Chip Kelly has explained himself after 42 other games in his NFL coaching career, from upset wins to stunning losses to a playoff clincher and postseason defeat. But there has not been a week that started like Monday, with his team faltering, public support waning, and a four-day turnaround before a game that could determine whether his third season can be rescued.
The Eagles' 45-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday was their second straight defeat and dropped them to 4-6. It's the latest in the calendar the team has ever been two games below .500 under Kelly. At risk of falling to the worst record in his three years as coach, Kelly finds himself at a crossroads. And there won't be any dramatic changes in the next three days - no coaching dismissals, no major lineup disruptions, no scheme overhaul for the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions.
What might seem like insanity to others is simply Kelly trusting those he has brought to Philadelphia and the philosophies that made Jeffrey Lurie bring him here.
"We got outplayed, we got outcoached, didn't do a good job coaching in that football game, and that's what it is," Kelly said. "But that's all it is, and we need to move forward."
His players did not give Kelly much reason for confidence on Sunday. The Eagles were overmatched against the Buccaneers, who amassed 521 yards, including 283 in the ground game. The Bucs passed for five touchdowns and forced four turnovers, including one they returned for a score.
"It did not look better the second time around," Kelly said. "Fortunately for us we've got a game on Thursday, so we've got to move on and get ready to play Detroit right now."
They'll need to fix some areas first. In short time, they need to determine what's wrong with a run defense that is the focus of their defensive philosophy. The three biggest rushing outputs they've allowed this season have come in the last four weeks. They've gone from the NFL's third-ranked rushing defense to the 25th.
Kelly blamed four big runs for the problems. In the other games, the yardage came in small chunks instead of big pieces. He said the Eagles need to do a better job tackling and fitting into gaps, although the viewer could have offered that same solution. Kelly said he did not think the problem was defensive coordinator Bill Davis, who calls the plays.
"I've got tremendous confidence in Billy Davis," Kelly said. "I think he's a hell of a football coach."
On offense, Kelly saw backup quarterback Mark Sanchez continue his habit of turning the ball over. One interception before halftime thwarted a potential scoring opportunity. Two more in the final quarter added to his streak of throwing fourth-quarter interceptions in losses. Kelly said each one comes down to the individual decision and is based on what Sanchez saw and the coverage he expected. The viewer at home also could have made Kelly's recommendation for what Sanchez should have done on the first interception.
"Not thrown it to Tampa Bay," Kelly said.
With insight like that, it's no wonder Kelly is making $6.5 million per season. But Kelly did not absolve himself from responsibility. He put the blame for the loss on everyone - from the players to the coaching staff.
Kelly also has drawn the ire of fans who expected more this season. Safety Malcolm Jenkins said, "It comes with the territory," and the Eagles are "not in this business to be affected by what people say." Their performance is why there's so much criticism, though. Time is running out to change it.
"No one is happy about what our record is right now," Kelly said, "and all we can do about it is prepare and get ready to play Detroit."