Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

Loss to Redskins Reflective of an Awful 2016 for Eagles

12 Dec
7l8f0547-copy

It’s been a tough year for Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews. Photo by Webster Riddick

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

With the playoffs obviously out of the picture for the Philadelphia Eagles (5-8), the only thing that diehard Birds fans can hope for is that the team can finish a respectable .500 and not have a second straight losing season.

Considering how this team has struggled, finishing at 8-8 is going to be a struggle for the Eagles because they face three playoff contenders to close out the season starting with Sunday’s road game against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Eagles may not win another game if those games are must-wins for those teams.   The Birds close out the season at Lincoln Financial Field against the New York Giants and the first-place Dallas Cowboys.

The Eagles 27-22 loss to the Washington Redskins was quite simply a microcosm of an entire season has gone wrong. The Birds certainly had their chances to win the game, but couldn’t get out of their own way with turnovers and penalties.

“Yes, those are the things that we talk about during the week,” said head coach Doug Pederson. “Again, I mentioned it to the team at the end in the locker room that if we figure out a way to eliminate those things, great things are going to happen to your team.”

Eventually, just not this year.

Throw in injuries at key spots and that’s your 2016 Eagles season in a nutshell. In this game, the Eagles lost long snapper Jon Dorenbos to a right wrist injury, which meant long-snapping duties were split between tight ends Brent Celek and Trey Burton. Right tackle Allen Barbre left the game with a left hamstring injury and right tackle Brandon Brooks was sidelined with an illness.

One of the most devastating blows to the Eagles was the loss of punt returner Darren Sproles who got hurt fielding a punt on a vicious hit by Washington defensive back Deshazor Everett, who drew unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and several members of the Eagles wanting to kick his ass. Sproles will likely undergo the concussion protocol.

With all the reshuffling on the offensive line, Matt Tobin, who normally plays guard, was moved to right tackle. It was his inability to block Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan that sealed Eagles fate. Kerrigan’s sack and forced fumble of quarterback Carson Wentz deep in Washington territory halted the Eagles comeback.

On offense, the Eagles outgained Washington but gave up two turnovers inside the red zone that might have made a difference.   On their second possession of the game, the Birds, who were leading 3-0,  had the ball at the Washington three-yard line only to have Wentz throw an interception in the end zone.  Wentz ‘s fumble after the sack by Kerrigan put the nail in the coffin.

The Eagles had another chance to put seven points on the board when Darren Sproles ran a punt back 72 yards for an apparent touchdown, but it was called back because Zach Ertz was flagged for an illegal block in the back.  With the other two turnovers, the Eagles blew a potential 21 points that could have tilted the game in their favor.

“Obviously, we’ve had a handful mistakes, little things here and there,” Wentz said after the game.  “And a lot of these losses, we’re just one play away, two plays away. … It’s kind of frustrating, but we have to learn from it.”

If there’s a silver-lining in this latest Eagles loss, the team did play with a lot of effort after they were criticized by Pederson earlier last week.  Just not enough to walk away with a win.

Unfortunately, these are the games you lose when you are a bad team. It’s always shoulda, woulda, I wish I coulda when you find yourself at the end of another loss.

One final note-One of the enduring symbols of the debacle that was the Chip Kelly era returned to bite the Eagles again. Redskins and former Birds wide receiver DeSean Jackson caught three passes for 102 yards including an 80-yard touchdown pass.

Strangely, enough Jackson wasn’t booed or jeered by fans. That’s because there’s a sentiment around Philly that they want D-Jax, who turns 30 next year, back when he becomes a free agent after this season. He’s definitely better than what they have now at the wide receiver position.

Jackson left open the possibility that he could be back.

“I don’t know man, shoot,” Jackson said. “We’ll see what happens. You never know how it’ll play out.”

Stay tuned.

 

Eagles Season on the Brink After Beating Themselves in Loss to Washington

21 Dec

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Mark Sanchez passed for 370 yards and two touchdowns, but tossed an interception that set up the game-winning field goal for Washington.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Mark Sanchez passed for 370 yards and two touchdowns, but tossed an interception that set up the game-winning field goal for Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

LANDOVER, Md.—It’s official. The Philadelphia Eagles season is officially on life support thanks to what only can be described as a bad loss to a Washington team that is going nowhere fast.

Kai Forbath’s 26-yard field goal with five seconds left put the Birds postseason hopes in dire straits and they’re going to need a lot of help and lots of luck.

If the Dallas Cowboys beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Eagles will be officially eliminated from the playoffs. They were officially eliminated from wild card consideration and can only win the NFC East to get to the postseason.

Dallas would have to lose their last two games and the Eagles would have to beat the New York Giants next week.

Three weeks ago, the Eagles were in the playoff driver’s seat and now they’ve lost three straight.

Given how the Birds 27-24 loss to Washington turned out, you could say that the Eagles don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Teams that make the postseason don’t make the kinds of mistakes the Birds made Saturday night—Two turnovers, two missed field goals and 13 penalties.

“You’re not going to win football game that way,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “We left them on the field too many on third down when we got penalties to extend drives. You felt like you had a stop. Thirteen penalties and two turnovers isn’t going to win you games in this league.”

There was a lot in the wreckage of this latest Eagles loss.

Let’s start with the quarterback position. With all due respect to Mark Sanchez, he is not the guy to lead your playoff push. He has 13 turnovers in seven games. Against Washington, the Birds back-up quarterback committed two turnovers—a fumble and possibly a season-killing interception late in the fourth quarter.

The miscues took away from what was a pretty good performance by Sanchez, who completed 37-of-50 passes for 374 yards and two touchdown passes to Riley Cooper. The Eagles rolled up 495 yards of offense. Tight end Zach Ertz had a team-record 15 receptions for 115 yards.

But with the game and the season on the line, Sanchez tossed a “Hail No,” instead of a Hail Mary to set up the game-winning field goal for Washington.

“It’s tough to swallow,” Sanchez said. “You want to get a win, especially with some of the outstanding performances we had. It’s really too bad when that happens and we lose.”

Now to say it was all Sanchez’s fault would be factually incorrect.

Somehow Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis didn’t remember the lesson of last Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys when wide receiver Dez Bryant torched cornerback Bradley Fletcher for three touchdowns: Give your cornerback safety help or at least have someone with him in double coverage.

The Birds “old friend” and former teammate DeSean Jackson had a field day and made Fletcher the “Toast” of D.C. He caught four passes for 126 yards including a pair of 50-yard plus passes that led to Washington touchdowns.

Fletcher was actually taken out of the game and replaced by Nolan Carroll at one point.

“(Fletcher) has had two bad weeks in a row. He was hoping to get out of that slump,” Davis said. “He didn’t. They went at him deep and they made the plays on him. I made the switch. … I think Fletch is a good corner, he’s lacking some confidence right now. They’ve been making some plays right on him, he’s in a slump.”

Oddly enough, the Eagles defensive coaches finally figured it out midway through the fourth  when Robert Griffin III went to the D-Jax well one more time on the deep bomb but safety Nate Allen backed up Fletcher and came away with the interception. By then it was too little, too late.

Another sure way to snatch defeat from what should have been the jaws of victory is to commit too many penalties. The Eagles committed 13 penalties for 102 yards.

Some of those penalties prolonged Washington drives on the defensive side of the ball including a roughing the passer penalty on defensive end Vinny Curry that moved Washington deep into the Eagles territory to set up the game-winning field goal.

“We just gotta play with more discipline. That’s what penalties are. That many, we just got to play with more discipline,” Davis said. “We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. You can’t beat yourself in the NFL.”

While there were a couple of questionable roughing the passer calls, there were some penalties had no business committing. Early in the first quarter, cornerback Cary Williams got flagged for shoving Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon. It was a stupid penalty that should have been a third down stop.

Then the unthinkable thing happened. The always reliable Cody Parkey missed a pair of easy field goals inside of 40 yards. It was that kind of day for the Eagles.

“That’s the part that sucks because we know how much work we put in,” said Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham. “For us to beat ourselves that’s the worst way to go out.”

Suffice it to say, the City of Brotherly Love will be Colts fans on Sunday.

Are the Eagles better off without DeSean Jackson? After three games…Yes

23 Sep

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Jeremy Maclin has been the big home run hitter among the Eagles receivers. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Jeremy Maclin has been the big home run hitter among the Eagles receivers. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—When the Eagles released DeSean Jackson last season, the big concern was could the Birds replace Jackson’s production (82 receptions, 1,332 yards, and nine TDs) and his ability to stretch the field?

So far, the Eagles are 3-0 and the passing game, even with the slow starts, really hasn’t missed a beat without the speedy Jackson, now playing for Washington. The Birds air game ranks second in the NFL.

To be honest, I don’t think the Eagles really miss Jackson as good as he was last season. Chip Kelly’s offense gives everybody a chance to contribute and has the defense having to pick their poison.

“It’s all by design in terms of how people decided to defend us and obviously they packed the front and tried to take away (LeSean) McCoy and (Washington) did real good job of that, hats off to them,” Kelly said. “But if you’re going to do that, then our wideouts have to step up and play and I thought all those guys really did a good job of that (Sunday).”

Quarterback Nick Foles is averaging 326 yards passing per game and has six touchdown passes. Three of those touchdowns have gone to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The former Missouri star leads the team in receptions (16), touchdowns (3) and yards per catch (18.5).

Though he’s not as fast as Jackson, Maclin is a more versatile wideout. He is catching passes running across the middle, on screen passes and on the deep ball. He has scored touchdowns in all three games. By the way, Maclin is no slowpoke and he does run 4.4 40-yard dash.

“Mac is doing a great job every time he’s out there,” Foles said.

In Sunday’s win over Washington, Maclin caught eight passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. He would have had two if not for an illegal block in the back by center Jason Kelce on a screen pass. Kelly said he’s not surprised by Maclin’s performance.

“He’s a big time receiver and that’s what we knew all along,” Kelly said. “We feel like we’re talented at the wide out spot.”

Eagles rookie Jordan Matthews had a big game against Washington last Sunday. The former Vanderbilt star caught two touchdown passes. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles rookie Jordan Matthews had a big game against Washington last Sunday. The former Vanderbilt star caught two touchdown passes. Photo by Webster Riddick.

And so far, Kelly is not wrong about the talent the Eagles have at the wide receiver position.

Rookie Jordan Matthews had a breakout performance against Washington. He caught eight passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came inside the red zone thanks to his tall 6-3 frame.

Having tall wide receivers like Matthews and Riley Cooper to maneuver the red zone is something the Birds haven’t had in quite some time.

For the first two weeks of the season, the game-breaker in the Eagles’ offense has been Darren Sproles. If it wasn’t for his explosive plays in both running game, the passing game and on special teams, the Birds might be 1-2 instead of 3-0.

Washington was well aware of both Sproles and LeSean McCoy managed to keep them under wraps. In fact, Washington’s defense forced a fumble from Sproles. The problem was they couldn’t stop the rest of the Eagles offense.

All of these things bring us back to Foles, who put on a gutsy performance against Washington. After surviving some tough starts, the former Arizona star has found a way to put the Eagles in the win column.

Foles’ best moment in the season thus far came in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over Washington. With 10:07 left in the game, Foles, who leads the NFL in passing yardage, threw a pass that was ruled an interception by Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland.

As Foles moved to forward to anticipate a run by Breeland, he took a hard hit from Washington defensive lineman Chris Baker and wound up on the ground writhing in pain. The hard block on Foles caused a huge melee along the sideline and resulted in the ejection of Baker and Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters.

Meanwhile, the interception was overturned and Foles recovered to lead the Eagles on an eight play, 76-yard drive that would culminate in a 27-yard touchdown pass to Maclin that put the Eagles ahead for good.

What makes Foles play even more remarkable is that he’s had to play behind a patchwork offensive line with injuries to Evan Mathis, Allen Barbre and Kelce to go along with the suspension of second-year starter Lane Johnson.

“I said it before about him and I knew it because when I played against him in college, he’s going to stand in there, he’s a tough sucker. He got hit a lot (Sunday),” Kelly said.

Jackson Signs with Washington, Eagles Have to Find his Replacement

3 Apr

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Former Eagles and now Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson apparently did not get along with Birds head coach Chip Kelly. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Former Eagles and now Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson apparently did not get along with Birds head coach Chip Kelly. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Eagles and the City of Brotherly Love have not seen the last of wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Five days after the Birds kicked Jackson to the curb, he signed a three-year, $24 million contract ($16 million guaranteed) with NFC East rival the Washington Redskins, making him part of an offense that already includes quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Pierre Garcon.

In a phone conference with the Washington media, Jackson avoided the subject of his departure from the Eagles and his relationship with head coach Chip Kelly.

But he disputed reports saying that his attitude was what got him released from the Eagles.

“People that know me, know what type of player I am, they respect me and know that I am a team guy,” Jackson said. “(Attitude) has never been a problem.”

The 5-foot-10 Jackson is coming off a career year with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. With his ability to stretch the field in the deep passing game, Jackson’s deep speed kept opposing safeties from closing the box, something that helped running back LeSean McCoy lead the NFL in rushing in 2013.

Getting released by the Eagles was the best thing for him after having the best year of his career, Jackson said.
“It was a humbling experience and me being at the peak of my career and doing some great thing …I’m very humbled to be released like that,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s ability to stretch defenses also enabled players like Riley Cooper, who recently signed a five-year deal, to have career years. Since 2008, Jackson has been one of the league’s most dangerous deep threats and 35 receptions of 40 yards or more. In six years with the Eagles, Jackson caught 356 passes for 6,117 yards and 32 touchdowns.

On his Instagram page, Jackson posted a picture of the ESPN report announcing the deal with Washington. The caption, in all capital letters, read: “ITS GOIN DOWN!!BURGUNDY AND GOLD.”

The Eagles parted ways with Jackson last Friday, but have yet to come up with an explanation for why they let him go. It has been widely speculated that Jackson’s relationships with alleged members of the Los Angeles street gang, “the Crips” played a part in his dismissal.

About an hour before the Eagles cut Jackson, NJ.com released a story that focused on the ties that Jackson reportedly has with L.A. gangs. Oddly enough, the Los Angeles Police Department said Jackson has never been involved in gang activity or connected to a crime.

Neither General manager Howie Roseman nor Kelly spoke to reporters after word got out that Jackson was cut, a move that has drawn criticism from fans. Much of the team’s African-Americans fan base and members of the local and national media felt the team leaked the story in an effort to justify releasing the wide receiver, who had been trying to get his contract restructured at the time.

The bottom-line here was that Kelly did not feel that Jackson was a part of the culture he wanted to create for the team and didn’t get along with the former Cal-Berkeley star. Perhaps if the team would have said as much it might have minimized some of the public acrimony.

Another thing bothering fans is that not only did the team not get anything for the speedy Jackson, he signed with NFC East rival Washington. If Griffin III is healthy, the combination of Jackson and Garcon will be a formidable challenge to the Eagles secondary.

Now that Jackson is gone, Eagles fans are focusing on next month’s draft and wondering if the team is going to pick up a wide receiver in the draft to replace Jackson’s contribution to the offense. The Birds have the 22nd pick in the draft. Because the draft features a deep class of wide receivers according to draft experts, the Eagles could find someone to pick up the slack left by Jackson’s departure.

But what if they don’t?

As much as I like Jeremy Maclin, I’m not convinced that he’s fully recovered from his knee injury and I’m not sure if Riley Cooper will find the open spots he found last season because there’s no one to fear now that Jackson’s gone. Quarterback Nick Foles needs to have a game-breaker at the receiver spot.

If the Eagles think they can get by with the wideouts they have on the roster now, they’re deluding themselves.

Unless they get someone in the draft that can equal Jackson’s production, it’s going to be a long year for Gang Green.

 

The Champ Is Here: Bailey Finally Gets to Enjoy Super Bowl Spotlight After 15 Years

31 Jan

 

 

Today’s Super Bowl XLVIII Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society 

PBPRS image

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

JERSEY CITY, NJ.—Most of the talk during the buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII has been about players and their lasting legacies in the game.

For a player like Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, it’s about solidifying an already outstanding legacy as one of the game’s great quarterbacks by taking two different teams to a Super Bowl win.

In the case of young players like Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman, it’s about establishing themselves and their team as one of best in the game in the here and now.

But let’s face some reality here, they’re a lot of great Hall of Famers who played in the NFL with distinction and have never come close to winning or even playing in a Super Bowl.

In the eyes of some football fans and observers in the age of sports talk radio and 24-hour cable sports networks a player not having that Super Bowl ring is that one thing that diminishes his greatness.

Considering that football is the ultimate team game, it’s a pretty silly notion.

“Championships define the greatness of teams. That’s the way it is,” said Tedy Bruschi, who won three Super Bowl rings as a linebacker with the New England Patriots. “I don’t need a Cris Carter to have a championship ring to know how great he is.”

The same could be said for the 15-year career of Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who will be playing in his first Super Bowl on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bailey has done it all as a cornerback in this league and has done it longer than some of the guys who are in the Hall of Fame now. He’s a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro selection, making the first-team three times. His career Pro Bowl selections are the most in NFL history by a defensive back.

Not many corners have lasted as long as Bailey and not been moved to safety. He is still playing the game and his position at a high level.

Going through a plethora of interviews during Super Bowl week, Bailey isn’t measuring his ring size or even thinking about what it would be like to win a championship. He’s more focused on trying to shut down Seattle’s passing game and helping his defense contain running back Marshawn Lynch.

“All I been thinking about is the things we got to clean up from yesterday,” said Bailey, who has 52 career interceptions. “We had a good practice. It’s never perfect. That’s really all I been thinking about. … I haven’t thought about what kind of ring or anything. I’m just worried about winning.”

Some of Bailey’s teammates, especially his colleagues in the Broncos secondary, want to win this game for him because he has been a leader and mentor to them. Safety Mike Adams, himself a 10-year veteran in the league, said the joy Bailey would experience, if Denver wins,  would be indescribable.

“I cannot imagine what he would be feeling because I know I would be feeling tears of joy and everything and I was in it for 10 years. [Bailey] has been in it for 15 years,” Adams said. “For him to get to this point and if he wins, that’s the ultimate. That’s what we play for.”

This season, Bailey played in just five regular-season games while playing through a foot injury that he suffered during the preseason. Though he was on the sideline, Bailey was coaching and advising his teammates during the course of games and in practice.

“He spent many games inactive, but he was always there,” said Denver head coach John Fox. “And in that defensive room, his guidance, his leadership was always there and that never wavered.”

While Bailey, who spent his first five years with the Washington Redskins, appreciates the encouragement of teammates, he said he’s just happy to be with a solid group of players, the best team he’s played on in his long career.

“I finally got with the right group of guys,” he said.

Bailey said whether his team wins on Sunday or not, he will not leave the game with any regrets.

“It’s been a journey to get here, but I don’t regret anything that’s happened in my career,” Bailey said. “I’m not worried about winning or losing right now. I’m just worried about going out and making sure we’re prepared to play and give ourselves a chance to win.

“If I feel like on (Sunday) that we’ve done enough to prepare and we don’t win, I’m cool with that because we gave it our best.”

Special thanks to www.aviationqueen.com

aq_small3

Eagles Defense Shuts the Door on Washington’s Comeback Hopes

18 Nov

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

Brandon Boykin's four-quarter interception of Robert Griffith III preserves the Eagles 24-16 win over Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Brandon Boykin’s four-quarter interception of Robert Griffith III preserves the Eagles 24-16 win over Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—The Eagles 24-16 win over the Washington Redskins Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field was more of a stark contrast to where this team was last season going into a bye-week.

Back in 2012, the last game the Eagles played before their bye-week was a heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Lions who came back from a 10-point deficit in the last five minutes in regulation to win the game in overtime.

After the Eagles jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the third quarter on a one-yard run by LeSean McCoy, the Redskins made things interesting in the fourth period on a couple of Robert Griffin III touchdown passes and a pair of two-point conversions. With the offense unable to move the football in the final stanza, the Eagles defense needed to come up with one final stand to hold off the surging Redskins.

Brandon Boykin's interception in the end zone was the exclamation point to a huge win for the Birds. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Brandon Boykin’s interception in the end zone was the exclamation point to a huge win for the Birds. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Washington drove from its own four-yard line down to the Eagles 18 with 40 seconds left. It looked like it was going to be another example of the Birds defense blowing a big lead in the fourth quarter.

But Eagles nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin saved the day with a drive-killing interception in the end zone that helped to preserve the win for the 6-5 Birds, who will head into the bye-week in sole possession of first-place in the NFC East. It was the Birds first win at home since Sept. 30, 2012 when they beat New York Giants on a late field goal.

“Everybody knew that someone had to step up and make it,” said middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “There was no sense that we were going to let them get into the end zone. Everybody had that type of attitude that we were going to make a stop.”

In all honesty, the Eagles win over the Redskins was the type of game they would have lost last season.  To their credit, they found a way to pull off a huge victory when it looked like they were about to fall apart.

“Really, how are you going to react when things don’t go exactly the way you planned?” asked Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “That’s what I think I’m most proud of today, is how they reacted when it didn’t go our way, when they faced a bit of adversity, to kind of dig down deep and make a play when we had to make a play. That was a big sign for this team.”

Boykin, who remembers all too well how the Eagles defense had trouble closing out games last season, said the coaching staff under current defensive coordinator Billy Davis has done a good job of preparing them for late-game situations.

“It’s no panic, it’s not anything new to us. We practice this, so when you’re in a game situation, you treat it like practice,” Boykin said.

The Eagles also played well on defense in the other three quarters as well. For the sixth straight week, the Eagles have not allowed a team to score more than 21 points in a game.  The Birds sacked RGIII four times including his fumble in the red zone after a hard hit by linebacker Connor Barwin.  Linebacker Trent Cole also had a pair of sacks for the Eagles as well.

“They did a good job coming out in the beginning of the game and shutting down a lot of stuff that we were trying to do,” Griffin III said. “They were there where they needed to be; they were taking away the routes we were trying to run. That’s disheartening, but we have to make sure we come up with something to counteract that.”

Davis said his defense has progressed well since the first game of the season and especially since the loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 29.

“We know at the end when it gets all pressure-packed that you have to back to your fundamentals and your technique and your training,” Davis said. “This is what separates you.”

The Eagles scored their points on offense on a pair touchdown runs by LeSean McCoy and a four-yard run by quarterback Nick Foles. Alex Henery had a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Eagles Uptempo Offense Wears Down Washington

10 Sep

LESEAN McCOY COMES UP BIG FOR BIRDS 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

LeSean McCoy ran roughshod through a worn out Redskins defense for 184 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown.

LeSean McCoy ran roughshod through a worn out Redskins defense for 184 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown.

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.