Chip Kelly’s offense opened with a bang as the Eagles busted open a huge lead in the first half. A rusty Robert Griffin III came to life in the second half, leading his Redskins back into the game, but the comeback was too little, too late for Washington.
The Eagles are a completely different team than they were last year. Their wide open offense, team speed, and breakneck tempo were too much for the Redskins to handle. On the first drive of the game, the Redskins scooped up a Michael Vick lateral and ran it back for a score. The Eagles responded with 33 unanswered points behind brilliant running from LeSean McCoy. In the second half, the Eagles played more conservatively on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Eagles became increasingly run-heavy and predictable while Billy Davis called fewer blitzes defensively, exposing a porous secondary. Here are the individual notes:
- QB Michael Vick showed excellent accuracy and was able to operate the offense at a brisk pace. He made good decisions in the read option game and forced the Redskins to respect him as a runner. On the downside, he was often slow to recognize blitzes and took too many negative plays.
- RB LeSean McCoy was magical, and Chip Kelly used him to the max. He had 20 first half carries, and he could parlay his monster workload into ridiculous stats this season. He has elite quicks, but conditioning did appear to be an issue for him. He finished with 31 carries for 184 yards and a score.
- WR DeSean Jackson was the focal point of the passing offense. He was heavily involved in the screen game and snuck behind the defense for a touchdown. He lost his cool after DeAngelo Hall hit him out of bounds, but other than that, he seems to have turned a corner in the maturity department.
- TE Brent Celek found the end zone and played the biggest role of the team’s trio of tight ends. Zach Ertz dropped a pass early on and essentially disappeared from that point on.
- The offensive line paved huge holes in the running game all night long, but the right side of the line struggled to pick up blitzes. OT Lane Johnson and OG Todd Herremans don’t seem to have good chemistry, with Johnson over-setting in pass protection and Herremans failing to compensate. The Redskins consistently exploited that hole with B-gap blitzes.
- DEs Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton were excellent against the run, pushing Alfred Morris all the way to the sideline on many occasions. Cox was the only lineman who could chase Robert Griffin III around the pocket.
- OLB Trent Cole excelled against the run, showing discipline, strength, and surprising comfort in space in his new role as a 3-4 rush linebacker.
- None of the team’s outside linebackers provided consistent pass rush. Instead, the Eagles were able to pressure Griffin by dialing up inside blitzes.
- ILB Mychal Kendricks had an excellent game, showing sideline-to-sideline range against the run and surprising stoutness against Alfred Morris, who’s a very physical back.
- CB Cary Williams made a few nice plays in coverage including a clutch pass break-up and a spectacular diving interception. He was the team’s best defensive back.
- S Patrick Chung is the only starting-caliber safety on the team, but he was exposed in coverage, especially when he gave up a long touchdown in embarrassing fashion. He let Leonard Hankerson slip behind him in a prevent defense, allowing the Redskins to cut the lead to 6.
- P Donnie Jones did an awesome job of pinning the Redskins inside their own 20. He looks like one of the league’s top punters.
- K Alex Henery converted his lone field goal attempt, but Chip Kelly went for it on a fourth and one from the Washington 21. Henery may see a decrease in field goal attempts this year, which is bad news for his fantasy owners.
- The Eagles’ coverage units were rock solid all night and the hands team recovered a crucial onside kick. So far, Chip Kelly’s emphasis on special teams is paying off.
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