By Mark Saltveit
Chip Kelly has talked over the years about the one statistic he cares about (besides points), one that’s not generally tracked: points after turnovers.
“It’s not about winning the turnover battle. It’s about what your response is after the turnover,” he told Sirius XM Football Playbook.
I decided to see how the Eagles are doing so far this year, using game summaries and an Excel spreadsheet. The results are good and bad.
I counted the turnovers on downs in the second half of the New England game, though the Patriots garnered a total of 5 yards and no points from those two possessions combined. I did not count the fumbled field goal snap against New England, which ended up in the Eagles yielding on downs, because there were only seven seconds left in the half so it wasn’t a real possession for comparison purposes.
The good news is, the Eagles have been very stingy with yards and points after turnovers. Carolina scored a field goal after Chris Polk’s fumble, but the Eagles shut out the Patriots and Panthers on their four other turnovers. And those five turnovers have resulted in only 98 yards for opponents, with 72 of those coming on that one drive that finished with a field goal.
The bad news is that the Eagles have not forced a single turnover in two games, and they’ve given up five. Their tight defense has made turnovers a near-draw anyway, but that’s not good enough. Turnover margin and points after turnover was a major strength of Chip Kelly’s Ducks; perhaps you remember a kid named Casey Matthews stripping Cam Newton in the 2011 National Championship Game, and Oregon scoring a key touchdown (and two point conversion) that fueled their near-miss comeback. These Eagles have a long way to go to approach that level.
Be sure to follow Mark on Twitter. He knows Chip Kelly better than Marlon Favorite knows flying.