PHILADELPHIA — For all their quick strikes and fast scores, the most impressive drive by the Philadelphia Eagles this year was one that resulted in no points.
Holding a 27-13 lead over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, the Eagles got the ball at their own 8 with 9:32 left in the game. They never gave it back, running out the clock with an old-school, grind-it-out approach unusual for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.
“It was huge, especially in that situation at Lambeau Field,” quarterback Nick Foles said Thursday. “Our o-line did a great job blocking. They knew we were going to run the ball and we were able to run the ball. It was great for us an offense to be able to march it down the field and run out the clock. That’s how you win games.”
The Eagles usually waste little time reaching the end zone. None of Philadelphia’s 28 touchdown drives has taken longer than 3:58. Twelve lasted less than 90 seconds, and eight were under one minute, including six of which that were for more than 50 yards.
It makes that final drive against the Packers stand out even more.
“That’s part of being a sound offense,” Kelly said. “I’ve said that since Day One. You have to be a good two-minute offense, you have to be a good four-minute offense. Again, I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what we want to do. We want to win football games. We did the same thing against Tampa Bay and ran the clock out. We were fortunate enough to do it with 9:32, take the ball over. You either want to score in that situation or you want to run as much clock as you possibly can. I think it’s a credit to the backs, a credit to the quarterback and really to the offensive line and the tight ends in that situation.”
The Eagles ran 12 plays, moved 78 yards and gained six first downs before Foles took a knee three times to run off the final two minutes. LeSean McCoy carried eight times for 50 yards on the drive. Bryce Brown ran twice for 11 yards. Foles threw just one pass, an 8-yard completion to James Casey on third-and-7. Foles also ran for a 9-yard gain.
A false start penalty on right tackle Lane Johnson actually helped Philadelphia extend the drive because it negated a no-gain run by McCoy on third-and-2. Foles followed that with the pass to Casey.
“When we needed to drive the ball and ice the game out, we did that,” McCoy said. “We needed to make a play, we did that. I think the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. The backs we have, if you give us a 1-on-1 opportunity with a linebacker, defensive end or a safety, nine times out of 10, we’re going to make them miss.”
Long drives can be grueling on offensive players and defensive guys, but it was a break for the Eagles because they’re used to Kelly’s fast-paced, no-huddle style.
“It’s actually cooler because you would think a long drive like that we would get tired, but you actually don’t,” McCoy said. “When you actually slow down, it’s like a huddle, and we haven’t huddled since probably last year.”