. Awesome play from Chip’s last year at Oregon. A forty yard pass gets coughed up by the receiver at the goal line and is heading out fo the back of the endzone. Who snags it about an inch from perdition? An offensive lineman who not only did not stay put but busted his butt forty yards on what looked like a sure thing TD in time to cover the fumble for a Duck TD.

        Chip coaches for the team to swarm the ball, offense and defense. If it only helps once a season, it is worth it and it also keeps the entire team focused on effort.

    • Ryan

      If an OL is engaged with a defensive player at the LOS and continues blocking that same defender continuously, he can block him all the way backwards down the field. He must be engaged the entire time though.

      • FluxCapacitor

        Ah, ok. So as long as they are not in space looking for somebody to block they can cross the LOS. Thanks man!

    • ajasdfkasdf

      i think OL allowed 5 yards beyond line of scrimmage. pass should be out by then. dunno.

      • Antani

        Article 1 Legal and Illegal Acts. On a scrimmage play during which a legal forward pass is thrown, an ineligible offensive player, including a T-formation quarterback, is not permitted to move more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage before the pass has been thrown.

        Item 1: Legally Downfield. An ineligible player is not illegally downfield if, after initiating contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage during his initial charge:

        (a) he moves more than one yard beyond the line while legally blocking or being blocked by an opponent; or
        (b) after breaking legal contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he remains stationary until a forward pass is thrown; or
        (c) after losing legal contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he is forced behind the line of scrimmage by an opponent, at which time he is again subject to normal blocking restrictions for an ineligible offensive player.

        Item 2: Illegally Downfield. An ineligible offensive player is illegally downfield if:

        (a) he moves more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage without contacting an opponent; or
        (b) after losing contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage, he advances more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage; or
        (c) after losing contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he continues to move in any direction.

    • TNA

      As SK noted, Celek and Foles were the only players that knew the play may turn into a pass play. Everybody else thought it was a run play all the way.

  • PhiEagles14

    Who else is insanely excited to see this team play in a dome? I know that it doesn’t matter where or what we play on… just seems like after playing in last weeks conditions, this team is just going to explode!

    I don’t see this team getting cocky… which is what i have always been afraid of whenever we had any sort of wins these past 3-4 years… Chip has humbled our superstars.

    Lets knock down the Vikings, Battle it out with the bears, and then assassinate those dam Cowboys!!!!

    • HowboutdemIggles

      I’m nervous about that Bears game, though. The Eagles aren’t dumb to overlook a potential playoff team, but with these past few weeks it’s hard not to be.

      • hokieduck

        At least the Bears did the Eagles a huge favor on MOnday night. How sweet was that?

    • hokieduck

      Chip has not “humbled” your superstars. Chip has showed your superstars that if they buy in and play within his system, they will win. And winning is FUN and PROFITABLE.

      Chip gets guys to focus every day, every practice and every play in practice. That is his magic elixir. I so miss him at Oregon but am enjoying being an newbie Eagles fan!! It has been a blast watching and reading your comments as you as a fanbase have gone from hating/fearing to loving the Chipster.