Eagles' loss to Chiefs brings a reality check

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Coach Chip Kelly walks the sideline during the Eagles' game against the Chiefs.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Coach Chip Kelly walks the sideline during the Eagles' game against the Chiefs.
Posted: September 23, 2013

I ADMIT IT - I drank the Chip Kelly Kool Aid. After the Redskins game, I allowed myself to daydream about February in the Meadowlands and the Birds beating the Broncos, 48-42, to win the Super Bowl. Even after our loss to the Chargers, I thought that was just a bump in the road.

Well it's 2 in the morning and I just got home from doing "Post Game Live" on Comcast SportsNet after the Eagles' awful loss to the Chiefs on Thursday night, and as I write this, I am filled with despair. Not because it's pretty evident that we won't be going to the Super Bowl - deep down, I never really believed we would - but because I'm not even sure we can stay competitive and contend for a playoff berth. I really wanted us to be playing meaningful games in December.

Why this radical shift in my belief? Because I just watched a game in which we basically stunk and exposed significant problems that might be incurable. Where to begin? Let's start with the few good things that happened:

* Eagles fans and the organization in general did great. We gave former coach Andy Reid the heartfelt ovation he deserved and did the same for former quarterback Donovan McNabb. It showed gratitude and class, and there was nary a boo! Jeff Lurie did it right in honoring both men, and it was a stroke of genius to have Brian Dawkins bring on Donovan. Even the true haters wouldn't boo with the beloved B-Dawk running the show.

* The defense had its best game and looked as if it might not be as easy to pick apart as the Chargers game seemed to indicate. Early in the game and at several crucial junctures, the defense kept us in the game and within striking distance.

* Vinny Curry was finally activated and looked capable of putting real pressure on the quarterback, something that was severely lacking in the first two games.

* Shady McCoy continues to play like the best running back in the NFL, and he showed tremendous heart shaking off his ankle injury and gutting it out in the second half.

Now for the bad, and though I'm tempted to say "everything else" (such as the ref who said "everyone but the center" when calling an offsides penalty on the Birds), let me list a few of the biggest concerns:

* The offensive line, a unit which was once proclaimed to be one of the best in the NFL, has looked very shaky at times. Todd Herremans has had three subpar games in a row, and Lane Johnson is beginning to look more like a green rookie than a solid pro.

* Though we thought that the design of the Chip Kelly offense could minimize some of our offensive personnel deficiencies, it is becoming clear that the loss of Jeremy Maclin was a crushing one. Without him, we have no other deep threat than DeSean Jackson, and defenses will be mimicking the Chiefs and ganging up on him to prevent him from running wild as he did against Washington and San Diego.

* We reverted back to last year's turnover machine. You cannot win in the NFL making five turnovers. The Chiefs are 3-0 mainly because they haven't turned the ball over once.

* Chip Kelly is human! After Game 1, we didn't think so, but his clock management against the Chargers and his decision to go for two points down, 10-6, against the Chiefs make that abundantly clear. Not knowing he could have called a timeout to get the briefly injured Michael Vick back in the game without missing a play was a horrible mistake that might have cost us the Chargers game. To Chip's credit, he admitted it.

So as I conclude this column I am very tired and very, very down. I am petrified about what looks like an almost certain loss to Denver next week and the scary reality of heading into New York 1-3 needing a win to stay alive. But things will look brighter in the morning. I'll get a little sleep, and when I wake up, I'll remember that the NFC East is so weak that 7-9 might just win it. And I'll think back to 2010, when the Seahawks did just that in winning their division with a 7-9 record and upsetting the mighty Saints (11-5) in the first round of the playoffs. All we fans can do for now is keep rooting hard against our NFC East foes, and take it one game at a time. This isn't the NCAA, in which one or two losses knock you out of the title race, this is the NFL Chip, and anything can happen.


Email: asktheguv@gmail.com

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