Chip Kelly Stumbles In Late Stages of Philadelphia Eagles' Loss To San Diego Chargers

By Matt Lombardo
Jeffrey Pittenger – USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost fitting that Andy Reid makes his triumphant return to Lincoln Financial Field this week at the helm of a 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs team.

That’s because his successor with his former team, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles, bungled away a victory in the waning moments of Sunday’s 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Lincoln Financial Field in a similar fashion to how Eagles fans became accustomed to watching Reid cough up surefire wins.

A review of the game tape or even simply glancing at the game book reveals a startling stretch on the Eagles’ final offensive possession of the game that begs to question how well suited Kelly is at navigating a two-minute drill. Down 30-27, Michael Vick hit a darting DeSean Jackson for a 25-yard gain, moving the offense into field goal position at the Chargers’ 14-yard line with 2:17 remaining on the clock.

Simple conventional wisdom dictates that at that point, you saunter up to the line of scrimmage and allow the two-minute warning to expire. Next, one or two run plays would have forced Chargers head coach Mike McCoy to begin extinguishing timeouts rather than saving them for his team’s final offensive drive with the game on the line.

Instead, Kelly dialed up a pass play which fell incomplete and subjected Vick to a nasty hit which caused him to sit out a play. 2:09 remained on the clock at that point.

Here is where it really gets dicey for Kelly.

Instead of calling a timeout (which by rule would have allowed Vick to stay in the game rather than be forced off for one play due to injury), Kelly trots out Nick Foles. Instead of calling a running play to ease the transition at quarterback, not to mention take time off the clock and allow the best player on the team an opportunity to touch the ball with a  chance to score, Kelly drew up a fade pattern which fell incomplete.

On third down, Vick returned to the game and misfired, leading to an Alex Henery game-tying field goal and handing the ball back to Philip Rivers and company with 1:55 remaining. We all know how that drive ended.

“We were trying to score,” Kelly said after the game. “We were trying to score a touchdown, not trying to kick a field goal. We were trying to score a touchdown and hopefully trying to get to a situation where we made it a four-point game, not a (tie) game.”

It appeared that Kelly, at best, couldn’t get out of his own way in trying to score at a frenetic pace, and at worst didn’t understand the rules of when a player can return from an injury if a timeout is called. Regardless, scoring and milking the clock are not mutually exclusive.

For Kelly, coaching in his second career NFL game, this loss certainly can serve as a learning experience. However, Eagles fans have seen this ending far too many times before, and they’ll be served a bright red reminder of those memories on Thursday night.

Matt Lombardo is also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter

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