The Philadelphia Eagles are supposed to rack up touchdowns under Chip Kelly. Whether the Eagles are led by Michael Vick or Nick Foles, Kelly’s offensive tricks were promised to help Philadelphia run up the scoreboard. But on Aug. 24, Kelly’s Eagles offense looked suspiciously like Andy Reid’s, at least when they reached the red zone against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles beat the Jaguars by 31-24 when Nick Foles led a last minute 99-yard drive. Yet Foles is now the official Philadelphia backup, who marched down the field against backups for one of the worst teams in football. The real test of what the Eagles might like look this season came in the first half when Vick started, and the results weren’t always good.
Philadelphia had to settle for three field goals in the second quarter when Vick couldn’t drive the ball in. Even when the Eagles got a long punt return from Damaris Johnson at the end of the half, they couldn’t get a first down and needed a 45-yard Alex Henery field goal to salvage points.
The only touchdown the Eagles got under Vick was on a short drive set up by a Connor Barwin interception. Otherwise, Philadelphia looked like it did under Reid in 2011 and 2012, having passed up touchdowns once too often. While the Jaguars were only up by 17-16 at the half, they would have been down if not for better execution by the Eagles.
In this game, the lack of early touchdowns made it necessary for Foles to go the length of the field late. He could have settled for a field goal to give the Eagles a 26-24 lead, but unlike Vick, he finished things off with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The quarterback battle between them is technically over, but the end results in Jacksonville had to make Philadelphia’s faithful wonder a bit.
Regardless of the quarterbacks, it is Kelly who has to make the Eagles punch the ball in more. Considering how shaky the first team defense was against the lowly Jaguars -- who were missing their own starting quarterback in the injured Blaine Gabbert -- it makes it easier to fear that the Eagles may need to win shootouts all year after all. Yet as Philadelphia well knows by now, shootouts aren’t won with field goals.