Can The Chargers Ground The Eagles?
By Dave Thomas
After a heart-breaking 31-28 loss to the Houston Texans Monday evening in the season opener, the San Diego Chargers turn their attention to the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday (10:00 a.m. PT).
For any Charger fans who watched and/or attended the Monday night loss to the Texans, the thought may quickly have turned to another ho-hum season is in store for the Bolts. That being said, the Chargers have a chance to atone for the season-opening loss when they travel to South Philly this weekend to meet an Eagles team that is fresh-off a 33-27 win over division rival Washington.
In the Eagles win Monday evening in Maryland, new head coach Chip Kelly unveiled what some around the league may fear is an up-tempo offense that is going to be hard to contain.
After more than a decade of Andy Reid (now in Kansas City) at the helm, the Eagles went out and lured away Kelly from Eugene, Oregon. As many college football fans know, Kelly directed the Oregon Ducks in recent years to some gaudy offensive numbers, not to mention numerous wins. Now clear across the country, Kelly looks to do the same for an Eagles franchise that is the only member of the NFC East (Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Redskins) to have never won a Super Bowl title.
Although Eagle fans should not be making plans yet to watch their team compete in the football spectacle February 2, 2014 in MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.), the Birds do look like a different team after one game under the new regime.
Eagles Show Off Ball Control
In the win over the Redskins, reborn quarterback Michael Vick threw for 203 yards and a pair of TD’s (also rushed for 56 yards), while running back LeSean McCoy racked up 184 yards on the ground, including a touchdown. Yes, Philadelphia’s defense gave up 27 points, but Kelly may push the mentality that the Eagles will be able, in a number of instances, to simply outscore their opponents in order to win games.
Another stat that is sure to have garnered attention for Philadelphia opponents moving forward is how the Eagles controlled the ball throughout the first 30 minutes of play.
The Eagles had the ball for 20:20, while Washington held it for only 9:40. For the game, Philadelphia racked up 443 yards of total offense, something that was not commonplace in Reid’s final seasons leading the Birds.
Chargers Must Put Texans Loss Behind Them
Can the Chargers bounce back from what has to be described as a demoralizing loss?
As head coach Mike McCoy noted in his post-game notes Monday evening, the team simply took its foot off the gas pedal in not closing the door on the Texans. “The effort was there. We just didn’t finish it. It comes down to not finishing a football game,” McCoy remarked.
Playing in front of a tough crowd at the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field) this Sunday, the Chargers will need to get off to a strong start, allowing them to control the ball all the while keeping Vick and McCoy off the field.
Finally, given the teams are not in the same conference, they have only met 10 times over the years (San Diego holding a 6-4 advantage).
Philadelphia gets another AFC West opponent less than a week after the Chargers visit, as Reid leads the Kansas City Chiefs into town for a Thursday night game (Sept. 19).
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.