The Washington Times - November 14, 2013, 09:34AM

The Redskins prepared all summer for it. They were ready. Or so they thought. Instead, the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles quickly turned into a nightmare.

Head coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense isn’t unheard of in the NFL. Plenty of other teams are willing to push the tempo, the Redskins included. But not at the rate the Eagles do. It’s one thing to watch hours of college film to see what Kelly did at the University of Oregon. It’s another to see similar schemes run with playmakers like running back LeSean McCoy, quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.


In the first half of that 33-27 loss on Sept. 9, Philadelphia ran an astonishing 53 plays in the first half alone. The shocked Redskins, ahead 7-0 just 3:06 into the game thanks to a DeAngelo Hall fumble return, were instead down 33-7 just 1:34 into the second half. Hall’s interception, an Alfred Morris fumble and a safety – plus a shaky Washington offense – all helped keep the defense chained to the field. It didn’t go well.

“We didn’t even get a chance to get together as a defense until halftime really to make adjustments to how we wanted to change up what we were doing,” middle linebacker London Fletcher said. “I think it was a combination of us just really, finally getting a chance to talk as a defense and then making some adjustment and understanding what they were doing and how they were doing it and getting used to their tempo.”

This weekend the Redskins will see if their adjustments have any affect. Instead of Vick, who has a lingering hamstring injury, it will be Nick Foles at quarterback. But the second-year pro has 11 touchdown passes in his last two games. He presents a different challenge, but Philadelphia has used the threat of McCoy to set up huge passing plays downfield. But the tempo won’t be much different. Washington vows to be ready this time.

“Not unprepared at all, no,” safety Reed Doughty insisted. “They run up-tempo. They got us on our heels early, and once you’re down a few scores, it was hard to come back against an offense like that because it opens up everything and it takes away our ability to run the ball. We’re definitely gonna have to start off on a better foot this time.”

The Eagles ran 53 plays in the first half, the most allowed by the Redskins in a half this season, but just 24 in the second half as Washington rallied. The following week against Green Bay, the Redskins allowed 43 plays in the first half and 70 overall. They’ve done much better getting the opposition off the field since that game. Detroit ran 66 plays, Oakland 65, Dallas 50, Chicago 52, San Diego 63 and Minnesota 52. The outlier? Denver, which was held to 30 plays in the first half but posted 50 in the second as the Broncos overcame a 14-point deficit and blew the game open in the fourth quarter.