Chip Kelly: ‘We Didn’t Play Smart’
“We didn’t play smart.”
Chip Kelly spoke for eight minutes and 23 seconds after the Eagles’ 20-19 loss to the Dolphins Sunday afternoon, but that was the gist. That was his biggest takeaway from his team’s fifth loss of the season, a press conference compressed into four brief words.
Kelly didn’t think his team played a smart enough game to win, and then they didn’t.
“We had too many penalties that I think negated big gains for us,” Kelly said, visibly frustrated by the abundance of flags. “A lot of them — I think there were only seven of them, when you look at the game sheet, but there were a lot of them that were offsetting. We obviously had more of them. We had way too many penalties on the offensive side of the ball.”
Kelly was right; the Eagles only had seven penalties for 54 yards according to the final game summary, four of which were called on the offense.
They also had three penalties declined, and two penalties that were offsetting, including the most costly one of the evening, an illegal shift called against Riley Cooper which negated a Mark Sanchez touchdown pass to Zach Ertz that would have given the Eagles the lead late in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t set in the formation,” Kelly said of the penalty. “We didn’t get lined up as fast in terms of snapping the football, and that’s what I think was the [theme of the] game.
“I think we hurt ourselves, and that’s what I told the guys. We ran eighty-some plays, but we stalled. I think a lot of it has do with, the penalties put us behind the count.
“We’ve got an opportunity, we’re moving the football, and then obviously a couple of those penalties are just real big drive killers, and those are on us, whether it be a hold on the side, a hold on the edge, we didn’t do a good job in terms of putting ourselves in situations where we can be successful.”
The Eagles also didn’t play smart enough on special teams, where a missed field goal — due to what Kelly saw as a “low snap” — and a punt that was blocked, and turned into a touchdown, torpedoed the momentum that a two-touchdown first quarter had built.
“Any time you have a block, we can’t have that,” Kelly said. “Those are momentum-changing plays in a game, and it’s our second blocked punt of the year. We’ve got to get that straightened out, because we’re not going to win when we’re doing things like that.
“You’ve got a blocked punt for a touchdown, we missed a field goal, and way too many penalties on the offensive side of the ball for us to be successful.”
Kelly said he thought special teams ace Chris Maragos didn’t get anchored well enough on the blocked punt, and Miami’s punt block unit got in quicker than Maragos expected.
It’s difficult to overcome a mixture of costly penalties, special teams miscues, and a passing game that struggled to find consistency both before and after Sam Bradford left the game with a left shoulder injury and a concussion.
And despite the fact that the Eagles had a chance to kick a field goal and take the lead late in the game, Kelly’s team simply made too many mistakes. So, of course, they polished it off with one more when Sanchez launched his ill-fated pass to Miles Austin, which was intercepted.
Here are a few more highlights from Kelly’s press conference.
— On Miami’s ability to pressure Bradford and Sanchez throughout the game.
“It looked like we struggled at times to handle the inside rush specifically,” Kelly said. “We had a little momentum there going for us, and we didn’t capitalize on that next drive, missing that field goal. And then after that, a lot of it was trying to get the quarterback away from them.
“That’s why we ran a lot of naked bootlegs, to try and get the quarterback out of the pocket and stay away from their pressure.”
— On what he saw, and what was called, on the play when Sanchez threw his interception.
“We had a couple of other guys [open],” Kelly explained. “We were hoping [Sanchez] could just take a peek, and if you don’t have it — because they were in coverage, it looked to me like Brent [Celek] was open underneath.
“You could just dump it down and play the next snap, get positive yardage. We’re already in field goal range. That would’ve put us up. But you obviously want to try to score a touchdown because there’s obviously time left in the game.”
— On the high snap from Jason Kelce that went over Sam Bradford’s head.
“It was high,” Kelly said. “Some of the snaps were errant today, and we’ve got to clean that up, because it affects the timing of the offense.
— On the Jarvis Landry touchdown that was caught in the end zone after the ball ricocheted off the hands of Connor Barwin and up in the air.
“It certainly wasn’t good luck,” Kelly said. “I think that’s just the way it is. Malcolm [Jenkins] was in coverage, he had his back to it. I can’t fault him. I don’t think Malcolm even knew the ball was tipped. He’s trying to play coverage, and when you’re down in the red zone, you’re trying to play underneath receivers and not on top of them, because if you’re on top of them and they catch the ball, they’re already in the end zone.
“I thought originally [Jenkins] was in good coverage; it was a great play by Connor Barwin. I’ve never been a part of a play like that.”