The Chip Kelly offense made its much anticipated debut on national television and overall, it was a successful day. But the question that remains is if this offense, which seemed to slow down in the second half, can compete with the best teams in the league. Most importantly, can this offense win shootouts?
From the moment the Philadelphia Eagles announced his signing, critics have been out in full force against Chip Kelly and the explosive and rather unconventional style of offense he preaches.
“But Chip, this isn’t college,” they said. “Chip, you won’t be able to do that against NFL defenses,” they said. “I just don’t see NFL passing concepts in this offense,” added another, one by the name of Ron Jaworski.
This is an offense that is going to run an insane number of plays, although as Kelly said in his post-game presser, “he wasn’t counting.” This is an offense that is going to be dependent on weapons and short, quick plays. It will be predicated on what the players can do with what Michael Vick can give them. It will be successful based on the explosiveness of LeSean McCoy.
And as critics learned shortly after the Eagles’ first “blink and you’ll miss it” drive of the game, this is an offense that worked and is going to have a lot of success.
The only problem is that if the Eagles’ defense can’t hold their own, the success of this offense might not manifest into victories and a chance to make the playoffs.
The Eagles’ defense, which last year was easily near the bottom of the pack in most statistical categories, was probably the only section of this team that garnered more question marks and criticism than Kelly’s shrouded offense.
The squad, helped by the free agent signing of Cary Williams, came out strong and intercepted Robert Griffin III twice in the game. The defense also caused two fumbles, including one by Griffin that was recovered in the end zone for a safety. Overall, the team held Washington to just seven points and held Griffin to just 53 passing yards at the half.
That was something nobody, not even Kelly probably expected to see. For one beautiful half of football if you are an Eagles fan, the team was clicking on all cylinders – offensively, defensively, special teams. They were clicking until they weren’t.
Griffin and the Redskins came out of the half rejuvenated and outscored the Eagles 20-7 in the second half. Everything the Philadelphia defense did right in the first half was suddenly falling apart. And the Washington defense started to play better too, effectively limiting the Kelly offense.
In the end, a win is a win, and for the Eagles, to start the season 1-0 definitely means something. The only problem is, this team ran out of gas late. Sure, they were able to outlast the Redskins, but what happens when they have to face the Denver Broncos and NFC North opponents, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions just to name a few.
Behind their quarterbacks, those teams are going to destroy the Philadelphia defense through the air. And those teams score a lot of points, 111 combined in the first week of this season.
There is no denying the Kelly offense is going to score a lot of points. But what is still very much in question is if it can win in a shootout, and it just didn’t seem like it can. So while this “worked” against the Redskins, it is still a long season, with a list of tough opponents that might not be so easy to outscore.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.