At least Chip Kelly admitted that he was out-coached Sunday.
The Eagles scored two first half touchdowns, fueled by Josh Huff (39 yard catch-and-run, 39 yard kickoff return) and DeMarco Murray (three 10+ yard runs). Then they went away from these players and the offense fizzled. Huff ended the game with only 17 offensive snaps (of the team’s 71) and not a single target after his touchdown. Murray had 30 snaps (42%), but only 13 carries (for 64 yards, 4.9 YPC).
The lack of runs was puzzling. [Editor’s note: Mark is new here and clearly wasn’t around for the Andy Reid Era. Welcome to Philadelphia, Mark.] Chip’s system does best with a rough balance between run and pass, something like 45% – 55%, and they averaged 4.9 yards per carry on Sunday (including 11 on a beautiful read-option keeper by Sanchez). Yet they ran on only 28 plays and passed 41 times, completing just 26 with three sacks and three back-breaking interceptions.
In Murray’s case, he fumbled twice, which may be one reason he didn’t get more touches. (The Birds kept the ball both times, as the first was re-fumbled by the Bucs and the second ruled down by contact.) That doesn’t explain why Kenjon Barner, who played well, only got one snap before garbage time and Sproles saw little action even after scoring a touchdown. Sanchez couldn’t deliver even screens to Sproles through the air. So run it.
Of course conventional wisdom says to pass more when you fall behind. But that’s not the way Chip’s system works. It’s built on big runs at tempo speed, especially as you wear down your opponent. Oregon scored (and still scores) at record levels running, by breaking 10, 20 and 40 yards plays. And those runs open up the passing game.
The passes Sunday were short, too– only a yard and a half longer than the runs (at 6.4 YPC). If your goal is to come back quickly, that’s not the kind of passes that will do it. And Sanchez was pretty wild with his throws. He overthrew Celek and Ertz on consecutive plays to kill one first quarter drive, and missed at least half a dozen screens or simple throws to the flat.
Even assuming the need to pass, it makes no sense that the team went away from Huff on a day they sorely needed play makers. He was clearly in a rhythm. On his touchdown, he caught a simple slant six yards past the line of scrimmage and made six defenders miss as he cut all the way across the field, running with vision and decisiveness. But that was his only target of the game.
At his press conference yesterday, Chip Kelly seemed a bit puzzled himself: Continue Reading