On a day when the Eagles offense produced 511 yards, averaged 8.7 yards per play and put 30 points on the scoreboard, the San Diego Chargers spoiled the Eagles' home opener with a 33-30 win. According to defensive coordinator Bill Davis, it all came down to the Chargers beating the Eagles from an execution standpoint.
"They out-executed us today, there's no doubt about that," Davis said after the game. "I take my hat off to them and their plan, and Philip Rivers was hot ... When we dropped, he held the ball and got some of those deeper routes in on us, the deeper routes that we try to keep off of us. He got off some of the three-man rushes. I was trying to mix it up and go back and forth. The guys played hard, but again, they out-executed us."
The Eagles often sent extra men to try to get Rivers out of his comfort zone, but the Chargers offensive line was up to the challenge. San Diego allowed just one sack on the afternoon, which came on the Chargers' first drive of the game. Davis tried changing up the looks defensively, but the Chargers were able to adapt to anything that the Eagles did.
"They did a great job of protecting, I'll give them the credit that is due to them," Davis said. "They did a nice job of protecting inside-out. We know Philip Rivers steps up, and the middle of the pocket is what we wanted to own, and we didn't get there often enough and Philip made plays. When we did get there (and put him) under duress, he made a couple of nice throws and they made plays and they moved the sticks and we'd go back to first down. We threw everything at them, and he out-executed us.
"A lot of the veteran quarterbacks in the NFL - Peyton (Manning), Eli (Manning), all the ones we are about to face, (Alex) Smith - they all are (tough to blitz). (We use) the illusion of blitz, the blitz and they keep picking it up. Our three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush, six-man - we threw everything at them and tried to change it up, and we bluffed blitzes and fell back and Philip had a better day than we did."
Rivers threw for 419 yards and three touchdown passes without an interception. The Chargers gained a total of 539 yards of offense. The Eagles were without starting cornerback Bradley Fletcher due to a concussion suffered Monday night against Washington. Brandon Boykin started on the outside. Brandon Hughes played on the outside in nickel, but he suffered a hamstring injury. The Eagles utilized a safety in the slot instead of putting in a third cornerback.
"Through the course of the game we had multiple injuries and nicks in the secondary," Davis said. "We were changing up who was where at all times because (defensive backs coach John) Lovett kept telling me, 'Hey, Patrick Chung is at nickel,' and he was just putting out fires left and right. Brandon Boykin was down for a time. Hughes was down for a time, so we were trying to make sure that we had everyone lined up and playing the right defense."
The Chargers led the Eagles in terms of total plays (79 to 59), as well as time of possession (40:17 to 19:43). San Diego also did a good job of extending drives, converting 10-of-15 third-down conversion attempts.
"That's our fault," Davis explained. "We've got to get ourselves off the field. That's the one thing about defensive football - you get yourselves off the field, you get your rest. We weren't making the plays in the second half on third down. In the first half we didn't make the plays on first down. We've got to collectively fix that and play better. It has to get better."
The Eagles are faced with a very short week, as the Kansas City Chiefs come to town on Thursday night. Moving forward, Davis said that the defense needs to improve and that the coaching staff will make sure that the best defense possible is the one that shows up on the field.
"The whole defense has a lot of room to improve, obviously," Davis noted. "We said it last week when we were happy with that performance. This week we came up short. There's still a lot of work to be done, and we've said that since day one that we're going to see who we are. Week one was a picture. This painted another picture for us and we have to work our tails off and get these things fixed so we can get off the field and get that offense the ball.
"We'll continue to evaluate all the guys. Right now, we've got two live games under our belt and we'll put it together and as we move forward, we'll see who the best options are at all positions. Some guys have good days, some have bad (days). We've got to make sure that we get the best 11 out there as often as we can."
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