Sunday, September 29, 2013
Kelly gets cautious, kicking game struggles
By Phil Sheridan
DENVER -- Tying up some loose ends from the Philadelphia Eagles' 52-20 loss to the Denver Broncos:
1. There is a domino effect when things go wrong for a football team. The Chip Kelly who went for a two-point conversion against Kansas City last week chose to punt the ball in Broncos territory late in the first half Sunday.
“I just didn’t want to give them that field position if we didn’t get it,” Kelly said. I thought we could pin them and make them go the distance.”
Kelly didn’t want to try a long field goal. Kicker Alex Henery later missed a shorter attempt, from 46 yards. He didn’t go for the first down because Peyton Manning was just too dangerous.
Earlier in the half, the Eagles scored a touchdown to make the score 14-12. Kelly kicked the extra point instead of going for two and the tie.
The bottom line is Kelly didn’t have confidence in his offense to pick up six yards, in his special teams to make a long field goal or in his defense to stop the Broncos.
2. The Eagles allowed two special teams touchdowns. Trindon Holliday broke a 105-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, when the game was still a contest. Steven Johnson blocked a punt, scooped it up and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown in the fourth, helping to make the game a joke.
Kelly had few answers immediately after the game and special teams coach Dave Fipp left without talking to reporters.
“I didn’t see the film,” Kelly said of the kick return. “I know there was a pretty big hole. I know [Johnson] came through the A gap, but I don’t what the call was up front.”
3. Kelly said last week he didn’t think the altitude would have an effect on his team. He was incorrect.
Running back LeSean McCoy said he “couldn’t breathe” during the first half. He had to leave the game for long stretches. Tight end Brent Celek said the thin air made it tough for him, as well.
“It’s not an excuse,” Celek said. “They had to play in the same conditions.”
Except, of course, the Broncos live here and are acclimated to the thinner air.