Chip Kelly was exceedingly positive and enthusiastic in his presser yesterday afternoon. .
The Eagles allowed 26 points and 395 yards in Thursday night's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They didn't force a turnover. Numbers, however, can be deceiving. The Eagles defense, for the second time in three games, actually played pretty well. They kept their team in the contest despite five turnovers from the offense and special teams, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
And Vinny Curry was a pleasant surprise at pass-rush DE, along with his rotational brother, Brandon Graham…
Curry had a nice clean outing against the Chiefs… as did Graham.
Now the Chippah is telling us to stay positive as phans, since his current creation is still a work in progress.
I get where Kelly is coming from— keep us folks from overreacting to two tough losses in a row.
But next weekend we are in Denver, and that does not bode well.
Especially since we have discovered the outer limits of our current defense.
Peyton Manning is looking at us on tape as we speak, and he is licking his chops.
Only 13 points should be charged to the Eagles' defense Thursday night. The other 13 could almost all be directly attributed to the offense's careless mistakes.
"I thought [our defense] did an outstanding job," coach Chip Kelly said on Friday after watching film of the 26-16 loss to the Chiefs. "I thought our defense battled. They're playing with great effort. That's the one thing they do control and have a say in. I'm happy with them there. "
"Can we make a couple more tackles? Yeah. Can we do a better job of getting them off the field in third and long situations? Yeah. But I think with how they played and coming out of the Chargers game, I think they responded. They played a lot better."
The Eagles defense clearly wore down. They were on the field for 82 total snaps. They allowed 225 yards on the first 54 plays (4.3 ypp). They allowed 157 yards on their final 30 defensive plays (5.22 ypp). Ten of the 13 points allowed by the defense came in the fourth quarter.
"We did a pretty good job, but we could do better," said rookie safety Earl Wolff, who again rotated with Nate Allen most of the game. "We could always be better. Our goal is to keep getting better."
It was the offense and special teams which let the Eagles down against the Chiefs. The offense had four turnovers, three by quarterback Michael Vick and one on a bad snap by Jason Kelce. The special teams were a mess. They allowed the opening kickoff to be returned past midfield. Damaris Johnson then muffed the punt after the defense forced Kansas City into a three and out. It was by far the special teams' worst game of the season.
After the Eagles held Kansas City to a field goal, Michael Vick threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Eagles were down 10-0 despite holding the Chiefs to minus-four yards on seven plays.
Returning to reality, let's face it— in the end the Eagles lost key man-to-man battles on the line of scrimmage. Dontari Poe and company were knocking guys out on our interior line. They were just plain stronger and better. Even Jason Peters, our former All-Pro left tackle, looked average against the KC defensive attack.
The Eagles didn't allow any explosive plays to Kansas City, had five sacks and received contributions from unlikely candidates Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. On that side of the ball, they did solid work most of the evening. It was the defense that was victim this time to the other areas not holding up their end of the bargain.
"Offensively and special teams-wise we didn't do a good enough job," Kelly said. "It has to be all of us to beat a team like the Chiefs. It just can't be one phase. Defensively we played well; offensively and special teams we didn't."
Vick looked more like the mistake-prone quarterback coached by Reid the last two seasons than the guy who began the year with two excellent games in Chip Kelly's system. His worst decision was an interception that Eric Berry returned 38 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
"What hurts so much is I knew exactly what I needed to do," Vick said. "I had press coverage. I took the easy way out. I should've thrown the fade. Poor decision. Bad throw. I second-guessed myself. I tried to think outside the box."
The Eagles (1-2) have lost two in a row since an impressive season-opening win at Washington. They'll hit the road for the next three games, starting against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sept. 29.
Vick hadn't thrown a pick in his last 95 attempts, dating to last season, before locking in on Brent Celek on Philadelphia's third play. Derrick Johnson tipped the ball and Berry caught it, running untouched to the end zone to give the Chiefs a 10-0 lead.
Vick played near-flawless the first two games, accounting for six TDs (four passing, two rushing) and a 119 passer rating. He threw for a career-best 428 yards in a 33-30 loss to San Diego last Sunday, but finished 13 of 30 for 201 yards against the Chiefs.
Kelly didn't pin the blame on Vick.
"I didn't think Mike was out of sorts," Kelly said. "We have to give him better protection and more time to set his feet and throw."
After LeSean McCoy's 41-yard TD run got the Eagles within 23-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs faced a third-and-10 at their 5. But Alex Smith completed a 15-yard pass to Donnie Avery and the Chiefs slowly moved the ball, chewing up 8:15 on a drive that ended with a field goal.
"We need to hold onto the ball and sustain drives and get their defense gassed," Kelly said. "We're not running enough plays. We're turning the ball over. We call them self-inflicted wounds. We have too many of them to win games."
Vick bounced back from the first interception with a career-best 61-yard run before tossing a 22-yard TD pass to Jason Avant that cut it to 10-6. After Vick connected with Avant, the Eagles then failed on Kelly's first attempt at a 2-point conversion. Known for passing up extra points and going for 2 at Oregon, Kelly waited until his third game to try it in the NFL.
Kicker Alex Henery lined up in the shotgun, but the snap went right to Zach Ertz lined up wide to the left. Ertz was tackled well short of the end zone.
One of Philadelphia's fumbles came when center Jason Kelce's shotgun snap bounced off his thigh, hit guard Todd Herremans and was recovered by Justin Houston at the Chiefs 49.
After the Chiefs went three-and-out on the game's first series, Damaris Johnson fumbled the punt at the Eagles 8 and Cyrus Gray recovered. Kansas City went three-and-out again, and settled for Ryan Succop's 33-yard field goal.
"You can't turn the ball over like that and win," Kelly said. "We can move the ball up and down the field. We've proven that. But you can't give the other team the ball like that."
NOTES: The Eagles have lost eight straight home games, dating to last Sept. 30. … Vick limped off the field after losing a fumble in the final minutes. He said he injured both ankles, but was ready to return if the Eagles regained possession.
At this point, I'm not sure if I'm willing to buy totally into the Chip Kelly mystique yet insofar as his ability to turn this franchise around into a winning team in his first season. But I am impressed by his candor and optimism in his pressers following a loss.