Birds cut back on blitzes

Nate Allen takes down Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith during the first quarter.
Nate Allen takes down Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith during the first quarter. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 21, 2013

Some observations and ruminations about Thursday night's Eagles-Chiefs game:

A week after his blitzes were picked apart by Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis dialed back his pass rush.

He still drew up a few packages that had corners and safeties blitzing off the edge, but linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks didn't blitz as much up the "A" gap, on either side of the center.

It worked splendidly in the first half as Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had nowhere to throw or at least was reluctant to pull the trigger. Davis rushed only three sometimes, dropping eight, and Smith was forced to run for little gain.

- Jeff McLane

Cramps his style

The Philadelphia fans were frustrated by what they perceived as a fake injury by the Chiefs during a fast-paced drive in the third quarter.

The Eagles drove 63 yards on four plays and appeared in a rhythm. After Michael Vick completed a 13-yard pass to Riley Cooper, Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith started holding his leg even without contact.

Trainers evaluated him, and Smith walked off the field on his own power. Fans booed, thinking Smith was faking.

The video boards on Lincoln Financial Field showed the play in slow motion. Smith didn't return to the game during the drive. The official injury report was cramps.

- Zach Berman

Center is no snap

The Jets had the butt fumble. The Eagles now have the thigh fumble. Center Jason Kelce snapped the ball errantly off guard Todd Herreman's left thigh in the first half.

It looked as if he thought that quarterback Michael Vick was under center and not in the shotgun, but Kelce did have an injured hand.

The Eagles center injured it against San Diego and wore a brace for part of the short workweek. Later, a Kelce snap sailed through Vick's hands in the shotgun.

- J.M.

Targeting Cooper

With significant defensive attention on DeSean Jackson, Vick looked Riley Cooper's way often in the first half.

Cooper did not catch any of the five targets, though. Two of the passes hit Cooper in the hands. Another one was intercepted.

Cooper ascended to the No. 2 wide receiver after Jeremy Maclin's injury on the second day of training camp. He was a solid contributor through the first two games, but the Eagles need Cooper to be productive as a receiver, especially if Jackson receives as much attention as the Chiefs paid to him Thursday.

- Z.B.

Short and sweet

Kansas City combated the Eagles' umbrella coverage by throwing short passes underneath and forcing defenders to come up and make tackles.

The Eagles are not a strong tackling team, obviously, but especially in the open field.

Cornerback Brandon Boykin has speed, as does Kendricks, but safeties Patrick Chung and Earl Wolff and cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams kept struggling to get off blocks.

- J.M.

Settling for six

After the Eagles' first touchdown, they attempted a two-point conversion. But it was not out of a traditional formation.

Jon Dorenbos snapped the ball with no one around him. Kicker Alex Henery and holder Donnie Jones lined up in the shotgun - not in kicking position.

Five linemen crouched wide to the left, with tight end Zach Ertz behind them. Two more players were stacked wide to the right.

Dorenbos snapped the ball directly to Ertz, who was tackled short of the end zone. It was a creative play but a failed attempt.

- Z.B.


Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow

on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

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