Eagles Win in Chip Kelly’s NFL Debut as Texans Overcome Chargers

The Philadelphia Eagles held on for a 33-27 win over the Washington Redskins in Chip Kelly’s National Football League coaching debut, and the Houston Texans erased a 21-point deficit in a 31-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers to cap the opening week of the regular season.

Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes and also rushed for a score for the Eagles, who took a 33-7 lead last night at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and held on for the win.

Kelly replaced Andy Reid as the Eagles’ coach during the offseason after leading the University of Oregon to four straight Bowl Championship Series games with a fast-paced offense that averaged 44.7 points during his tenure. The Eagles ran 53 plays during the first half last night -- the most in the NFL since 1991 -- and finished with 77.

“I had a lot of fun tonight and I think our guys had a lot of fun, but you’re always going to say that when you win,” Kelly said at a news conference. “It’s a big victory because it’s in the division, but it’s just one victory. We’ve got a short week and we’ve got to get back to work.”

The Texans then erased a 28-7 second-half deficit in San Diego, where the visitors won on a 41-yard field goal by Randy Bullock as time expired. Matt Schaub threw two of his three touchdown passes in the second half for Houston and linebacker Brian Cushing returned an interception 18 yards for the tying score with nine minutes, 38 seconds left.

“In the second half we found a way,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said in a televised interview. “Even though it looked like all the odds were against us, nobody got down, nobody got worried, we all just fought.”

Bizarre Half

The Eagles raced out to a 26-7 halftime lead after what Kelly said was a “bizarre” first half.

Philadelphia outgained the Redskins 322-75 in total yardage and 21-3 in first downs over the first 30 minutes, while Washington’s first touchdown came after an incomplete backward pass by Vick that was ruled a fumble.

Vick, who said he’d lost confidence following a 2012 season in which he went 3-7 as a starter and suffered a concussion, completed 15-of-25 passes for 203 yards while rushing for 54 yards on nine carries. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.

In addition to a field goal and safety in the first half, Vick threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, a 28-yarder to Brent Celek and also added a 3-yard touchdown run. McCoy weaved through the Redskins defense for a 34-yard touchdown run on the Eagles’ first drive of the third quarter, putting the visitors ahead 33-7.

Redskins’ Rally

The Redskins then rallied behind quarterback Robert Griffin III, who missed the preseason while recovering from January knee surgery. Albert Morris ran for a 5-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the third quarter and the Redskins got within 33-27 as Griffin threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Leonard Hankerson.

The second came with just over a minute remaining and the Eagles recovered the ensuing onsides kick to seal the victory.

Griffin completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 24 yards.

The Chargers scored a touchdown 15 seconds into last night’s game and opened a 21-point advantage behind four scoring passes from quarterback Philip Rivers.

The Texans, who entered the season as the sixth Super Bowl favorite among oddsmakers, then rallied behind Schaub, who threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Graham in the third quarter and a 9-yard scoring strike to Owen Daniels 16 seconds into the final quarter.

Cushing made a diving interception of Rivers midway through the fourth quarter and then got to his feet and raced to the end zone for the tying score. Schaub, who had 346 yards passing, connected on all four of his pass attempts on the Texans’ final drive to set up Bullock’s winning kick.

Houston held a 449-263 advantage in total yards.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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