The first Sunday of the football year brought Chip Kelly's offense running riot over Washington, and the rematch promised a similar offensive output. I had no choice but to watch two of the best offenses in the league trade potshots, and I tracked my thoughts and reactions throughout. Here is my story.
The Redskins offensive line looked very good early. Alfred Morris bulled through wide holes all day, and added a bunch of yards after contact too, but that wasn't the best sign for the group. Play-action, options, and even a reverse were all run with success early on, and though the passing game was poor, the run game was in great form.
Nick Foles is good, and Shady is even better. Receivers were consistently hit in stride, and a lot of excellent plays were made with short and intermediate passes. A lot of this came from the superior team speed of the Eagles. Everyone knows how fast Desean Jackson is, and he definitely flashed that on many occasions, but the lethargy of the Washington linebackers and safeties in coverage was a huge factor. The Washington linebackers were too slow in coverage, as evidenced by catch and runs of 49 and 42 yards by McCoy and Celek.
The Washington passing game was ugly. While RGIII appears to have his speed back, his accuracy is a little off. There were multiple throws airmailed, including a potential early touchdown to Logan Paulsen off a beautiful play-action, and that pretty much killed the Redskins chances.
Philadelphia is making strides on defense. Former Texans Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans were strong, with Barwin contributing a key strip-sack on the best Redskins drive of the first half. The secondary provided Trent Cole with a couple of coverage sacks, and the intermediate coverage was consistently good.
Chip Kelly did a lot of things right today. Not using a challenge on a short Alfred Morris run in the early going was the right call, as the difference of 6 yards in deep Redskins territory was not worth a chance at a better challenge later. Of course, analyst John Lynch immediately lambasted Kelly, saying "Every Yard Is Critical In This League," and the Redskins punted two plays later. He also called for a lot of misdirection; utilizing a much-improved Nick Foles pump-fake and some unbalanced lines to put Shady into space. Shady returned the favor by breaking approximately eight ankles and catching a host of passes out of the backfield, with two short touchdown runs serving as the icing on the cake.
Two minutes after halftime this game was deemed not competitive. I was sorry to see it go because those teams are fun to watch, but with this win the Eagles move to pole position in the NFC East with a very good shot at a home playoff game. We will likely be seeing them again.