The Philadelphia Eagles had another 30 point performance against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 15. But since the Eagles didn’t do all their damage in one explosive half, and lost the season’s second game by 33-30, this wasn’t as big a show as Chip Kelly’s debut on Sept. 9. Yet Philadelphia did have a lot of fireworks, albeit ones littered with missed chances.
The Eagles got into San Diego territory within moments on the first drive, but a sack on Michael Vick kept them from charging out of the gate over the Chargers. From then on, San Diego controlled the tempo and figured out how to slow down Philadelphia’s offense -- keep it on the bench by exhausting the defense.
Since the Chargers only had to punt once, the Eagles had to play catch-up much of the way. It might have been different if Vick didn’t overthrow a few long balls, and if Alex Henery didn’t miss a tying field goal to end the first half. But Philadelphia stayed within 20-13 in the third, until DeSean Jackson finally broke through with a 61-yard touchdown.
When a long Chargers drive stretched into the fourth and only ended in a field goal, the Eagles blazed down the field again and took their first lead on a two-yard Vick run. Yet a Jackson unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and a fumbled kickoff return that the Chargers recovered in Eagles’ territory, set San Diego up for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Eagles then paid for being so quick and for not delivering in the red zone, as they settled for tying the score at 30-30 with 1:51 left. Considering Philadelphia’s defense and how much time was left on the clock, the Eagles would have been better off bleeding the clock and being much more aggressive at the goal line. Because they didn’t do either, very few were surprised when the Chargers marched down for Nick Novak’s winning field goal.
Time management and red zone performances weighed down Andy Reid’s Eagles offense in its later years. It happened in different ways for Kelly, but the result of a loss that shouldn’t have happened was quite familiar.
With 30 points and over 500 yards, Kelly’s attack remained potent. Yet the Eagles already knew they would rack up points and yards this season -- and the Chargers reminded them that victories will still be harder to run up.