PHILADELPHIA -- There’s an old joke about the football coach who explains a loss by shrugging and saying, “I coached good; my players just played bad.”
Chip Kelly didn’t quite go that far Monday, but he basically said just that about his Philadelphia Eagles’ performance in Sunday’s loss to Seattle. Asked if he would approach the game plan differently, Kelly said that wasn’t the issue.
“No, we just need to execute,” Kelly said. “When you go back through it, they [the Seahawks] do a good job. They don't fool you with anything they do. They line up and play football and they are really, really good at doing that. You don't go back and look at it and say, ‘Hey, we should have run trap or we should have run this scheme.’ It's, they executed and we didn't execute.”
But there’s more to it than that. The Eagles said afterward that they felt they could run the ball on the Seahawks. On their first possession, though, with the ball on the 8-yard line, Kelly called three consecutive pass plays. Mark Sanchez threw for Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. Both were swatted away by defenders. Sanchez hit Jordan Matthews for 6 yards on third-and-10, and the Eagles had to punt.
The next time the Eagles got the ball, it was when Seattle punter Jon Ryan fumbled it and Zach Ertz recovered and ran down to the Seattle 14-yard line. LeSean McCoy ran for 6 yards on first down, then 1 yard on second down. Darren Sproles picked up 2 yards on third-and-3. McCoy picked up the first down with 2 yards on fourth-and-1.
After one more run by McCoy got the Eagles to the 1-yard line, Sanchez threw a touchdown pass to Maclin.
The Eagles’ next possession, which began at their 21-yard line, saw a mix of runs and passes. Neither drive went very far or lasted very long.
“We didn't get into rhythm and I think that was the biggest thing,” Kelly said. “Sometimes we had an opportunity -- the first drive, we were three-and-out [after] two pass plays that we missed in close coverage, and then third down we were just short on the conversion.
“Next drive, we scored and then we started driving. I think it was our third possession, but we get to where we throw a pass on first-and-10, it’s second-and-10, and then we have a 6-yard loss on a run play because there is a miscommunication up front and now you're behind. We were obviously in too many third-and-longs all day long to put yourself in successful situations. It's a lot easier when it's third-and-medium and third-and-short, but we were in way too many third-and-longs yesterday.”
Some of that is play calling. Some of that is execution by the Eagles. Some of it is good play by Seattle.
“I mean, nobody on offense played very well,” Kelly said. “It was the entire group. The whole lot of us -- coaches, players, whatever -- we didn't have a very successful day on offense.”