Eliot Shorr-Parks/NJ.com September 29, 2013 at 8:28:12 PM EDT
It was a shoot-out just like everyone expected.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Broncos did most of the shooting.
"The key for us was to keep us in the game offensively," Chip Kelly said after the game. "We didn't do that."
The Eagles offense put up just 20 points in their 52-20 loss to the DenverBroncos, with 13 of those points coming in the first three-quarters when the game was still semi-winnable. The defense struggled like everyone expected, but it was the offenses inability to score that played just as big of a role in the team's loss in Denver.
"We gotta get our momentum back," Vick said. "We lost it."
Sure, the offense put up good numbers- 450 total yards,166 yards of which were on the ground. They also didn't turn the ball over, something they had problems with last week against the Chiefs.
What they didn't do was get it in the end zone.
The offense went just 2-5 in the red zone, with one of those conversions coming in the final minutes of garbage time. Prior to the Jeff Maehl touchdown, however, the Eagles went just 1-4 in a game where they could ill-afford to do so. After scoring touchdowns on four of their first nine possessions of the season, they have gotten into the end zone on just six of their last 36 possessions.
"There were a couple critical drops and critical penalties that hand cuffed us offensively," Kelly said.
The most critical drop came in the first quarter when Vick hit Brent Celekright in his hands just a few yards from the end zone, but the veteran tight end dropped it. To make matters worse the drop came on third-and-four from the 17 yard line, forcing the Eagles to kick a field goal instead of getting into the end zone.
"You can't afford to trade field goals for touchdowns with this team," Kelly said of the Denver offense.
The Eagles also shot themselves in the foot in the second quarter, when anEvan Mathis holding penalty negated a 19-yard pass from Vick to DeSean Jackson. Instead of having the ball at the Denver 41, the Eagles faced a 1st-and-20 from their own 49. Three plays later, they punted the ball away.
"It changed the whole dynamic of the game," Vick said. "If we score there, it is still a game."
It was the second straight disappointing game for the Eagles offense after they scored just 16 points against the Kansas City Chiefs. Combine last week's output with the 13 points they actually scored on Sunday and the 29 points are just three more than the 26 they scored in the first half alone against the Washington Redskins. After averaging 31.5 points-per-game in the first two games, they are averaging just 18 points the last two.
"We are still going at the same pace," Vick said. "We just have to execute."
What they need to start doing to execute better isn't clear. Kelly said after the game that he thought Vick played well, and the numbers support it as he went 14/27 for 248 yards to go along with 41 yards rushing. As for the receivers, Kelly also said he didn't think they were to blame.
One area to look might be the offensive line.
Vick was on the run plenty against the Broncos and in addition to taking numerous hits, was sacked three times. When asked how he thought the offensive line did, Vick did not exactly stand up and defend his teammates.
"I would like to have more time, but I have to go with what I got," Vick said.
Whatever the issue is, it needs to be fixed by this upcoming game if the Eagles hope to compete. At 1-3 the Eagles are lucky enough to play in a division where they stand just one game out of the division lead. With the 0-4 New York Giants coming up, a win in New York would go a long way in helping to turn things around. A loss, however, would make things look bleak even in a division that could be the worse in the entire NFL.
"We aren't sitting here saying 'holy smokes the season is over," Kelly said.
It might be, however, if the offense doesn't turn things around- and quick.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorRParks