Rapid Reaction: Eagles 33, Redskins 27
September, 9, 2013
By Phil Sheridan | ESPN.com
LANDOVER, Md. – Here's what comes to mind after recovering from whiplash during the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-27 victory at the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
What it means for Philadelphia: Chip Kelly's Eagles are going to be entertaining, at the very least. Kelly's offense turned FedEx Field into the Autobahn in the first half: 26 points, 53 plays, 322 yards. The Eagles' pace slowed in the second half, either because they took their foot off the gas or simply ran out of gas. Washington scored 20 unanswered points to tamp down the Chipmania. The rewards and the risks of Kelly's go-go offense were all on display in this game.
Stock Watch: Rising (but not sliding) -- Michael Vick showed how dangerous he can be in Kelly's offense, to defenses as well as to himself. Vick ran the uptempo, read-option system masterfully in the first half. He broke a 36-yard run to help slow Washington's momentum in the fourth quarter. But he absorbed too many hits, including on that run, and was limping around by game's end. He can't stay upright all season playing that way.
Starry, starry night: It is considered a good offensive performance when you have a running back and a wide receiver each hit 100 yards. The Eagles had that by halftime. LeSean McCoy had 115 yards on the ground by intermission, then ran 34 yards for a touchdown on the first series of the second half. DeSean Jackson had 7 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown before intermission. They are poised for incredible seasons.
Those other guys: With so much focus on Kelly and his novel offense, the Eagles defense came into the game as something of an afterthought. After three Washington possessions, the Eagles had two takeaways and a safety. They pressured Robert Griffin III and contained Alfred Morris. In the second half, turnovers and stalled offensive drives put more pressure on the defense. It held up, but just barely. Still, there was a lot to build on here.
What's next: Kelly won't have the element of surprise on his side after his much ballyhooed “Monday Night Football” debut. Defensive coordinators around the NFL, unlike Washington's Jim Haslett, will have some actual Eagles game tape to dig into. First up is San Diego's John Pagano. One suspects, though, that Kelly has a lot more where this came from. In a deeply-flawed NFC East, anything now seems possible.