In Week 4, the Eagles disembarked at Denver International Airport and were lead to Mile High Stadium like the proverbial lambs to the slaughter.
Only the most optimistic Philadelphia fans thought this would be anything other than a rout. But it was uglier than even the most pessimistic of them could have expected.
The only chance the Eagles had was to play an almost-perfect game, which would allow them to match the Broncos’ scoring, and at least keep them within sight.
The Eagles instead did everything wrong, and their vaunted offense, it turns out, is nothing special.
Every fan had to have expected this game would be a loss when the schedule came out, but there are ways to lose while still progressing. The Eagles showed none of them Sunday.
The defense was a disgrace, allowing the Broncos to set a franchise record for points scored, as Peyton Manning effortlessly marched them up and down the field.
At one point, the Broncos scored 38 straight, thanks in part to an Eagles special teams unit that allowed two touchdowns: one on a 105-yard kickoff return and another on a blocked punt.
The defense is a mess and will be all season; however, the “revolutionary” hurry-up system fans saw Week One in Washington seems to either have been abandoned by the Eagles or stymied by opponents. For the third straight game, the Eagles’ opponents ran more plays than the Eagles did.
Chip Kelly is supposed to be an offensive genius, but something has gone horribly wrong. The unit that was supposed to the team’s strength is punchless.
In the 2012 season, the offense piled up yards that didn’t translate into points. Little has changed this season. On Sunday, the Eagles had 450 yards, just 22 fewer than the Broncos, but only scored 20 points.
(As the problems mounted, for good measure, Lane Johnson again looked incapable of pass-blocking without drawing a flag and Alex Henery continued his nightmarish season with another missed field goal attempt.)
Vick is the one constant in the “yard parade” that doesn’t yield enough points. For all his mobility, he frequently gets himself hemmed in a pocket out of which he is too short to see. He holds the ball for interminable amounts of time while trying to find a receiver.
At this point, it should be clear to all that Vick is not going to be successful in this offense. If it seemed foolish to think his career could be rejuvenated at this point, it seems ludicrous now.
Kelly will probably give him another shot next week against the Giants, but it may be pointless; backup Nick Foles may or may not be a better fit.
One cannot put too much stock into Foles' mop-up duty performance Sunday, but the offense did look crisp under his direction. Foles does not have the “happy feet” in the pocket that Vick does, and he gets rid of the ball quickly.
He is a decade younger than Vick, however, and if a meaningful change can jumpstart this team—short of benching the entire defensive unit—it could come from the quarterback position.
But that’s a decision for the head coach to make.
Kelly will not and should not be on the hot seat at any time this season. He has to have time to learn, and he is saddled with a horrendous defense with which he has had little to do aside from hiring Billy Davis to run it.
However, Kelly does seem like he is in over his head right now. Eagles fans have to hope his considerable intellect will process all the new things he is dealing with and learn from them.
All Eagles fans agreed it was time for a new head coach after the 2012 season; many thought Kelly was the right choice. He is undoubtedly intelligent and relentlessly driven. It is in times like these that a coach proves his mettle.
Chip, time’s yours.