Eagles Look To Erase Memory From Denver Debacle
By Frank Irving
Although the Philadelphia Eagles have "put the game to bed" and moved on, as head coach Chip Kelly insisted in the aftermath of a 32-point defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos in Week 4, the loss offered opportunities for reflection in key areas.
One of the most obvious indicators of the sprawling gap between the two teams — one a championship contender and the other struggling to be competitive at the moment — was Denver's five-for-five conversion rate in the red zone, compared to Philadelphia's two-for-five performance.
Kelly explained the Eagles' need for improvement during his weekly press conference: "We’re in the red zone and drop the ball and then potentially in the red zone once and get a penalty, and in the red zone [another time] and get a penalty. When you set yourself back and now you’re playing first-and-20s or second-and-20s, that makes it a little more difficult. When we’re in the red zone we talk about no sacks, no turnovers, no penalties and no drops, and those are the things that are hurting us. Right now, it’s been the penalties and it’s been the drops.”
Lack of execution also burned the Eagles on special teams, which allowed a 105-yard kick return touchdown and a blocked punt return for a score. The Birds missed assignments on things practiced on a daily basis, Kelly said. "It's base fundamental protection and base fundamental coverage that we didn't get done on those two particular plays."
Compounding the frustration, Philadelphia's defensive unit could not get off the field for long stretches, allowing Denver QB Peyton Manning to complete 15-of-16 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter alone.
When all was said and done, the Eagles had become the first NFL team in 2013 to allow an opponent to ring up more than 50 points.
Kelly will have to hold faith that his team can begin to correct its faults in at least some areas. Philadelphia's next chance for redemption will come Oct. 6 at MetLife Stadium against the winless New York Giants.