NFL Team Report - Philadelphia Eagles - INSIDE SLANT
Now the Philadelphia Eagles know what an efficient, fast-pace offense really looks like. And it wasn't the one installed by their new head coach, Chip Kelly, and run by quarterback Michael Vick.
Once he got going Sunday, Peyton Manning revved up the Denver Broncos' quick-strike offense to a fever pitch.
Manning threw three of his four touchdown passes in the third quarter to break open a close game, and the Broncos went on to beat the Eagles 52-20 Sunday for a club-record 15th consecutive regular-season win dating to last year.
"We were motivated to be on top of our game offensively, to score points, touchdowns, not field goals, and I thought we did that today," Manning said after the runaway victory over first-year coach Chip Kelly's Eagles, who came in with the league's second-ranked offense behind Denver.
"Their offense was capable of scoring points. Our defense just did a heck of a job answering their challenge."
Denver's Trindon Holliday returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, and linebacker Steven Johnson blocked a punt and returned it 17 yards for another score as the Broncos (4-0) broke a 50-year-old team record for points in a game. Their previous high was 50 against the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 6, 1963.
"Might have to give old Thunder an IV after this one," Manning said with a smile, referring to the team's mascot, a white horse that rides from one end of the field to the other after each Denver score.
Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker each caught two touchdown passes from Manning, who threw four touchdown passes in a game for the 24th time in his career, an NFL record. He has 16 touchdown passes through four games without throwing an interception, matching the NFL mark for the most scoring tosses without a pick from the beginning of a season. The Cleveland Browns' Milt Plum established the record in 1960, though his string stretch 10 games.
"Peyton was just being Peyton," Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox said. "He just changed plays based on our weaknesses that he saw. You've got to get to him. I jumped offside one time trying to get ahead, and that kind of frustrated me, but he does a lot of hard counts and you never know what he's going to do."
Manning completed 28 of 34 passes for 327 yards before giving way to understudy Brock Osweiler early in the fourth quarter. Manning was out of the game before Matt Prater kicked a 53-yard field goal for the Broncos' record-setting point total.
"We just didn't click today," said the Eagles' LeSean McCoy, who ran for 73 yards on 16 carries. "I thought for a while we were rolling and firing back, but we just didn't get it done. It's as simple as that."
Philadelphia's Vick completed 14 of 27 passes for 248 yards. He also ran eight times for 41 yards as the Eagles fell to 1-3. Nick Foles threw a 6-yard, fourth-quarter scoring pass to Jeff Maehl after the game was out of reach.
The Broncos led 21-13 at the break, then scored 21 third-quarter points on Manning's touchdown passes of 1 yard and 15 yards to Thomas and 4 yards to Welker.
Johnson then burst up the middle to block Donnie Jones' punt, scooping up the loose ball and going in for the score.
The Broncos, who closed last season by winning 11 straight before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, bolted to a 14-3 first-quarter lead.
Manning took the Broncos 74 yards on their opening possession, finishing off the break-neck, no-huddle drive with a 6-yard scoring pass to Welker.
The Eagles settled for a 35-yard field goal by Alex Henery for their first score after Brent Celek dropped a third-down pass from Vick.
The Broncos answered even before their quick-strike offense could get its hands on the ball. Sprung by blocks from David Bruton and Joel Dreessen, Holliday broke through for his third regular-season kick return for a touchdown, a Broncos team record, to put Denver up 14-3.
Holliday dodged a diving Henery at midfield and sprinted into the clear, going untouched along the left sideline to tie his own franchise record for the longest kick return.
The Eagles scored the next 10 points, pulling within a point of the Broncos on Henery's second field goal, a 25-yarder, and Chris Polk's 4-yard touchdown run. However, that proved to be as close as the Eagles could get.
Denver boosted the lead to eight points at the break after Knowshon Moreno capped a long drive with a 4-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the second quarter.
NFL Team Report - Philadelphia Eagles - NOTES, QUOTES
--QB Michael Vick moved past Sonny Jurgensen and into sixth in Eagles history with 9,849 passing yards
--RB Chris Polk scored a touchdown on his first-career carry, becoming the first Eagle to do so since Fred McCrary on 9/10/95 at Arizona
--RB LeSean McCoy's 468 rushing yards are the most ever by an Eagle through the first four games of the season.
The most points the Eagles allowed in a game was 62 to the New York Giants in 1972.
The Eagles have amassed 793 rushing yards in 2013, the team's highest output though their first four games ... They compiled 166 rushing yards on 35 attempts (4.7 average) against a Broncos team that came into the game allowing a league-low 43 rushing yards per game and 2.3 yards per carry
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to go back and keep fighting. We have to go back to the drawing board. We have to look at things we aren't doing well and get them corrected. We need to find a way to get momentum going and get it back. Everything can be corrected. We just need to find ways to get them corrected." -- quarterback Michael Vick
NFL Team Report - Philadelphia Eagles - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Like the Broncos, much has been made about the Eagles' fast-paced offense installed by first-year coach Chip Kelly.
It came in as the league's second-ranked offense, behind Denver, but was left in the dust by the Broncos attack in the second half. And as the Eagles fell behind, the Broncos' defense applied more pressure, perhaps not knocking Michael Vick down but nevertheless being disruptive by getting in his face.
Kelly praised Vick's overall play and quickly ruled out any notion of a change at quarterback, saying instead that improved protection of Vick was the key to boosting offensive productivity.
The Eagles' special teams breakdowns have to be a cause for concern. A kickoff return for a touchdown and a blocked punt that was returned for another score produced a 14-point swing in favor of the Broncos and made it even harder to trade blows with a Denver offense that was rolling. Coach Chip Kelly said he'll make sure the Eagles make the adjustments necessary to tighten up special teams play in the future.