Monday night was the time we finally had the chance to see Chip Kelly's (real) NFL debut. It was glorious.
The Eagles first drive looked seamless. First play: a Michael Vick throw to Riley Cooper on the left side of the field for a 6 yard gain. They moved the ball the field effortlessly into the redzone. Then... well, the 2012 Eagles showed up. A redzone turnover. It originally looked like Michael Vick threw a backward pass that Ryan Kerrigan batted down, which would have been a fumble. The Redskins picked it up and ran it in for a score. The play was automatically reviewed (all turnovers are reviewed now) and the refs ruled that the call stands. Bad call. I don't see how that ball wasn't going forward. 7-0, Redskins.
Here's a picture for proof:
Sorry, that's not backwards. Unless Vick is throwing a banana ball. pic.twitter.com/c6eDJ1QObG— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) September 9, 2013
The Eagles got the ball back and moved the ball down the field yet again, but couldn't convert a first due to a couple drops from Zach Ertz. Alex Henery kicks the field goal. 7-3, Redskins.
The Redskins returned the favor of turning the ball over on their first play. Second year RB Alfred Morris coughed up the ball thanks to a forced fumble from Trent Cole. Mychal Kendricks recovered and the Eagles were in good field position. Vick hit DeSean Jackson over the middle of the field in the endzone for a 25 yard TD. The Eagles first TD of the year! 10-7, Eagles.
The Redskins got the ball back and turned it over AGAIN. This time it was a Brandon Boykin interception! Boykin had a great training camp and preseason. The only problem was that he was dropping interceptions instead of hanging on, which meant 50 pushups for each time that happen. No more pushups for Boykin this time!
A couple drives later... safety! Donnie Jones did a great job of pinning the Eagles deep inside their territory, and the Eagles capitalized on a Redskins mistake. Trent Cole downed Morris in the endzone for a 2 point safety. 12-7, Eagles.
Robert Griffin III did not look very sharp to this point, and maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. He did miss the entire off-season. Credit the Eagles defense too, though. Forcing turnovers is going to be critical to their success.
LT Jason Peters left the game early in the second quarter (hand). He returned after being worked on by the trainers.
Trent Cole looked like an absolute force on defense. 2012 Trent Cole seemed like a shell of his former self, but that wasn't the case Monday night.
DeSean Jackson was tackled out of bounds by DeAngelo Hall with a horsecollar tackle which is a no-no. 15 yard penalty. Jackson was understandably angry after the play and shoved Hall, but wasn't penalized. The two continued to be scrappy with each other. The Eagles answered with a Brent Celek 28 yard touchdown! Eagles, 19, Redskins 7.
These were the stats at this point in the game, h/t Jimmy Kempski. GEEZ.
A shank by Sav Rocca gave the Eagles good field position and they capitalized. A Michael Vick run for a TD increased the Eagles lead. I have to say, it's nice to see a team that looks competent at converting touchdowns in the redzone. 26-7, Eagles.
At this point, the Eagles had run 53 plays. The Redskins only had 47 YARDS. Offensive insanity. They also ran this fun formation with the OL split out wide.
ANOTHER Redskins turnover. RG3 throws a pick to... oh, hey, Cary Williams! #TeamSconce!
That set up a Shady McCoy 34 yard TD run, and I can hardly breathe at this point. 33-7, Eagles.
The Redskins put together a long drive that ran time off the clock and ended in a missed field goal. Chip Kelly laughed at the idea of the "winning the time of possession battle" for a reason.
Another drive for the Redskins resulted in a TD for them this time. A 5 yard Morris TD capped off a 66 yard Washington drive. 33-14, Eagles.
Oh no, Eagles turnover! Avant fumbles early in the fourth quarter to give the Redskins the ball back in good field position. Not good.
The Redskins worked the Eagles defense for a TD, Griffin to Hankerson for a TD. The Skins went for 2 but failed the conversion. 33-20, Eagles.
At this point, it felt like the Eagles control of the game was slipping away along with their lead.
The Eagles got a huge stop thanks to a Cary Williams deflection on a Redskins 4th and 15 conversion attempt.
The Redskins didn't give up. Another Hankerson TD made it a 6 point game. 33-27, Eagles.
An onside kick was recovered by Jason Avant to seal the game.
That first half was simply incredible. Then the Eagles slowed down in the second half, but still held on.
The offense looked amazing at times. Chip Kelly's influence was felt as Shady, DeSean Jackson, and Michael Vick really flashed their talents. McCoy had a career high in carries.
On the defense: it took 45 minutes for the Redskins to get their first offensive points! Think about that! It was obvious the offense was primed to be good... but the defense looking that good is something no one saw coming. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the defense in the second half looked like the one that people expected to see.
Trent Cole played really well and proved his doubters wrong. Some said he was done. Others said he couldn't play in the 3-4. Well tonight he looked great. Forced fumble, safety, constant pressure, run defense, you name it. Trent looked like the beast he used to be.
Mychal Kendricks looked improved in his second year. He made tackles and looked good in coverage. Cary Williams (!) had an interception and a sack and a clutch pass deflection in the fourth quarter. What he does off the field doesn't matter so much if he plays well.
Oh, and special teams. Donnie Jones was a great pickup. He had a number of effective punts in terms of both distance and field positioning. ST coverage was also stellar.
The Eagles still have work to do before they can be called a legitimate title contender, but there's no doubt they can be a fun time this year. In a seemingly weak NFC East, it's not crazy to say they have a shot at the division title.
Nothing major, but Vick, Williams, Fletcher, Peters, and Boykin were banged up at times.