The Philadelphia Eagles fittingly opened the Chip Kelly era against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 9. The Eagles really ended the Andy Reid era in Washington in Nov. 2010, as their 59 point performance in that Monday night game was one of their last hurrahs under Reid. But this latest Monday night showcase against the Redskins raised hopes that the 33-27 win was the first of many hurrahs under Kelly -- or at least the first half did.
In one furious 30+ minute sequence, the Eagles ran close to 60 plays and scored 33 straight points, and could have really scored 40. After the Eagles drove to the red zone in a rapid opening drive, only to have Michael Vick throw a tipped backwards pass that De’Angelo Hall picked up for a touchdown, the Redskins received no more favors for some time.
Instead of crumbling under that first bad break, the Eagles quickly marched down the field again, yet had to settle for a field goal. At that point, Robert Griffin III finally made his 2013 debut, only to see Alfred Morris fumble the ball on the Redskins’ second play. This time, the Eagles took advantage for a touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, and the rout seemed on from there.
What ensued was two more Washington turnovers, a safety, three more Philadelphia touchdowns and over 300 Eagles total yards in just over a half, while the Redskins had closer to 50. Once LeSean McCoy ran for an opening second half touchdown right after Griffin’s second interception, the Eagles were up 33-7 and could take it easy -- but almost did it far too well.
Kelly’s offense finally slowed down and barely did anything more as a result, while the surprisingly strong Eagles defense ultimately reverted to its expected poor form. Griffin backed up the theory that his early struggles were all about rust, but unfortunately for Washington, the rust was too much to overcome for one week.
20 straight Redskins points put a damper on Kelly and the Eagles’ big night, and raised new questions on whether Philadelphia’s rapid pace and questionable defense can hold for 60 minutes. But for about 32 minutes, the Eagles were the greatest show on turf, just like they were in Washington almost three years ago. Yet Philadelphia hopes Kelly doesn’t go all downhill from there like Reid did after that night.