Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Observations from Week 2 Loss Against San Diego Chargers
Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy once again put up explosive numbers in what will be a difficult offense for opposing defenses to stop. But the defense couldn’t stop Philip Rivers, allowing 419 passing yards, three touchdown passes and 539 total offensive yards on a whopping 79 plays.
Losing this one still keeps the Eagles in a tie for first place within the NFC East, as the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins fell to 0-2. The Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs in just four days, a matchup against Andy Reid, the coach of the Eagles for 14 seasons before Chip Kelly.
Watching Sunday’s game film will reveal some serious flaws in the Eagles. The offense is explosive and high-powered, but Vick continues to take too many hits. The defensive line and outside linebackers put up virtually no pressure on Rivers, and the secondary was exploited all game. Here are five takeaways from the Eagles’ Week 2 loss at the hands of the Chargers.
Michael Vick Put Up Another Explosive Offensive Output
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Vick directed the Philadelphia Eagles to 30 points, leading a game-tying drive with under two minutes to play. He threw for a career-high 428 passing yards on 37 passes, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt. He threw two touchdowns, ran for one and played the whole game again without throwing an interception.
Vick’s 123.4 passer rating puts his season mark at 112.6 under Kelly. He has fumbled once in each game, but fortunately, Sunday’s fumble went out of bounds and had no effect on the game’s outcome.
As many yards as Vick did put up, he could have put up even more. He missed Jackson long three times, once leading him out of bounds and twice overthrowing him on deep ones. Finally, the duo did connect on a 61-yard score. Vick added 23 yards and a score running the football, giving him over 450 total yards of offense.
DeSean Jackson Is One of the Focal Points of Chip Kelly’s Offense
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Under Reid the past two seasons, Jackson has put up disappointing numbers each campaign. He’s failed to duplicate the Pro Bowl numbers he put up in 2009 or 2010, but he does have consecutive six-catch games for the first time in four seasons.
Jackson followed a seven-catch, 104-yard, one-touchdown stat line against the Washington Redskins by snagging a career-best nine passes for 193 yards and a 61-yard touchdown. Jackson constantly beat his man, cornerback Shareece Wright, on deep balls and conceivably could have scored four touchdowns had Vick hit him in stride on all his fly patterns.
It was Jackson’s unsportsmanlike penalty of 15 yards late in the game that cost the Eagles prominent field position. The Chargers capitalized on that, scoring twice in the final three minutes and 17 seconds en route to a narrow three-point win. But still, Jackson has now put up nearly 300 receiving yards and two touchdowns in two games, which puts him on an All-Pro pace.
The Eagles Didn’t Utilize LeSean McCoy Like They Should Have
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A week after running a career-high 31 times, McCoy was limited to just 11 carries and 16 total touches. It could be that Kelly felt throwing the ball would be a more efficient way to defeat the San Diego Chargers; after all, the Chargers collapsed a week ago in a Monday night matchup against the Houston Texans. And Vick did put up terrific numbers against the Chargers secondary.
But McCoy’s 11 carries rivaled that of his lowest single-game total. He did average nearly five yards per carry, so it wasn’t like he was ineffective. And he caught five passes for 114 yards, plus a ridiculous 70-yard catch-and-carry that set a new personal long for a single play.
That's two straight weeks of over 150 total offensive yards for McCoy.
The Secondary Was Exposed All Game
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Last week, Cary Williams was one of the standout players of the Philadelphia Eagles. He shadowed Pierre Garcon, holding the Washington Redskins’ No. 1 receiver to a single catch while recording a pass knockdown and a diving interception.
This game, Williams was flagged for not one, not two, but three pass interference penalties. With Bradley Fletcher sidelined due to a concussion, last year’s nickel cornerback, Brandon Boykin, turned in a phenomenal performance as a starter. But the safeties were dreadful, particularly Nate Allen, who looked completely lost for 60 minutes.
Considering he’s in his fourth year with the team, it’s time the Eagles look elsewhere for a starter at free safety. Patrick Chung is just an adequate strong safety, and he’s probably not a long-term solution. But Allen was totally exposed, and defensive coordinator Billy Davis may want to look into rookie Earl Wolff or even a free agent off the street.
After all, the San Diego Chargers were without their top receiver, Danario Alexander, and then their second receiver, Malcom Floyd. That left Eddie Royal as the go-to guy, and he torched the Eagles for three touchdown catches. Rivers seemed to have complete confidence in his passes, doing so without his top two receivers.
Cary Williams: “Philip Rivers seemed to know everything that we tried to throw at him. He was calling things out.”— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) September 15, 2013
James Casey and Damaris Johnson Didn’t Really Play at All
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In Week 1, James Casey was limited to just two kneel-down snaps at the end of the game. Damaris Johnson saw just one snap himself. That’s a total of three snaps for two players expected to be an integral part of the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2013, especially with Jeremy Maclin lost for the season.
Not much changed in Week 2.
Official snap counts haven’t yet been released, but stats do show Casey was targeted once for no receptions. Johnson was not targeted at all.
That’s shocking. Kelly has leaned primarily on Vick, McCoy and Jackson with veterans Jason Avant and Brent Celek playing a majority of snaps as well. Riley Cooper has taken all the snaps one would expect to be split between Johnson and even Jeff Maehl.
The emergence of Zach Ertz Sunday pushes Johnson and Casey even further down the receiving depth chart. Kelly may have simply felt neither was his best bet in beating the Washington Redskins or San Diego Chargers. But if he wanted to utilize either, it’s likely they would be playing.