I woke up this morning still short of breath and my head still spinning from whatever it was that happened on that field on Monday Night Football. One thing’s clear though. I’m absolutely in love with it.
Any sane Philadelphia fan—such a thing does exist—knows not to get too far ahead of one’s self, especially after just the first week of a brand new season, but that first half of football (can we still call it that?) was one of the most entertaining, high-octane, breathtaking (just ask the ‘Skins defenders) halves of football I’ve ever experienced. I don’t care that the cat is out of the bag and on the hard drives of every other coach in the league as they scramble to gameplan, Chip Kelly’s offense has me salivating for more.
His offense ran 19 plays and gained 121 yards in the first 5 minutes of the game. His offense had 53 plays (same total the Pittsburgh Steelers ran in 4 quarters on Sunday) and 312 yards by halftime. His offense—wait for this one Philly—ran the ball 49 times and threw 25 times. His offense even threw this formation out there and dared Washington to try and figure out how to defend it.
(Just look at the confusion. Pure madness, and awesomeness all rolled into one.) Most importantly, though, his offense is Philadelphia’s offense, and for the first time in nearly half a decade, I, we, Eagles fans everywhere have something to be excited about on Sundays in the fall and winter.
Who knew that a roster with so much talent could actually go out and dominate a defense as “vaunted” as Washington’s? Andy Reid sure as hell didn’t.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank Big Red, though, because if it weren’t for his misuse of all that talent which led to his being oh so fired last season, Chip Kelly wouldn’t be in Philadelphia. If it wasn’t for you, Andy, Chip Kelly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hand the ball off to LeSean McCoy more times in a game than anyone before him, which let Shady get within a yard of breaking his career high for rushing in a single game. If it wasn’t for you Kelly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to let Michael Vick be Michael Vick. Did you know the best way to keep No. 7 healthy (aside from handing the ball off 49 times) is by designing quick routes to get the ball out of his hands before the pass rush has the chance to touch him? Chip Kelly sure does. So, thank you, Andy. We owe you.
Then there’s the defense. Sure they got sloppy towards the end of the game when things were already well under control (more on that in a moment), but look at how the ‘Skins first half possessions went: Fumble, INT, safety, punt, punt, punt, end of half. They added another INT and a missed field goal to start the second half. They didn’t allow a point until there were six seconds left in the third and by that point Washington was flat lining:
We’re talking about a team that managed just 13 turnovers all of last season, a team that had no clue how to tackle properly, and a team that was running come gimmicky Wide-9 defense that left glaring holes where teams could lightly jog and still pick up 15 yards per run. This is not your same old 2011-12 Eagles defense with overpaid cornerbacks who get burned more times then they actually defend passes. This is a defense that’s not afraid to blitz on every daggone play. This is a defense (minus Patrick Chung currently) who knows how to play up on their man and break a pass play up without interfering. This is a defense that can make a freaking stand. Oh, and this is the defense that made ESPN’s anointed QB of the future to 5-for-11 for 53 yards and a pick in the first half—a 22.2 QB rating.
Again, this was just one game, and teams are going to have more than just Oregon video from here on out as they prepare for the Birds, but compared to how I was feeling in the hours leading up to the game…
…now I couldn’t be more ready for the rest of this season.