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Blame Chip Kelly's Play Calls

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Proof those two goal-line play calls were destined for failure

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Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

In Sunday's game against the 49ers, immediately following the two-minute warning, the Eagles faced 3rd- and 4th-and-Goal from inside the 2-yard line.

Chip Kelly called two passing plays and the Eagles failed to score the go-ahead touchdown. Both plays looked doomed from the snap and fans on Twitter were not happy about the play calls.

Play Call SF 1 2

What a terrible call! No chance a play that has Foles drop back to the 13-yard line works from the 2!

Play call OAK 1 2

Huh, OK. The 4th down call is inexcusable though. Foles isn't a threat to run the ball!

Play Call SF 2

But...

Play Call OAK 2

Both those plays sure worked great last year on the other side of the bay.

Now, you can argue the Eagles' past success with these plays made the plays predictable (update: a sentiment expressed in postgame comments by 49ers safety Antoine Bethea), and you can argue Foles was extra slow yesterday. But would you rather have seen the Eagles run something that hadn't worked before?

Perhaps they should have run the ball. Studies on two-point conversion attempts -- basically exactly what both of yesterday's plays were -- show that run plays tend to score at a higher rate than pass plays. But the Eagles' ground game (1.8 YPC Sunday) was even more inept than their passing game. Two interior linemen were making their first NFL starts. Only Jason Peters was in his natural position, and even Peters briefly left the game at one point with an injury.

And while a run play on 3rd down would have at least left the 49ers with less time to strike back (provided the Eagles scored on the following 4th down), the Eagles actually earned an additional possession after these plays failed precisely because of how much time they left on the clock. Then again, the fact that it worked out that way shouldn't completely color our evaluation of the decision to pass. I still think you can make a strong argument these plays should have been runs.

But ultimately, play calls are smart when they work, and terrible when they don't.

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