No rule of thumb for Chip Kelly's decision to kick 60-yard FG at end of first half

No rule of thumb for Chip Kelly's decision to kick 60-yard FG at end of first half

Fans were less than enthused with Chip Kelly’s decision to attempt a 60-yard field goal during the Eagles 17-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. “Charlie College,” they called him on the blogosphere and talk radio airwaves, insinuating that the brains behind a college football revolution struggles to grasp basic NFL strategy.

Turns out, there’s not much of a rule of thumb here. Only four times in the last five years (2,560 games) had a coach faced what Kelly did on Sunday: fourth-and-1 between an opponent’s 40 and 45 yard line with under one minute to go in the first half.  (And those parameters are a bit generous. For Kelly, only 14 seconds remained. If we didn't expand our conditions beyond 15 seconds, our sample size would be only two.)

Granted, none of the four coaches in that scenario over the span trotted out the field goal unit – twice they punted, twice they went for it (both times, unsuccessfully). But it would seem that proclaiming “that’s not what you do THERE!” is a bit baseless, given that “there” is a place mostly unseen.

I get it. Best-case scenario: Henery does what Kelly and Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said he’d been doing throughout pregame and plants a seed through the uprights to even the score, 3-3. Worst-case scenario: Henery’s kick is blocked/short and is returned for a touchdown or, even worse, simply misses and the Cowboys muster a touchdown scoring drive and game-changing momentum.

(Going for it doesn't make much sense. Run, and you move only marginally closer and face basically the same field goal attempt. 60. 57. Tomato, tomato. Throw, and you have to trust Foles to not throw a pick/get strip sacked on a day where Foles was, um, less than trustworthy.)

So, people rationalized, Kelly should have punted, lived to fight another day. Even if that is the supposed opposite of Chip Kelly Football – if there is such a thing anymore.

That's kind of the point here: isn't that Kelly's schtick? Aggressiveness? Trusting his guys? Calculated risks? And outside of the lack of winning/franchise quarterbacking, hasn't the biggest complaint of the Chip Kelly Era been any real semblence to, you know, Chip Kelly? Or any discernible identity?

The underlying psychology is simple. The team looked bad in the first half. Against the Cowboys. Fans were upset. Henery's a punching bag. The call was questionable. It wasn’t mitigated with a make -- let alone a win.

But when you bash a call like that and play the "Charlie College" card, remember what you're really asking for: Chip Kelly to not be Chip Kelly, even in the slightest sense of his supposed nature.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MKH973 Catch him every Saturday from 12-2 on 97.3 ESPN-FM.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed the Canucks to come back in their second game of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in goaltender Michal Neuvirth, after he allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. The goaltender started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. The Flyers started scoring as Simmonds tipped in Gostisbehere’s point shot during a power play.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?