The Eagles were outsmarted by a savvy, veteran Sunday at the Linc. Philip Rivers showed he can still be an elite quarterback in handing the Birds a 33-30 loss in Chip Kelky's home debut.
The defense, which looked energized a week ago, was lifeless. Rivers attacked the secondary at will. The Eagles' defense literally couldn't get off the field.
"We have to get ourselves off the field," defensive coordinator Billy Davis said. "That is the thing about defensive football, you get yourself off the field and then you get rest. We were not making the plays in the second half on third down."
Several players were left scratching their heads after the game. Cornerback Cary Williams stared at the ground as he attempted to find a reason why. It was like the Chargers had stolen the defensive playbook prior to kickoff.
"It looked like they knew exactly what DeMeco [Ryans} was calling," Williams said. "It seemed like they were on to every play and every check that we made. Sometimes when you play a great quarterback, that happens."
Rivers was a maestro on the field as he threw for 419 yards and three scores. When the Chargers got the ball back with less than two minutes in the fourth quarter, there was no doubt they were going to score again. It was just a matter of whether it would be a game-winning touchdown or field goal. Rivers got the latter in a nine-play drive to spoil Kelly's first home game.
"Hats off to them for a good game — it came down to the wire but now we just have to move in to the next game," said safety Patrick Chung. "We played hard, I really feel like we played our hearts out."
The Eagles have little time to pout, with Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs coming to the Linc Thursday night.
"It's our third game in 11 days, but were conditioned for it," said quarterback Mike Vick.
Eagles-Chargers: What We Saw
The Eagles were clicking on offense, but the defense couldn't stop Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
We take a look at three things that went wrong for the Eagles:
1. Get off the field.
The Eagles' defense simply couldn't get off the field. Philip Rivers was playing catch with Antonio Gates all day, especially on third down where the Chargers converted a whopping 10-of-15 (67 percent). The defense has allowed 53 points in the last six quarters of football.
2. Don't make mistakes.
The Eagles shot themselves in the foot early and often. DeSean Jackson dropped a would-be touchdown on a deep go-route. James Casey let another TD slip through his fingers at the goal line. Lane Johnson's holding penalty negated another touchdown — and Jackson's late-hit penalty cost the team 15 yards and valuable field position late in the fourth quarter. Alex Henery also missed a 46-yard field goal to end the half.
3. Safety concerns.
The depth chart wasn't lying with this batch of safeties. Patrick Chung and the combo of Earl Wolff and Nate Allen isn't working. They looked confused on several plays, especialy Allen who was literally run over. Wolff was bailed out on a blown coverage when Antonio Gates dropped an easy TD in front of him. But, as Chip Kelky pointed out, there aren't any NFL safeties standing around on the street looking for jobs. The unit is what it is and the Eagles are going to have to hope this group improves as the season rolls along.