Eagles losses are never taken well in Philadelphia, especially playoff losses at home. But last night’s 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints was a blemish that could not detract from the phenomenal season first year coach Chip Kelly had which should be seen by all Philadelphia fans as a success.
After last year’s four win season under head coach Andy Reid, expectations were not very high. The Eagles were facing extreme insecurity at the most important position on the field and they had just hired a coach who many believed could not coach in the NFL.
Now fans in Philadelphia have their answers. They have a quarterback, the unlikely superstar in 2013, Nick Foles and they also have a coach that has silenced all doubters.
Eagle’s fans have good reason to call Saturday night’s loss to the dome comfortable New Orleans Saints a disaster. The Eagles did not play well in any area of the game, unless hanging around is a measurable part of a football game.
The Saints were able to move the ball almost at will on the ground and if it were not for an uncharacteristically mediocre games from Drew Brees the Saints could have really extended their lead in the first half. The Eagles went into the locker room at halftime leading 7-6, but possessed almost none of the game’s momentum.
The Eagles had many chances to score or at least start a long drive that could lead to points. In the first half they had driven deep into New Orleans territory before a tackle for a loss and a sack made an easy chip shot a long field goal that was missed. Later in the second half, wide receiver Riley Cooper dropped a pass with no defender close to him, a play that could have set up a long drive.
Although there will be some grumbling in Philadelphia after the loss, Chip Kelly’s first season remains a success. Eagles fans will be upset that they left a winnable playoff game slip through their fingers, but there are also many bright sides to consider in the off season.
The Eagles now have a quarterback who led the league in passer rating and could become a consistent leader at that position for the franchise. They also now have a coach who has proven he has what it takes to win in the National Football League. Sure, Chip Kelly made some mistakes Friday night, failing to capitalize on New Orleans’s sluggish second half start, but he also proved he could help engineer, along with his quarterback, an important 4th quarter drive to take the lead. Make no mistake, if you want to win the Super Bowl there will always be a moment when you have to march the ball down the field and score to take the lead.
Other bright sides for the Eagles include the late season play of some of their recent draft picks including corner back Brandon Boykin and linebacker Mychal Kendericks who were both instrumental in Philadelphia’s must win against the Cowboys.
It is not customary for Philadelphia fans to look on the bright side when it comes to their Eagles, but Saturday night’s lose to the Saints should not detract from the major success Chip Kelly achieved during his first season as a head coach.
By Nick Manai