PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Peyton Manning dismantled the defense. The offense made too many mistakes. Special teams allowed two touchdowns.
With performances like that from all three phases, it’s no wonder the Philadelphia Eagles lost 53-20 to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Yet coach Chip Kelly found a bright side.
“I think we did some good things,” Kelly said Monday. “I think offensively we moved the ball and there’s correctable mistakes there. I thought we competed on the defensive side of the ball, and I think we left them on the field a little bit too much in the third quarter.”
Philadelphia (1-3) will take on the New York Giants (0-4) on Sunday.
The Eagles have lost three straight games — all to AFC West opponents — since an impressive 33-27 win at Washington in the season opener. The excitement generated by Kelly’s fast-paced, high-octane offense has waned. No matter how many yards Michael Vick and Co. pile up, the Eagles aren’t going to win many games if their defense doesn’t make any stops.
Manning had his way against an atrocious secondary. He led the Broncos to five touchdowns in seven drives in three quarters before watching the rest of the game from the sideline.
“You have to have great communication in the secondary and you need to be able to make plays,” cornerback Cary Williams said. “We just didn’t make plays period and it stinks. It stinks to lose but that’s part of the game.
“You have to deal with it and move on.”
Through four games, the Eagles are last in yards allowed (446.8) per game and second-worst in points (34.5).
“We obviously are not where we want to be right now, but we just have to keep rolling and learn from everything,” safety Nate Allen said. “That’s all you can do. We are just going to keep working, learn from this and work on the fundamentals and move forward.”
The offense is moving the ball effectively, averaging 458.8 yards per game — second only to Denver. But that’s not resulting in points. The Eagles are 11th in scoring at 24.8 points per game.
They settled for two field goals after a pair of long drives early in Sunday’s game while the Broncos were scoring touchdowns. One field goal came after tight end Brent Celek dropped a third-down pass inside the 5.
“We are going at a good steady pace, but we have to execute,” Vick said. “We had the ball in the red zone two times (in the first half) and we only got field goals. It should have resulted in (more) points, especially playing against this team. That was difference maker. They got the ball going in the second half and went straight down and scored. That gave their defense the opportunity to pin their ears back and come after us.
“It kind of changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
Despite their struggles, the Eagles are just one game out of first place in the NFC East. They could be tied for first next week with a win and a loss by Dallas (2-2) to Denver.
The team’s early struggles were expected, of course. They figured on having some growing pains while adjusting to a new coaching staff and a new system on both sides of the ball. The current group will have to step up to turn things around. There aren’t going to be sweeping lineup changes or any significant roster additions at this point.
“We have 46 guys on our roster and I think almost all 46 played,” Kelly said. “So it’s not like we are not getting guys in the game and guys are not playing and aren’t giving us an opportunity right now.”
The opportunities are there. The wins aren’t.