Any mistake that the Eagles could make, they made. Any penalty that they might commit, they committed. Every question that they insisted they had settled in the offseason either remained unanswered or was indeed settled - with the worst of all answers. Any way you could have spent your Sunday afternoon would have been better than spending it watching this.
Three hours of having my fingers slammed in a car door? Sign me up.
All of this - this unspeakable, 20-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys; this 0-2 start; this offense that is not outscheming or outmuscling or outculturing anyone - rests in a pile at Chip Kelly's toes. If it was reasonable to think that after an offseason of such upheaval, it might take the Eagles a while to find their stride, the last two weeks have been inexcusable.
For three out of four halves, the Eagles offense hasn't been competent. Sunday was a sheer nightmare. It was as if the 11 men who lined up for each snap had never practiced together, had never scrimmaged or played a minute of preseason football together, had never even met.
Kelly's postgame news conference, his opportunity to explain himself in the loss's immediate aftermath, lasted seven minutes. Not to twist the knife, but it's worth noting that the Eagles offense possessed the football for less time - 6 minutes, 51 seconds - in Sunday's first half. After two 10-6 seasons, after he won his power play against former general manager Howie Roseman in January, Kelly gambled that only by radically changing the roster could the Eagles evolve into Super Bowl contenders. But at the moment, from the limited playing time he gave his first-team offense during the preseason to the wholesale remaking of the secondary, it looks as though he overestimated his players' ability to cohere quickly into a functional football team.
"I don't think we overestimated or underestimated," he said. "We had to be ready when the season started."
Sam Bradford, the quarterback whom Kelly had counted on to lift the Eagles offense to places beyond where Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez had taken it, was terrible Sunday. That is not too strong a word. He was involved in three turnovers - two interceptions, including one in the end zone, and a shotgun snap that caromed off his right shoulder because he didn't expect it. He held the ball. His throws were tentative, as if he weren't certain where his receivers were supposed to be.
After Bradford's second half last Monday in Atlanta, when over one stretch he completed 20 of 22 passes, there was cause for optimism, that after missing most of the previous two seasons with that twice-torn left anterior cruciate ligament, all he needed was time. Now? You wonder how patient the Eagles can be with him.
DeMarco Murray, the running back whom Kelly signed to replace LeSean McCoy, carried 13 times for 2 yards. This, after he rushed eight times for 9 yards last week. This, from the player who led the NFL in rushing yards last season. Yet Murray might be the man who bears the least blame here, because every time he takes a handoff from Bradford, there seems at least one defender with his arms already wrapped around him. Starting guards Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner, who weren't good enough to crack the Eagles' starting lineup last year at guard, have demonstrated why this season. Somewhere, Evan Mathis laughs.
Byron Maxwell, the purported $63 million savior of the Eagles' secondary, the cornerback burned by Julio Jones throughout that loss to the Falcons, allowed another long touchdown, this one 42 yards to Terrance Williams in the fourth quarter, though by that time only the Cowboys' family members and Jerry Jones' valet were still following the action.
The Eagles defense acquitted itself fairly well, actually. Rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks even recorded a sack, forced a fumble, and broke Tony Romo's clavicle all in one play. But Hicks was in the game only because Kiko Alonso left in the second quarter with an injury to his left knee. And Mychal Kendricks - the Eagles' other inside linebacker - left with an injury, too.
The special teams, the Eagles' strongest overall unit last season, allowed the game-turning play: a punt that the Cowboys' Danny McCray blocked and that Kyle Wilber returned 26 yards for a touchdown, a sequence made all the more humiliating by the crushing, sweet-part-of-the-bat block that Jeff Heath delivered on Eagles punter Donnie Jones. The score gave the Cowboys a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter. It felt insurmountable.
Think about that: A 13-point deficit felt insurmountable for a Chip Kelly-coached team. How far the Eagles have fallen. How far they have yet to go.
But hey, Cody Parkey did make his only field-goal attempt.
The injuries to Alonso and Kendricks are one thing. They're sheer misfortune - yes, even Alonso's. But the lack of preparedness, the Keystone Cops-style moments, the theory that perhaps a coach ought to put his team through a more rigorous training camp - these are something else, and they are Kelly's burden now. They are his problems to fix. He created the conditions. He is responsible for the results.
The Eagles have lost five of their last six regular-season games, and this trend can no longer be dismissed as just a slump, a difficult but predictable adjustment to change. This debacle, all of it, is on Chip Kelly, and starting now, we'll find out whether he's something more than a great salesman.