The Eagles have been a team of two halves so far this season. Last week, Jacksonville outscored them by 17 in the first half only to watch the Eagles roar back for 34; this week, the Eagles allowed 17 first-half points again, this time to the Colts, before scoring 24 in the second half.
Monday night, head coach Chip Kelly told reporters that he was happy with the way his team improved in the final two quarters of their 30-27 win over Indianapolis, but that his team cannot afford to keep playing this way.
"Hopefully we've got this out of our system," Kelly said Monday night of his team's first half. "We need to come out in the first half and execute."
Last week, Kelly said that the difference between the first half and the second half for the Eagles was simply execution: quarterback Nick Foles started hitting his targets with ease and the defense shut the Jaguars down. But after Monday night's game, Kelly admitted that his defense needed to make adjustments at halftime to stifle the Colts' surprising running game.
"They did some things that they hadn't shown before," Kelly explained of the Colts' offense. He said that he gives Indianapolis a lot of credit, especially Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, a former Kelly rival from theiri mutual days in the Pac-12, when Hamilton ran the Stanford offense.
"He ran some unbalanced lines," Kelly continued, "coming back to the shortside, they did some different things and really challenged our defense."
Kelly's offense, though, just needed to keep working at it, just like last week, especially with the screen game that eventually proved so effective Monday night.
"The screen pass, we felt like we had that all game long," Kelly said. "Either the pocket was collapsing around [the Eagles] or [the Colts] were doing a good job of coverage down the field."
In the second half, however, the Eagles' passing game solidified as the offensive line was able to hold off the Colts' exhausted pass rushers and running back Darren Sproles made light of the screen passes.
Sproles' 51-yard reception late in the fourth quarter set up wide receiver Jeremy Maclin's game-tying touchdown catch, a big play that stemmed from the Eagles' insistence on finding screen passes. As the game wore on, the opportunities opened up for Kelly's offense, and the Eagles converted at the right times.
Kelly joked after the game that Sproles, who he has said on many occassions he considers a running back first and foremost, is "a receiver, and I've said that since day one." The quip drew laughs from reporters before Kelly lauded Sproles, who played a well-rounded game Monday night and was one of the team's most consistent performers from the first quarter to the final whistle.
"He's just a special player," Kelly said. "How many different ways can we find to get him the football? He's just a dynamic football player and we're really excited to have him."
It took a few adjustments and a lot of determination, but the Eagles managed their second comeback win in a row and now sit atop the NFC East at 2-0 heading into Week 3.
And Kelly, while wary of playing the comeback game for a third straight time, said he's proud of the way this team played a full game.
"We felt we had some plays (in the first half), we just couldn't make them," said. "But we're going to play 60 minutes and we played 60 minutes."