October 11, 2015
Just before halftime Sunday against the Saints, Fletcher Cox forced his first Drew Brees fumble of the game. And at some point between that play and the end of the officials' review, the Eagles bench drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which backed the Eagles up out of field goal range.
Luckily for the Eagles, they were still able to get into Caleb Sturgis' range and take a 10-7 lead at the break -- although those points didn't have much of an impact on the outcome of the game.
After the game, head coach Chip Kelly was asked about the penalty -- one of four committed by the Eagles in their 39-17 win -- and admitted that the call was on him.
"Yeah. I got a penalty," Kelly said when asked who drew the flag.
But when asked what specifically he said, the coach didn't feel it was appropriate to share with the media.
"Something that you're not allowed to do because you get a penalty for," he added, not willing to get into the specifics of what was said.
I went back and watched the play, the ensuing review and the lead up to the next play, but was unable to find any footage of Chip yelling at a ref. You can, however, see the referee tell Sam Bradford, Allen Barbre and Jason Peters that the call was on their coach as he walked off the 15-yard penalty.
It was strange, considering the Eagles were on the winning side of that specific review. But if I had to venture a guess, it would be this: Kelly was not happy with the series of events that forced the Eagles to punt just a few plays earlier.
On third and five, Sam Bradford hit Jordan Matthews for a big first down, but the play was called back due to offsetting penalties -- offensive pass interference on Matthews and a face mask by Saints on the tackle. So they replayed third down, and Bradford's pass to Darren Sproles was broken up by Kenny Vaccaro.
There was a flag on the field, in the vicinity of the play, and it looked like Vaccaro got to Sproles before the ball did. However, the refs decided to pick the flag up -- by my count it was the third time the refs had a change of heart after throwing a PI flag -- and the Eagles were forced to punt.
On one of those plays, there were two flags in the area of the intended receiver, and still the refs decided against calling the penalty. Honestly, the officiating crew did not have the best day Sunday, no matter which team you were rooting for.
"I mean, it is what it is," Kelly said when asked about the flags being picked up. "I mean, if they discuss it and they don't think it's a penalty, then it's not a penalty."
I'm still not exactly sure what set Chip off, but I'd be willing to bet it had something to do with that...