NFC East: 2013 Week 2 SDG at PHI Rapid Reaction
September, 15, 2013
By Phil Sheridan | ESPN.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Quick thoughts after the San Diego Chargers' 33-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday:
What it means: There won’t be a million stories explaining the phenomenon that is Chip Kelly’s offense, at least not this week. After setting land-speed records in Washington on Monday night, the Eagles had trouble getting into gear against the Chargers. They ultimately put enough points on the board to win most games, but they cost themselves several touchdowns with mistakes in the first half. Given a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, the Eagles stalled in the red zone. They kicked a field goal to tie the score, but left the Chargers nearly two minutes to drive for Nick Novak's game-winning 46-yard kick.
Stock watch: It was probably inevitable after the avalanche of praise the first-year coach received last week that Kelly's stock would fall. He was trying to become the first Eagles coach to win the first two games of his tenure since Nick Skorich in 1961. Kelly was never going to go undefeated in the NFL, but Eagles fans were hoping to ride the Chip-mania wave at least a little bit longer.
Defensive regression: The Eagles' defense looked much more like the work in progress that it is. Philip Rivers picked apart a secondary that was suspect before injuries weakened it even further. Cornerback Cary Williams, who had a sack and an interception at Washington, was called for three pass-interference penalties (one was declined). When the Chargers took the field with 1:51 left in a tie game, the Eagles were helpless to stop the winning drive.
Bad timing: The Eagles’ improved special teams had been an overlooked story with so much attention focused on Kelly’s offense. But the kicking game failed the Eagles at the worst time, allowing a long kickoff return to set up the Chargers’ go-ahead touchdown. Kicker Alex Henery, who missed a field goal earlier in the game, couldn’t handle a fumble on the play and the Chargers recovered.
What’s next: The Eagles get little rest before welcoming longtime coach Andy Reid back to Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night. The game becomes doubly important because the Eagles’ next matchup after that is in Denver on Sept. 29. A loss to Reid could put the Eagles in jeopardy of starting 1-3 after winning their first game.