Generally, a player or coach making his NFL debut experiences a "welcome to the NFL" moment. On Monday night, the NFL had its "Welcome to Chip Kelly" moment.
The new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles made his NFL debut against Washington on "Monday Night Football" and his up-tempo offense lived up to its advanced billing. With Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson leading the charge, Kelly's new-look Eagles looked a bit like Kelly's look-fast-or-you'll-miss-them Oregon Ducks, especially during the Bolt-paced first half of their 33-27 win.
"I've never been a part of anything like it," Vick said of the breakneck pace. "When the first quarter was over, I thought we was about to go into halftime. It was unreal. The only thing I could tell myself was, 'It's going to be a long season.'"
After firing longtime head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles hired Kelly away from Oregon. With his innovative attack shredding Pac 12 defenses, Kelly's Ducks went 46-7 in his four seasons and made four BCS appearances. Last season, they topped 50 points on seven occasions and 40 points in all but two games. Sporting their flashy Nike uniforms, the Duck ran 1,077 plays in just 13 games during the 2012 season, which would have ranked as the seventh most plays by an NFL team playing 16 games, per ESPN Stats & Info. Although it remains to be seen how NFL defenses will adjust to this style over the long haul, the early returns were certainly positive -- and fun to watch.
Here are some of the staggering statistics, images and highlights from Kelly's first game in the NFL:
- The Eagles ran out to a 26-7 lead by halftime and had run 53 plays by the intermission. To put that in context, the Carolina Panthers ran fewer plays in four quarters on Sunday, per ESPN Stats & Info.
- The only points that Washington managed in the first half were also generated by the Eagles' offense.
- During that first half, Kelly's offense led RG3's group in total yards 146-3 at one point. Playing at Kelly's preferred pace, the Eagles offense ran a play every 22.4 seconds in the first half, per Phil Sheridan of ESPN.
- The Eagles scored offensive touchdowns of 34, 28 and 25 yards, making Chip Kelly just the third NFL head coach whose team score three touchdowns of 25 or more yards in his debut, according to Elias.
- Kelly had his offense line up in this unorthodox three-man line formation -- and then ran the ball up the middle.
- Kelly brought some famous faces with him to the sideline.
- As noted by The Associated Press, Philly's edge in total yards (322-75) and first downs (21-3) at halftime looked like something from Kelly's days at Oregon.
- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick completed 15 of 25 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed nine times for 54 yards and a score. Perhaps most impressively, he didn't throw a single interception.
- LeSean McCoy looked quite comfortable in Kelly' system, rushing for 184 yards on 31 carries. The Eagles' running back came up a yards shy of his career high in yards but vaulted to the top of the league's rush rankings and delivered one of the most breathtaking highlights of Week 1.
Gotta love the Eagles under Chip Kelly: pic.twitter.com/niOoB3xXL2
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 10, 2013
After racing out to a 33-7 lead, Kelly took his foot off the gas pedal and Washington mounted a rally that nearly went from cosmetic to incredible. After more drama then seemed likely a quarter earlier, the Eagles held on for a 33-27 win.
When he met with reporters on Tuesday, Kelly shared one complaint he had with his team's offensive performance.
"I thought it was slow."