Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly faced a lot of scrutiny the past two weeks. Not only did his offense fail to score a touchdown, but it couldn't even move the ball into field goal range. The Eagles scored a combined 3 non-defensive points versus the Cowboys and Giants. The story was that "College Boy" Chip Kelly had been exposed as a fraud.
Fast forward to week 9. The Eagles put up 49 points with ease, and really could have scored more if Kelly didn't pull the offense early in the fourth quarter when the team was up by over 30 points. Nick Foles threw for seven touchdowns. DeSean Jackson finished with 5 receptions for 150 yards, 1 TD and his WR counterpart Riley Cooper ended up with 5 for 139 yards, 3 TD. The duo of LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown rushed for 98 yards on 19 attempts, good for just over 5 yards per carry. Brown's 32 yard run was the longest run that a very stout Raiders defense had allowed all year. 5 different players scored at least one touchdown. It was an overall offensively brilliant performance.
It wasn't just one guy carrying the team, although Nick Foles does deserve a ton of credit for how well he played. But for as well as Foles played, it's hard not to give credit to the man who orchestrated this kind of offensive obliteration: Chip Kelly.
#Eagles 4th in TOT OFFENSE, 5th in SCORING, 2nd RUSHING. McCoy leads NFL in rushing. DeSean 2nd in receiving. Foles 13 TD, 0 INT. #Gimmick?— Tony Granieri (@TheSpottersView) November 4, 2013
The Eagles offense played really well and it's wasn't because Kelly has a magic bag of tricks. It wasn't because Kelly's offense is a "gimmick" that has been "figured out". It's because the Eagles overcame the biggest problem that plagued their offense the past two weeks: a lack of execution, especially from the QB position.
The Eagles executed better because they had a quarterback who went out there and made the throws he needed to make. Sounds simple, but that's what it boils down to: fundamental football. The Eagles offense didn't struggle against Dallas and New York because those teams found a way to entirely shut it down. A closer review of the All-22 film confirms receivers were getting open, but the man responsible for getting the ball there wasn't getting the job done.
So when someone like Phil Simms calls the Eagles a "bottom five offense", or Warren Sapp predicts the Eagles to not even score a TD against the Raiders, or when Merrill Hoge deems Kelly's offense "vanilla", feel free to laugh, because Chip Kelly is pretty darn good at his job. Sunday was a perfect example.
Before getting carried away, remember to keep things in perspective. This team, to an extent, is still a work in progress. Every week won't be as successful as this one. Having patience with Kelly is crucial as he works to transform this roster into his ideal mold. But for now, it's more than OK to revel in the potential this Eagles franchise has with Chip Kelly at the reigns. Performances like the Eagles win over the Raiders make you think there's just something special here.
The Philadelphia Eagles still have a long road to travel, but it's not hard not to like the direction in which they are moving.