The Philadelphia Eagles were the
Dumbest Team in Football in 2012.
They’ve made great strides forward through two weeks of the
new NFL season under new coach Chip Kelly.
However, many of the same old problems that plagued lame
duck Andy Reid's Eagles in 2012 reared their ugly faces again in the team's
shocking 33-30 home loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers.
Most analysts expected Kelly and his Eagles to follow up
their Week 1 performance (33-27 win at Washington) with an electrifying
performance at the expense of the Chargers
Philadelphia certainly lived up to some of those
Michael Vick threw for a career-high 422 yards, 3
touchdowns and didn't commit a single turnover. DeSean Jackson caught nine
passes for 193 yards and a score while LeSean McCoy totaled 167 yards rushing
The Eagles offense ripped off 511 yards, and didn't commit
a single turnover. They produced 703 Total Team
Yards, the second best effort so far in 2013 according to our
Big Boards at CHFF Insider.
In fact, the Eagles lead the NFL with
1,184 Total Team Yards through two games, just ahead of the second-ranked
Broncos (1,173 Total Team Yards).
The Eagles enter Week 3 boasting both the NFL's leading
receiver (Jackson, 297 yards) and leading rusher (McCoy, 237 yards).
Yet the Eagles still lost to Philip Rivers and the Chargers
in a heartbreaker. So if the offense played so well, what happened?
It's a simple and familiar answer. The Eagles defense, like
last year, shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.
The Eagles through two games are No. 30 in total defense
No. 30 in Total Team Yards Allowed (1,170). They're producing big plays on
offense, but still giving up plenty on defense and elsewhere.
Sunday's breakdowns on both sides of the ball
That defensive effort, or lack thereof, was evident against
Safety Nate Allen was under the microscope the whole game
after he committed a facemask penalty early on and gave up two touchdowns.
Free Agent acquisition Cary Williams, who performend
shutdown coverage in Week 1, committed three pass interference penalties against
the Chargers and gave up a touchdown as well.
Yes, the offense may have put up some monumental numbers,
but they also made a few dumb plays at the absolute worst times.
Defender Trent Cole forced a fumble late in the second quarter, but the
offense failed to convert when Alex Henery missed a 48-yard field goal that
would have tied the game.
Down 20-10, Vick foun Jackson for a beautiful touchdown that was
ultimately called back due to an illegal formation penalty against rookie Lane
Later in the fourth-quarter, the Eagles caused a fumble on a Chargers
kick return, but were unable to recover it. In fact, after they bobbled the ball
around, they added on 25-30 yards from the spot where it was fumbled.
That's just too many points and opportunities left on the
Eagles are smarter, but far from the head of the class
As a result of those mistakes, the Eagles are not quite
living up to their potential through two games under Kelly.
This was the same problem that afflicted the Eagles last
year when Cold, Hard Football Facts labeled them the
Dumbest Team in Football.
The Eagles are second in the NFL right now with 954 yards
of total offense, behind only the Packers (965). The Broncos are third in total
offense with 926 yards.
But Denver has been far more efficient, turning less
offense into a total of 90 points, far ahead of the Eagles (63 points). The
Broncos defense has been much better at putting its offense in a position to
score; the Eagles defense, as outlined above, did not cooperate well with the
offense on Sunday.
As a result, the explosive big-play Eagles are a mere
No. 14 in Scoreability at 15.14 Yards Per Point Scored. It's well ahead of
last year, when they Eagles finished the season
31st with a dismal 20.23 Yards Per Point Scored.
Philadelphia has improved quite a bit in terms of defensive
efficiency, too, despite the Sunday blunders.
Remember, last year the dumbest team in football ranked
dead last in Bendability (12.32
Yards Per Point Allowed), our measure of defensive efficiency that
quantifies the “bend but don’t break” phenomenon. Put another way, no team last
year made it easier for opponents to score points.
This year the
Eagles are No. 19 in Bendability, with 15.35 Yards Per Point Allowed. It's
better than last year. Still not great. Still far from the efficiency typical of
But it's certainly a leap in the right direction and with
plenty of room for improvement.
Philadelphia vs. the NFC East
The good news is that the Eagles don't have to be very
smart to outwit the NFC East.
Here's how the Eagles stack up against their divisional
foes in each measure of efficiency, with their league-wide rank on the left.
NFC East 2013 Scoreability (the lower the number the more efficient
3. Dallas - 12.48 Yards Per Point Scored
14. Philadelphia - 15.13 Yards Per Point Scored
16. N.Y. Giants - 15.81 Yards Per Point Scored
22. Washington - 17.11 Yards Per Point Scored
NFC East 2013 Bendability (the higher the number the more efficient
13. Dallas - 16.48 Yards Per Point Allowed
19. Philadelphia - 15.35 Yards Per Point Allowed
20. Washington - 14.41 Yards Per Point Alllowed
32. N.Y. Giants - 9.7 Yards Per Point Allowed
The way we measured team "intelligence" last year, and the
way we still do with our
Intelligence Index at CHFF Insider, is to subtract a team's Scoreability
from its Bendability. The greater the difference, the more intelligent the team,
the better it plays in situational football, and the fewer mistakes it commits.
Here's how the Eagles stack up right now againt the rest of
the NFC West, again with league-rank on the left. Remember, the Eagles were 31st
on our Intelligence Index last year, ahead of only the dismal Chiefs.
The NFC East 2013 Intelligence Index
6. Dallas - +4.0
16. Philadelphia - +0.21
24. Washington - -2.7
28. N.Y. Giants - -6.1
Thanks to the brains of the new head coach, the Eagles have
quickly become a much smarter, more efficient team.
Through two games, they're far from the Dumbest Team in
Football. But they have plenty of room to improve.
They'll get a great test Thursday night: the 2-0 Kansas
City Chiefs current top the
CHFF Intelligence Index, the smartest team in football at finishing 32nd and
dead last in 2012.
Ironically, former Eagles coach Reid has led that effort.
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