Inconsistency on Offense Cost the Eagles vs Falcons
Sam Bradford completed 69 percent of the passes he threw in Monday nights game, which is significantly higher then his career mark of 58 percent. But it was a tale of two halves for the Eagles new signal caller, who was making his first regular-season start in nearly 700 days.
After going 15-of-27 for 117 yards and one pick in the first half, Bradford threw just four incomplete passes in the second half to finish 36-of-52 for 336 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Even though the numbers looked good, there are definitely some throws he would like to have back, but Eagles coach Chip Kelly didn't think it was because of the nearly 700 day layoff.
"Yeah, I think there are a couple throws," Kelly explained. "But I don't know if it's because it's his first game in two years, that he wants back."
"But that's natural when you don’t complete the pass or it's not located where you want it. But I don't think it's because he didn't play in two years. I thought he was extremely accurate in the other games he played, whether it be in the Ravens game or whether it be in the Packers game. So I don't attribute it to the two years. But there are throws there in the first half where we weren't as crisp as we were in the second half."
Not only is Bradford coming back from a long layoff, he is working with a new group of skill players and offensive lineman. During the first half of the game, the Falcons' pass rush was preventing Bradford and the Eagles offense from finding any sort of consistency on offense which lead to just three points heading into the locker room.
"I think our mental attitude was there," Kelly said about the offense in the first half. "It breaks down on each individual play as a missed block. We had a sweep, missed a down block, got a holding call. Had a screen pass – we're supposed to cloud the coverage over there, didn't do it."
"Just one or two guys just making a mistake on a play puts you where you end up just short. We complete a pass, but it's a gain of five. So it's 4th and 1. We've got to punt the ball because we're on the negative side of the field. So it's just kind of a combination of just trying to get hitting stride and getting going on a few things."
Philadelphia has two new starters on the offensive line in left guard Allan Barbre and right guard Andrew Gardner, while the team struggled in the running game, Kelly thought his two new starters played well.
"I thought both guards actually weren't bad," Kelly said. "They did a nice job."
"It's just a matter of getting separation on combination blocks and things like that. Again, give those guys credit. I thought their d‑line, and we had said that going in that I thought the new additions with [Falcons DE Vic] Beasley on the edge and Clayborn inside, kind of what their techniques had changed from what you saw before, that they played hard and did a really good job of it."
While Bradford threw the ball well in the second half, new running back DeMarco Murray rushed eight times for nine yards and one touchdown and caught 4-of-5 targets for 11 yards and a second touchdown in the Eagles' loss.
"I thought [Falcons DE Adrian] Clayborn and [Falcons DT] Jonathan Babineaux inside were kind of disruptive forces early," Kelly said about the teams struggles in the run game."
"The Defensive ends did a good job, so we started to try to attack a little more in the second half on the outside and get the ball to the perimeter. Obviously, because of what they were doing, we felt like we could throw the ball and that was the best way for us to move the football."
That may be, but Kelly's call late in the game went away from what was working. While the team was moving the ball via the air with ease, in one of the key moments in the final minutes, Kelly elected to run the ball late in the game on 3rd and 1.
While Bradford was throwing the ball with confidence in the second half of the game, driving the team 95 yards for a touchdown drive, the team elected to hand the ball to Ryan Mathews - a play that was stopped which led to a Cody Parkey field goal attempt, a decision that didn't look very definitive.
"I just wanted to know the distance from [special teams coordinator Dave] Fipp," Kelly explained. "He knew exactly where we were. When he told me it was a 44 yarder, that was right in [K] Cody’s [Parkey] wheelhouse so we kicked it."
While I don't have a big problem with Kelly electing to kick the ball in that situation, it seemed Kelly's indecision forced Parkey into a rushed kicking situation squelching any chance an already shaky Parkey had of a kicking the game-winning field goal.
"I have total confidence in Cody Parkey," Kelly said. "He was a Pro Bowl kicker last year. I think he's an outstanding kicker."
"I was watching the play clock and where we were watching our guys get set. But there were still seven seconds on the play clock when the ball was snapped. Usually when you get inside of four [seconds], that's when you're starting to worry about it. Are we rushing things here? It was seven when we snapped it."
Parkey ended up pushing the kick wide-right.