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Friday, September 20, 2013
Upon Further Review: Eagles Week 3

By Phil Sheridan

An examination of three hot topics after the Philadelphia Eagles' 26-16 loss to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs:

Michael Vick
Michael Vick and the offense have looked mistake-prone and out of sorts too often this season.
Those sustainability concerns were very real: After the Eagles stormed FedEx Field for a season- and eye-opening victory, Chip Kelly’s offense was the talk of NFL Nation. Was it unstoppable? Could it work over a long NFL season? Would it wear out the Eagles' offensive or defensive players first?

While conceding that three games in 11 days is an extreme test, the early indications are not good. Michael Vick has come up limping again. LeSean McCoy played the entire second half on a painful sprained ankle. The offensive line is making exactly the kind of fatigue mistakes -- Jason Kelce thought Vick was under center? Really? -- the players warned about during camp. The defense disintegrated, allowing a 15-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 8:15 of the fourth quarter.

"We have to do what is required of us," cornerback Cary Williams said.

The good news is a 10-day gap before the next game. But that game will be at altitude in Denver, against Peyton Manning. The Giants and Eli Manning are a week later. After losing two home games in which they were favored, it's impossible to pick the Eagles in either of the next two contests.

This house is not a home: The Eagles spent money to remodel and update Lincoln Financial Field. The free Wi-Fi is great. The home-field advantage? Not so much.

Chip Kelly is now 0-2 in his new home stadium. The Eagles have lost eight home games in a row, the longest streak in the NFL and tied for the longest streak in franchise history. Because they are on the road the next three weeks, they will go a full calendar year since their last win at the Linc -- last Sept. 30 against the Giants.

"Losing at home, man, it’s tough," Williams said. "You don’t want to lose at home. You try to come out and compete the best you possibly can at home. You want to win at home. We haven’t been able to do that thus far."

That two-point conversion was as bad as it looked: After McCoy’s 41-yard touchdown run, the Eagles trailed the Chiefs 23-16. They had 11:36 left and needed just one touchdown to tie it.

Ah, but if Kelly hadn’t gone for a slapstick two-point conversion way back in the first quarter, it would have been 23-17, and a TD plus PAT would give the Eagles a win. The Chiefs went on that clock-devouring drive and kicked a field goal, knowing they could give up a TD and a field goal without falling behind.

“We worked on it for a while,” Kelly said of the gimmicky two-point play. “We thought when we scored our first touchdown, we were going to try to line up [for the play]. If the number count was right, we were going to fire it over there and see if we could get it in.”

The number count was right. Rookie Zach Ertz was easily tackled by the clearly unfooled Chiefs. The play and the strategy were wrong. Kelly liked going for two early in games at Oregon. He was usually scoring first and putting more pressure on his overmatched opponent. Here, the Eagles were already down 10-0 and the failed conversion only put more pressure on them.