Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Lions, after having re-watched the game.
* There was good Nick Foles, and there was bad Nick Foles. Obviously, the weather conditions were a factor. Foles started the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. When he missed, he generally sailed his throws. That’s what happened on the first-half interception. Foles was also off-target on a hitch to Riley Cooper, and he fired a quick throw to Cooper into the ground. Last week, on the same throw, Foles fired the pass over Cooper’s head. Both attempts came with him under center. I think that has something to do with it. That’s an easier throw when you’re in shotgun and can just take the snap and fire. Read more »
The Eagles have the best big-strike offense in the NFL. They had eight plays of 20-plus yards Sunday, upping their league-leading total to 80 on the season. With three games remaining, they have a shot at surpassing the record of 96 established by the “Greatest Show On Turf ” Rams back in 2001.
Chip Kelly‘s offense has 19 touchdowns of 20-plus yards, which is also tops in the league. Three of those came in the fourth quarter against Detroit, as LeSean McCoy rattled off TD runs of 40 and 57 yards, and Chris Polk got loose for a 38-yarder.
The big play is part of this team’s identity. And it’s not all about getting the big play, it’s also about stopping it. Read more »
Chip Kelly and his coaching staff worked all week on a special gameplan to neutralize the aggressiveness of the Detroit Lions’ defensive front.
Screens, draws, read-plays that would have left linemen unblocked. Those were all part of the plan as of Sunday morning.
“We had a lot of plays in the gameplan to attack their scheme and attack a lot of their explosion and things like that,” said center Jason Kelce. “I was excited to run them coming into the game because I thought they were awesome. But the weather really took them out of their typical way that they played football because they couldn’t get their footing, they couldn’t get upfield as fast.
“I think the coaches got to some more downhill stuff and some more vanilla stuff where we could just kind of get together and get double teams and get moving vertically.”
The word vanilla has been used in the past as a jab at Kelly’s offense. On Sunday, vanilla was what saved the Eagles. Read more »
DeSean Jackson was the first one into the tunnel when the clock struck zero. There’s not a whole lot of meat on that 175-pound frame, and he was frozen stiff.
“I can’t feel my feet!” yelled Jackson as he buzzed by. “I can’t feel my feet!”
Chip Kelly came into view a moment later, jogging quickly towards the locker room as a fan’s voice rang down the hall behind him. “Way to go, Chip!”
Then Michael Vick, a giant grin on his face, side-by-side Brent Celek, who let out an emphatic, “Uh!” Roc Carmichael quietly sang the Eagles fight song on his way in. A nearby teammate was not as subtle, screaming, ‘That’s what I’m [expletive] talking about!” Read more »
LeSean McCoy had just ripped off a nine-yard run on what proved to be his final carry of the night, and did a little Incredible Hulk flex as he sat in the snow. As he got up and exited the field, chants of ”Shady!” began to break out. They got so loud that some members of the offense began waving at the crowd, asking them to quiet down so they could execute the next play. The fans knew they had just witnessed something special.
It was a performance that left his teammates in awe.
“The cutting and everything, the jumping, that’s…I just was kind of watching it and going, ‘That’s the best running back in the league right there. It’s a good thing we’ve got him on our side,’ ” said Jason Kelce. “It was impressive to say the least because if I was to try one of those, I probably would have did the splits right around the 50-yard line.”
Read more »
Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s what we saw during today’s game.
*After a rough go in the first two quarters, the Eagles’ offense caught fire in the second half, scoring touchdowns on five straight possessions to lead the way during a 34-20 victory over the Lions.
* LeSean McCoy went off for a career and franchise high 217 yards on 29 carries. He put the offense on his back with touchdown runs of 40 and 57 yards in the fourth quarter. The Lions’ offense came into the game with the second-best run defense in the league, according to Football Outsiders.
* Nick Foles made some plays in the second half too, finishing 11-for-22 for 179 yards, a touchdown and an INT. It wasn’t always pretty, but he rebounded after a first half which saw him complete just four of 10 passes for 35 yards and a pick.
Read more »
From Jaws’ QB rankings to predictions for Sunday’s game, here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles. Read more »
Chip Kelly might not admit it, but he has favorites.
Players whose names he will bring up unprompted. Guys he’ll go out of his way to mention as underrated or under-appreciated. And atop that list this year has been tight end Brent Celek.
On the surface, Celek’s numbers are unimpressive: 23 receptions for 319 yards. He’s on pace for his lowest per-game averages since 2008 in both categories. But there are plenty of reasons why Kelly has sung Celek’s praises all year long.
“I think Chip respects guys that give everything they’ve got on every single play when you’re out there,” Celek said. “I respect everything that he’s done. Everything that he does makes sense, and you as a football player, that’s what you want. You want answers to some of your questions, and he answers those. And everything he wants you to do, it all makes sense.”
The strong relationship between Celek and Kelly was no given during the offseason. The seventh-year tight end was an Andy Reid loyalist. Even as things fell apart last season, Celek stood at his locker after every game and defended his head coach.
Meanwhile, after Kelly was hired, he made moves to bolster Celek’s position, signing James Casey in free agency and drafting Zach Ertz in the second round. Those moves could have rubbed Celek the wrong way and put his standing with the team in question, but Kelly made sure that was a non-issue. Read more »
From Chip Kelly’s take on Marcus Mariota’s decision to Nick Foles’ MVP candidacy, here are three Eagles leftovers.
1. As you know by now, Marcus Mariota is staying at Oregon for another year. Chip Kelly was asked today about his former QB’s decision.
“Yeah, I’m happy for him,” Kelly said. “I know he comes from a great family. His mother and father value education. He’s going to stay and get his degree. He’s a really special young man. Everybody in the league will have to wait a couple years. I loved coaching him. He’s exactly what you want in a football player. I know everybody in Eugene is happy. Eugene is a special place. Take it from a guy who had a real tough time leaving there, I think it’s a good decision.” Read more »
Asked after the bye whether LeSean McCoy had been encountering too much traffic in the backfield, Chip Kelly offered a brief response.
“I don’t think any running back likes to deal with defenders in the backfield too much, but I don’t see that occurring at a high rate,” he said.
The Eagles’ head coach prefers sometimes to not show his hand. The previous week, McCoy had been dropped for a loss five times against the Redskins. He had to deal with a defender in the backfield on 12 of 20 occasions, oftentimes spinning out of trouble and picking up positive yardage.
But that model didn’t seem sustainable. Part of the problem had to do with the Eagles’ zone read. Teams were using their unblocked defenders to crash down on McCoy. If Nick Foles kept the ball, so be it. They would live with the 5- or 6-yard gain and an opportunity to hit the QB. Read more »