Chip Kelly’s decision to try for a 44-yard field goal with just under three minutes remaining in the Philadelphia Eagles 2015 debut wasn’t the problem. Yes, you’d think if there was one NFL coach who would might have gone for fourth-and-1 on his opponent’s 26-yard line while down two points, it’d be Kelly, particularly with how well his offense was moving in the second half. But there are certainly merits to keeping all your timeouts and going for a fairly easy field goal that would have given his Eagles a one-point lead. While not the wild-card move you’d expect from the freewheelin’ Chip Kelly, it was a perfectly reasonable play call.
No, the problem was that Kelly took far too long in deciding it. The indecision caused a rushed snap, hold and kick. It didn’t mean Cody Parkey’s boot was going to miss, but it didn’t help it.
Ryan Mathews was stuffed on third-and-1 with 3:08 left in the game. The 40-second play clock started immediately. Tick, tick. The offense lingered on the field. Sam Bradford looked toward Kelly, like he was expecting the “go for it” signal from the sideline. Tick, tick: Ten seconds had already elapsed. There were 30 seconds on the play clock.
Kelly conversed with special teams coach Dave Fipp and his kick unit. The coach moved his arms back and forth in an indecisive way, clearly unsure of what to do, even though it now appeared he’d kick the ball to take the lead. Tick, tick. At 27 seconds he seemed to make the decision to send on the field-goal unit, but he wasn’t sure about it. Confusion reigned. Tick, tick. At 23 seconds, the six-man unit finally starts its jog onto the field for the kick.
Tick, tick: The unit passed Bradford and his receivers, still quite close to the Eagles sideline with 19 seconds on the play clock. There wasn’t much rush. At 13 seconds, Parkey took his first warm-up kick, like a golfer stretching out with a waggle on the opening tee. At 10 seconds, he started marking off his distance while holder Donnie Jones got in position. Tick, tick.
It wasn’t until five seconds were left on the play clock that Parkey got fully set, though watching live it was clear he wasn’t comfortable. With three seconds left, the ball was snapped and it was wide-right immediately off the foot.