Fourth & Forever: 81-64-63
In week one against the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles ran 81 plays. They were up 33-14 heading into the fourth quarter. If it wasn't for their defense giving up 13 points in the fourth quarter, they would have won by more than six points. In week two, the Eagles lost 33-30. Yes the defense was bad, but I'm looking at the bigger picture. The 10 X 10 frame of not controlling the tempo. They only ran 64 plays in week two against the San Diego Chargers. 19 plays fewer than the first game against the Redskins. In Thursdays game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles only ran 63 plays. Still 16 plays fewer than the first game. The result, Eagles lost 26-16. The home lost results in seven straight loses, dating back to last season. A trend that is starting to look a little to familiar to Eagle fans, who watched their team go 4-12 last season. This time, former Eagles head coach Andy Reid was on the opposing side and new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is picking up where the team finished last year.
At the University of Oregon, the Ducks ranked second in the nation last season under Chip Kelly. Going 12-1 and scoring 49.6 points per game. Kelly's Ducks averaged 78 plays last season. The Oregon defense gave up 21.6 ppg. Controlling the game in an up-tempo offense. Running as many plays as possible, trying to wear down the defense. Now if a team plays at an up-tempo pace, the opposing team, will have shots to score. Its only logical that the opposing team will have the ball for a long period of time. Playing at a fast pace will help opponents put points on the board. The offense at Oregon was so good, that regardless if the opponent was scoring, the Duck offense won in blow-outs. Teams couldn't slow them down. With this being Kelly's first year as the Eagles coach. It may take a while for the team to learn and develop his style of play, offensively and defensively. The NFL is a grown mans game. Its very rare to see a team give up 50 points and its even rarer for a team to average 50 ppg.
The Eagles are averaging 2.3 giveaways a game. Whether its fumbles or interceptions, the offense is not going to control the tempo of the game, by giving the ball away. It gives the opposing team momentum and it eats up the clock. If the Eagles are driving down field and have had the ball for six minutes, then fumbles inside the opponent 10 yard line. That's a waste of a possession. The opponent then drives the ball right back down field and score, now the Eagles are behind and time has been taken off the clock. In the Eagles two loses, the Eagles have been playing catch-up. The Eagles offense have been their own nightmare. Turning over the pig skin and playing from behind slows down the offense, simply because you're playing catch-up now. The game-plan had to change in the last two games, which is why the Eagles had a big drop off in offensive plays being ran. In order for Chip Kelly's schemes to work, the Eagles can't fall too far behind. Also the Eagles defense looks terrible, they look like they can't stop anything. This tells me, the offense might be in shootouts in every game.
After three games, the Eagles are ranked 30th in the NFL. Two away from being ranked last. Far from Chip Kelly's Oregon days. Right now the Eagles average 26. 3 ppg. A top ten offense, which is great, but the Eagles also give up 28.7 ppg, which is ranked 28th in the league. The defense is the reason why the Eagles will continue to lose games, unless the defense is resolved. The Eagles turned the ball over five times in Thursdays game. Nobody is going to win, coughing the ball up that many times in one game. The reason why the Eagles won their first game is because the Redskins defense is terrible, giving up 35.5 ppg. Against a good defense, like the Chiefs, they will have a hard time controlling the tempo. I see why former quarterback Donovan McNabb, doesn't think this type of offense will last. " To me, It's just a fad. I don't know if any offensive player would want to run 90 plays in a game. If you're running 90 plays in a game, that means your defense is pretty awful and you're running entirely too many play," said McNabb. Quote taken from, http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/donovan-mcnabb-not-impressed-chip-kelly-offense-calls-191810915--nfl.html;_ylt=A2KJ3CXzojxSzyUAmpDQtDMD.
McNabb hit it right on the button. Defensive coordinators are going to be prepared for the fast-paced offense. Defenses in the NFL are not going to roll over and let people run right by them. The Eagles could be 0-3. They ran 81 plays in the Redskins game, in which they led the whole way. The Redskins defense is currently ranked 31st in the league, by the way. The Eagles only won by six. They run fast plays to outscore opponents, but the Redskins were one touchdown away from winning the game. So what happened? If the offense doesn't score, they give the ball back to the opponent, using very little time. Then the defense has to do their part, however if the defense stinks, such as the Eagles, than the opponent has time to get back into the game or control it themselves. The Eagles defense will hurt the attitude of being the field runners. The Eagles won't score every time, but the opponent most likely will. The fast-paced offense is amazing to watch, but has repercussions...especially if that same team has a bad defense.