The Curse Is Over: Chip Kelly Gets First Win In Philadelphia
By: Michael Quinn
Cold Hard Football Facts Eagles Expert (@PJbleedsgreen)
It's been 413 days since Eagles fans at the Lincoln Financial Field were able to leave the game in good spirits.
Thanks to an explosive first half, the Eagles were able to top the Washington Redskins 24-16 en route to a much needed divisional win.
With the victory, the Eagles are now leading the NFC East headed into the bye week.
The Philadelphia Eagles are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were a year ago. They are no longer the dumb, lackluster team they were in 2012. 11 weeks into the 2013 season, they're over .500 and have all the momentum in the world.
Nick Foles, despite not throwing any touchdowns on Sunday, has seeminglycemented his job as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback for at least the remainder of the year. (That might seem obvious at this point, but Chip Kelly has yet to confirm it.)
He's completed 63% of his passes this year, and has a total of 19 touchdowns against zero interceptions to his credit. The second-year passer seems to have found his feet as well, as he's rushed for nearly 100 yards in the last two weeks.
LeSean McCoy proved he was one of the NFL's best on Sunday when he became the first rusher to reach the 1,000 yard mark this year, also scoring two touchdowns in the proccess.
The efforts of the explosive offense helped propel the Eagles in a number of categories, but not the all-mighty scoreability marker (Yards Per Point Scored or YPPS).
Last week, the Eagles averaged 16.40 YPPS, this week after a 24 point performance, they dropped in the rankings, even if only a little averaging 16.43 YPPS.
The defense, though they almost collapsed at the end, once again showed they may just be a little bit better than everyone thinks.
First-year Eagle Connor Barwin showed on Sunday that he may be the most valuable offseason addition to the team (besides Chip Kelly, of course). He notched six tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and knocked down a pass. The five-year vet is in the midst of his best year yet, and has been a valuable to key to helping the Eagles transition to a 3-4 defense.
Second-year Cornerback Brandon Boykin has been playing nicely this year. He has been able to fill in on the outside when needed, and excells on the inside. He's been a key in the Eagles secondary as he already has two forced fumbles on the year and four interceptions (including the game winning one against Washington).
The defense, which has been dabbling between 32nd and 31st in the NFL rankings, has been taking strides in the Bendability (Yards Per Point Allowed or YPPA) charts. After almost giving up a fourth-quarter comeback, the Eagles defense averaged a respectable 17.68 YPPA
It's also worth mentioning that the Eagles have one of the best punters in the league. Donnie Jones had a record-setting performance against Washington. He had six punts, placing four inside the 20 yard line. His average of 50.7 yards was the highest in Eagles history.
Chip Kelly's team did a lot of good in order to win their first home game under his leadership. He kept the up-tempo offense going most the game, but stopped passing the ball late in the third quarter. For a guy who likes to score points, it came as a surprise when Kelly opted to hand the ball off every play for the next few drives. Being up only 24 points, Kelly's decision to lean on the running game almost cost him his first home victory as the Redskins almost staged an amazing comeback.
In the end, Kelly deserves the win. Surely, the first-year coach will use the bye-week to work on his mistakes. Come next Sunday (12/1) you can expect Kelly's Eagles to keep the fast pace going all four-quarters.
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