You have to be on your game. You have to make sure you don't give Peyton Manning good field position. I felt like we were fighting. But football is also a team game and you've got to be able to put it all together. —Michael Vick, Eagles quarterback
DENVER — This was the type of precision, pace and offensive production that Chip Kelly envisioned bringing to Philadelphia.
Only the first-year Eagles coach had to watch the show from across the field.
When Peyton Manning is operating like this, well, there's not much a defense can do. Manning threw four touchdown passes as the Denver Broncos scored more points than they ever had in team history Sunday, beating the Eagles 52-20.
"He just frustrates you," Kelly said. "Maybe at the end of the season we will break down the Broncos tape and look at what he does."
For now, the Eagles (1-3) simply want to move on as fast as possible, try to get back on track after dropping three straight.
"If you would've told me at the beginning, before we started the season, that we would be 1-3 right now, I would've called you a liar," LeSean McCoy said. "Just got to get it together. Can't panic. Tons of games left."
The Eagles can take comfort in this: opposing defenses have yet to figure out a solution. The Broncos (4-0) have scored 179 points in their first four games, with only the 1966 Dallas Cowboys (183) scoring more.
Manning didn't even play the fourth quarter, his work done after picking apart the Philadelphia secondary to the tune of 327 yards.
Even when the Eagles thought they had the perfect defense, Manning would audible at the line and uncover a weak spot.
"That's his job," defensive end Fletcher Cox said. "He may be one of the greatest guys playing the game right now. I think he did a great job of just handling all the situations."
Cary Williams was with Baltimore last January, when the Ravens eliminated the Broncos in the playoffs on their way to a Super Bowl title. This version of Manning hardly resembled the one Williams saw on that bitterly cold day.
Manning has rarely been sharper, completing 28 of 34 passes with two TDs each to Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas. Manning now has 16 touchdowns, joining Milt Plum in 1960 as the only quarterbacks to throw that many touchdown passes without an interception.
"He's a savvy veteran," Williams said. "He's seen it all. ... They were the better team — clearly."
The Eagles actually had the ball longer than the Broncos in the first half, picked up more first downs and gained more yards. Didn't matter, though, as the Broncos led 21-13 at the break.
Part of that had to do with special teams as Trindon Holliday returned a kick 105 yards for a score in the opening quarter, one of two breakdowns the Eagles had on the day. They also had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter, with Steven Johnson scooping it up for a 17-yard touchdown.
"You have to be on your game. You have to make sure you don't give Peyton Manning good field position," Michael Vick said. "I felt like we were fighting. But football is also a team game and you've got to be able to put it all together."
Like Manning, Vick sat out much of the fourth quarter. Philly was simply too far back for his left arm or speedy wheels to rally the team back into the game. Vick finished 14 of 27 for 248 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and ran eight times for 41 yards.
"We just didn't click today," McCoy explained. "I thought for a while we were rolling. We just didn't get it done, as simple as that."
McCoy said the thin air of the Mile High City got to him several times as he struggled to find his wind.
Just imagine how the defense felt, chasing receivers all over the field. The trio of Thomas, Welker and Eric Decker combined for 21 catches for 250 yards.
"Peyton, he's their offensive coordinator," Cox said. "If he sees something, he's going to check away from it for something that's good for them."1 comment on this story
The way Manning and the Broncos ran their offense was precisely how the Eagles want to operate, right?
"I don't want to say like them. This is Eagle football," McCoy said. "When we run our offense, we're making plays at a fast tempo, putting points up. That's the way I envision that."
Notes: Asked if he's contemplating benching Vick, Kelly said: "No. Not at all." ... WR DeSean Jackson was held to two catches for 34 yards. ... Backup QB Nick Foles was 3 for 4 for 49 yards and a TD in relief of Vick.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org