Pass. Pass. Pass.
Sound familiar? Excruciatingly so. The great Andy Reid haunted the Eagles sideline Sunday, seemingly whispering thoughts into Chip Kelly’s head. The average fan jumped to a picture of deja vu.
In a multitude of avenues, Sunday’s game mirrored a contest under former coach Andy Reid. Throughout the mapping of the game, one notices distinct patterns that Reid often consulted. However, Chip Kelly proved that those methods sanitized the situation revolving around a trailing Eagles team.
In the days of Reid’s tenure, the offensive-minded coach was notorious for his pass-happy play calling. Reid would completely abandon the run in certain match ups, regardless of whether the team led by 20 or trailed by the same margin. In Sunday’s loss to San Diego, the Eagles ran 38 pass plays to 20 rushes: just over 33% of the plays were via the run.
Unlike the random and illogical overdoses of pass, Chip Kelly’s consecutive pass calls had more to do with the defensive match ups. On DeSean Jackson’s 70–yard touchdown catch, the Chargers loaded up the box. Their goal: to halt the run at all costs. If the saying “take what the defense gives you” is anything to go by, the decision to throw the deep ball was textbook.
Secondly, the Eagles were trailing a majority of the game. Had the team been ahead, Kelly would clearly give more carries to LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. A solution to the loaded front would have been outside runs, something Brown especially thrives running.
Obviously the game’s outcome failed to sweeten the nectar taken in from Sunday. But as the pass-happy grandpappy plans for his return, Eagles fans can relax. What was depicted Sunday was not a rerun of Reid moments. In fact, it was an unveiling of Chip Kelly’s signature quality: adaptivity.