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Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal dives for a touchdown during the first half of the Eagles' 33-30 loss to San Diego. (AP)
Ten random observations from the Eagles’ 33-30 loss to the Chargers Sunday at the Linc:
● I wrote this last week after the win over Washington: “This secondary still scares me.” And it still scares me. More than ever. Last year’s secondary was one of the worst in NFL history. Against this one RG3 threw for 276 in the second half Monday night, and Philip Rivers threw for 419 Sunday, third-most ever against the Eagles. That’s 695 passing yards and six touchdown passes allowed in the last six quarters. The Eagles did force a couple red-zone turnovers, which is encouraging. That’s something they didn’t do last year. But other than that, they had no chance to stop the Chargers. This is the first time in 25 years and only the second time in franchise history the first two quarterbacks they’ve faced have thrown for 300 yards. They still have Eli and Romo twice, Peyton, etc. Young guys like Earl Wolff and Brandon Boykin give you hope, but two games in, it’s tough to find any improvement over last year.
● One more note on the Eagles’ defense: The Eagles have allowed 768 passing yards, the sixth-most allowed in NFL history after two games, behind the 2011 Patriots (926), 1962 Broncos (812), 2000 Rams (812), 2011 Panthers (807) and 1994 Patriots (789). Worse than last year. Which shouldn’t be possible.
● Not enough has been said about Michael Vick’s remarkable ability to function at an extremely high level in a system that was totally foreign to him when Chip Kelly got here. Think about it. He’s 33 years old, 12 years removed from his rookie year, playing under his fifth NFL head coach, and he’s been spectacular for the most part. Yeah, he’s missed a few receivers, notably DeSean Jackson deep a couple times against the Chargers on Sunday, but it’s hard to imagine the numbers could be any better through two games: 37-for-60 for 625 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 119.1 passer rating. Any thought that Vick wouldn’t be able to run this system can safely be put to rest.
● Speaking of Earl Wolff, he got far more playing time Sunday than he did Monday night in Washington, and he hung in there. He’s still going to make mistakes, but does Nate Allen have upside at this point? Wolff at least is a sure tackle and seems to take the right angle on the ball, two things that Allen has struggled with. Wolff might not be ahead of Allen in every area right now, but he’s certainly got more upside. Time to make Wolff the full-time starter and see what the kid can do. Time to move on.
● Was shocked how little pass rush the Eagles were able to get on the Chargers. Rivers dropped back 48 times and was sacked just once, by Connor Barwin. In the second half, Rivers threw 30 times and wasn’t sacked. Rivers was hit a few times but for the most part had plenty of time to stand in the pocket and find the open guy, which wasn’t that hard for him to do. And that’s an offensive line with King Dunlap at left tackle. I expected the Eagles’ front seven to hound Rivers all day.
● Nice to see rookie tight end Zach Ertz get involved Sunday with catches of 27 and 31 yards. This rookie class is awfully promising, and you can see how much of a matchup problem Ertz is with his speed. Yeah, he’s dropped a few passes here and there, but he’s going to be a stud.
● I wrote last week that I was a little bit concerned about kicker Alex Henery, and his 46-yard miss just before halftime Sunday turned out to be the margin of defeat. Henery has been very good throughout his career, but there’s still that feeling of uncertainty you get when he lines up to make a big kick. It just doesn’t feel like he’s a proven big-time kicker yet, and misses like the one Sunday don’t help. When Nick Novak lined up for the game-winning 46-yarder, everybody in the stadium knew he was going to make it.
● The Chargers are a passing team, but they were able to run the ball well enough to keep the chains and clock moving. That’s exactly what opposing offenses are going to try to do against the Eagles. The Chargers had 31 rushes for 126 yards. Not huge numbers, but they had possession for over 40 minutes. Any time you can keep the Eagles’ offense off the field and their defense on the field, it’s a victory.
● Can’t say this enough: DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are two of the scariest players in the NFL. It was a shame to see their remarkable performances wasted. Jackson caught nine for 193 Sunday, and Shady had 114 yards receiving and 53 rushing. Just not enough.
● I predicted before the season that Vick would start all 16 games. I figured behind this offensive line and with the quick passing game, the hits would be reduced. That hasn’t been the case yet. He’s taking a ton of shots, and at the rate he’s going, I wonder if he’ll survive to the bye week.