Eagles' mistakes are troublesome, but fixable
Turnovers and poor special-teams play led to loss to Chiefs.
THROUGH THE first two games of the Chip Kelly era, the Eagles looked like a changed team. They were not giving games away with miscues as they did most of last season. Yet on Thursday, when Andy Reid and the Chiefs came to town, the Birds reverted back to their old ways.
The Eagles could not get into any rhythm on offense, and were plagued by turnovers. Michael Vick threw two interceptions, which could easily have been three if not for a questionable pass-interference call. There was also a muffed punt, a botched snap and a Vick fumble, among the five turnovers.
"You can't win a football game when you turn the ball over like that," Kelly said. "We're not blaming it on anything except our poor execution."
The special teams also did not perform as well as they did in the first two games. With big returns by Chiefs players, combined with the muffed punt and a missed field goal, the special teams were not up to par.
The missed field goal, which would have cut the Chiefs' lead to 16-12 late in the third quarter, was particularly costly, according to Eagles kicker Alex Henery.
"Three points definitely help out there," Henery said. "You never know what can happen after that - we could get a stop, go down and score a touchdown and be in the lead."
The 26-16 loss was frustrating but not devastating.
Vick, for one, said he knows what he did wrong, and knows how to fix it. His first interception of the season was returned for a touchdown by Eric Berry that gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
"What hurt so much about that play was that I knew exactly what I needed to do," Vick said. "I had press coverage on one side and I just tried to take the easy way out. If I just throw the fade in the other side, it never happens. I didn't make a good throw. I made a poor decision and it was a bad ball. It was something that I'll learn from, and I'll never second-guess myself like that again."
One of the most unusual plays of the game was a botched snap between Jason Kelce and Vick on first-and-10 at the Chiefs' 49 that was recovered by Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston near the end of the first quarter.
"I don't know what happened," Vick said about the snap. "It just hit off his butt. I don't know if he felt I was going to be under the center or not. Ninety-five percent of the time, if I'm under the center, we call it. Kelce will take responsibility for the things that happened and the mistakes that he made, just like I would, and just like anybody else would. That's being a professional."
"I thought the quarterback was under center," Kelce said. "Obviously, he wasn't. That is as bad as it gets for an offensive lineman. If there is one position where you get paid for consistency, it's the offensive line. There is no excuse for that. I have to get better."
As for the special teams, Kelly said he has faith in his personnel.
A muffed punt by Damaris Johnson in the first quarter allowed Kansas City to grab a lead that was never relinquished. Kelly said the miscue will not change his opinion of Johnson.
"When we're at plus-50 punt [return], we think Damaris Johnson is the guy," Kelly said. "He's been a real sure-handed guy for us. So, obviously, that was kind of a surprise to everybody, that drop."
On the Eagles' side of the kicking game, Henery has not been as consistent as he'd like to be. He has made five of his seven field-goal attempts, but the two misses proved costly for the Eagles. On Thursday he missed a 48-yarder that would have cut the Chiefs lead to four. In Week 2, he missed a 46-yarder in a game the Chargers won, 33-30.
Still, Kelly does not believe it's time to consider changing kickers.
"I think it's too early for that," Kelly said. "I've seen Alex consistently hit the football. He's missed two, but I'm surprised that he misses because he's been so consistent."
"Yeah, I mean it was a longer kick, but I just pulled it a little bit and took it left," Henery said of his missed 48-yard attempt in the third quarter against the Chiefs. "That's one kick I should make. It's a kick I tell myself I should make. It was in my range. I told myself I would get the next one - if you get the next one, then it's all good news."
The good news for the Eagles is they know what they have to do to correct last week's mistakes.
The bad news is they have to do it before Sunday when they go up against Peyton Manning in Denver.