LESEAN McCOY COMES UP BIG FOR BIRDS
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
LANDOVER, Md.—If folks were concerned about whether Chip Kelly’s hurry-up would actually translate at the NFL level, Monday Night’s game against the Washington Redskins was an emphatic yes.
For Kelly, it wasn’t as lightning fast as it was at Oregon, but it was effective nonetheless.
The Eagles no-huddle, read-option offense kept the Redskins defense tired and off- balance while keeping the Washington offense off the field. The Birds offense rolled up 443 yards of total offense and came away with a 33-27 win in front of a packed house at FedEx Field.
“I think our guys played with great energy, but we made some mistakes—coaches included,” Kelly said. “I think the way they approached the game and the energy they played with was great.”
Running back LeSean McCoy was the beneficiary of Kelly’s uptempo attack. He gained 184 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. As a team, the Eagles rushed for 263 yards.
“LeSean is going to have a great year,” Vick said. “I just feel like this is going to be on one of the biggest years of his career. As long as he’s apart of this Eagles team and Chip Kelly’s here, he’s going to do some dynamic thing.”
A rejuvenated Michael Vick came up huge, completing 15-of-25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Vick gained 54 yards rushing on nine carries with one touchdown. He had one big run 36 yards to help take some time off the clock.
“I thought he did a nice job and that run he had in the fourth quarter was huge for us,” Kelly said. “We were in a little bit of a lull, but he made a big play for us and got us out of that.”
Until late in the third quarter, the Eagles defense kept a rusty Robert Griffin III and the Redskins in check. They forced three turnovers-two interceptions and a fumble. The Eagles sacked Griffin three times.
One of the big stars tonight for the Eagles was much-maligned cornerback Cary Williams. Known for his fiery temper, Williams channeled the anger into a sack, two tackles, an interception and two passes defended including one on fourth down late in the fourth quarter that ended a Redskins drive.
“I feel like every time I step out on the field, regardless of what happened in the past, I try to come out with something to prove. I want to go out and put my best foot forward, Williams said.
Oddly enough, the game started with an Eagles shortcoming from last season-a turnover in the red zone. On their first possession of the game, the Eagles drove from their own 20 to the Washington four-yard line. But on first and goal, Vick’s pass was batted down by Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
The officials ruled the pass a lateral and the ball was picked up by cornerback DeAngelo Hall for a 75-yard return for a touchdown. The Eagles challenged the fumble but it was upheld by replay.
After the fumble, the Eagles scored 33 unanswered points. They got a 48-yard field goal on the next possession from Alex Henery. And then took the lead for good on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Vick to DeSean Jackson. The play was setup by an interception of a Robert Griffin III pass by Brandon Boykin.
“Mike did a great job of holding the ball and seeing it open up and he threw it to a spot where just myself could make the catch,” Jackson said.
On the Redskins next possession, running back Albert Morris mishandled a pitch out from Griffin and was tagged for a safety by Trent Cole. That gave the Eagles a 12-7 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Eagles, using their fast-paced, no-huddle offense, moved 62 yards and five plays to a 28-yard touchdown from Vick to tight end Brent Celek.
On their next possession, the Eagles drove through a visibly tired Washington defense 44 yards and nine plays to Vick’s three-yard run for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 26-7 lead at the break.
The Birds went into the locker room at halftime having run 53 plays– more than the Pittsburgh Steelers had for an entire game and dominated the time of possession. The Eagles offense rolled up 322 yards of total offense including 115 yards by McCoy against a tired Redskins defense.
“They were tiring out falling on the ground, getting cramps, they were running guys in and out,” said left tackle Jason Peters. “Hands on their hips. They were tired. We were definitely in better shape.”
The Eagles defense opened the second half with a Williams’ interception of Griffin. After a loss by Vick on first down, McCoy ran through the Redskins defense for a 34- yard run to give the Eagles a seemingly insurmountable 33-7 lead in the third quarter.
Griffin rallied the Redskins to score 20 unanswered points including a 24-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to Leonard Hankerson with 1:15 left in the game. After a slow start, Griffin passed for 329 on 30-of-49 passing with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.