|RB LeSean McCoy runs in for his first touchdown of the 2013 season.|
Image courtesy of AP
Talking about it was one thing. The anticipation was another. But the execution? A whole different animal.
Football fans across the country, and more so in the City of Brotherly Love, had watched Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense and wondered exactly how it would translate in the NFL. The result last night in our nation’s capital was a high-powered, high-paced, run-heavy offense that the city of Philadelphia never saw under former coach Andy Reid. The Eagles offense kept their foot on the gas during the first half while the Redskins defense tired.
It was expected that the Eagles rushing attack would get a good amount of opportunities in Kelly’s offense and the backs got more than their fair share. LeSean McCoy ran 31 times for 184 yards and a touchdown, breaking his record for carries in a game and coming one yard shy of his career high in yards. Michael Vick ran it nine times for 54 yards and a touchdown and Bryce Brown got nine carries as well, rushing for 28 yards. The Eagles only threw the ball 25 times. This is something that could very much be conceived as impossible by a fan who’s watched only the Eagles offense the past 14 seasons.
Receiver DeSean Jackson had both his first 100-yard receiving game and his first receiving touchdown since week 9 of last season in a loss at New Orleans. Jackson is a big piece to the Eagles puzzle this season and his performance will be vital to determining the long-term success of this team. This offense is made for athletic types and the Eagles have three big ones in Vick, McCoy & Jackson. The scheme is good, but if you don’t have the players you need to execute it, it won’t work. This is why Kelly was a perfect fit for Philadelphia.
The 53 plays that Philadelphia got off during the first 30 minutes were the most by an NFL team in 15 years. The fact that this team could get off more plays than the Redskins gained yards in that period is unthinkable, but that’s exactly what happened. Albeit, the defense was a surprisingly big help in the first half, forcing an interception, fumble and safety, the Eagles took advantage of every opportunity given to them after the Redskins recovered a fumble for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game.
Now this was extremely exciting to watch, but the Eagles did let up in the second half. If they weren’t up by 19 I may have been worried that the Redskins caught on quickly, but the fact is they were up a lot and they didn’t want to do anything foolish so they played more conservatively, especially after McCoy’s touchdown in the beginning of the third quarter. This game should have been over before the fourth quarter began, but it wasn’t over until a failed Redskins onside kick with 1:14 remaining. This was reminiscent of past Eagles teams that couldn’t close, but at the end of the day, they won.
This is only week one and Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III was far from 100 percent, but it was huge for the Eagles to get this opening win on the road against a division rival. Chip Kelly getting his first win in Week 1 is also a big plus because he has free reign to do what he needs to do with the team without critics starting an unnecessary storyline pointing to the win-loss record and questioning his philosophy.
The Eagles did also start last season 3-0, but those three wins were all questionable. This one was emphatic. The team looked good for much of the game and unlike last season’s opener, they gave us something to show us they’re ready to go, rather than steal a win from a sub-par Cleveland Browns team. This team has the potential to be good and surprise a lot of people. There’s still a long way to go but this is a good start and San Diego’s going to have a lot of preparing to do to get ready for Sunday.