Extra Points: The 'old dog' teaches 'the innovator' some new tricks

11:04 AM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The drunken fans who got into a melee just under the press box at Lincoln Financial Field during the third quarter on Thursday night showed a lot more fight than the Philadelphia Eagles in Andy Reid's return to town.

Reid proved to the world you can indeed teach an old dog a few new tricks, leading his Kansas City Chiefs to a relatively easy 26-16 win over the club he spent the previous 14 seasons coaching.

"Big Red" played down his return trip to Philadelphia like only he can. Armed with his trusty book of cliches, Reid tried to make the Chiefs' visit to the City of Brotherly Love nothing more than your average Week 3 NFL game.

"In this business you're focused in on getting your team ready to play, and so that's where my energy is going to go," Reid said earlier in the week. "I haven't really thought about that other part at all. I don't necessarily plan on thinking about that. I want to make sure I concentrate on the game at hand and anything else becomes a distraction and I'm not going to let that happen."

"Anything else" was what this game was about, though, and to his credit Reid took his team on the road in the midst of all the hoopla during a short week and had them far better prepared than his flavor of the month counterpart, Chip Kelly.

After the notorious Philadelphia fans, who have a well-chronicled love-hate relationship with Reid, showed him some Brotherly Love with a standing ovation pre-game, Kansas City went to work and surpassed its entire 2012 win total as it forced five turnovers in the triumph over the Eagles.

Jamaal Charles carried the ball 20 times for 92 yards and a touchdown and added seven receptions for 80 yards, Donnie Avery punished the Birds with short drag routes, hauling in seven receptions for 141 yards and Alex Smith completed 22-of-35 passes for 273 yards in the victory.

Defensively, Justin Houston did his best Lawrence Taylor impression, totaling 3 1/2 sacks, four tackles for losses, four quarterback hits, three passes defensed and a forced fumble.

"We wanted to win the game for coach Reid," Houston said, "but we also really wanted to win one for ourselves as well. We want to keep up the great motivation and keep winning games we play. This was a nice team win."

Michel Vick, who regards Reid as a father figure and the man who gave him not only a second chance in football but also in life, was in a giving mood, completing just 13-of-30 passed for 201 yards with two interceptions and a fumble.

"I wasn't amped at all. I wasn't caught up in the hype and what was going on," Vick said. "It was just another football game. I tried to approach it that way, and I didn't look at it any different. They were just the better team tonight. We didn't execute at all on offense. We didn't do the things that we're capable of, and it hurt our football team."

After the final seconds ticked off Reid, the winningest coach in Eagles history, received a much-deserved Gatorade bath and showed uncharacteristic emotion.

"I appreciate the fans and the support that they gave," Reid said. "I appreciated it when I was here, I appreciated it from them again today, that was very kind of them, and I appreciated the Chiefs fans that were here.

"It's a good win."

And a satisfying one.

Remember this is a guy who piloted the Eagles to 140 wins, notching six NFC East division titles along the way with five NFC Championship Game appearances, and a Super Bowl berth before family problems kicked in and familiarity began to breed contempt.

He gave his heart, his soul and perhaps even his oldest son, who succumbed to a drug overdose at training camp in 2012, to the Philadelphia Eagles.

And you can talk about shelf life all you want but at the end of the day Reid was fired by the franchise he built and that stings.

"I know he has a lot of love for his Eagles, he worked there a lot of years and he probably wishes he was still coaching there," Charles admitted.

I'm not so sure about that. After all, Kansas City is the city with the great BBQ and Pro Bowl-caliber talent at every level on defense. And perhaps more importantly, the Chiefs wanted Reid and his every move isn't followed by a series of snarky Tweets criticizing his clock management skills, mocking his weight or ripping his now almost legendary disdain for the running game.

Success breeds selfishness and a distinct lack of perspective.

Before Andy, the Eagles weren't exactly a franchise steeped in a winning tradition. Sure Dick Vermeil and Buddy Ryan had small spurts of success but the city was far more familiar with the coaching inadequacies of people like Joe Kuharich, Jerry Williams, Ed Khayat, Mike McCormack, Marion Campbell and Rick Kotite.

As badly as things ended for Reid in Philadelphia, time will eventually heal all the wounds and he will be recognized for what he was with the Eagles -- a great football coach.

That doesn't mean the fans and the organization aren't hoping Kelly doesn't end up being a little bit better, though.

Reid, a witty, even cantankerous fellow behind the scenes, was a curmudgeon in public, often coming off as arrogant and aloof to a fan base that lived and died with his teams.

He started all his press conferences by running down his team's injuries before clearing his throat and saying "Time's yours" to the assembled media. No matter how many questions were asked or how you asked them, the most you ever get out of Andy was "I have to do a better job."

He was just protecting his organization and its players but his manner turned off many in Philadelphia who circled this game as a de facto Super Bowl in a rebuilding year.

Then a funny thing happened. Kelly unveiled his offense in the Eagles' opener at Washington and heads spun as rebuild quickly morphed in to "hey, maybe we can contend in a watered down NFC East."

Games against San Diego and the Chiefs were now afterthoughts, chalked up as wins before an even funnier thing occurred -- College Chip's honeymoon lasted all of six days and probably should have spanned just two quarters.

The Redskins turned a sure blowout into a game late before San Diego seized on Kelly's own clock management deficiencies as well as his porous secondary for an upset win.

Kansas City and Reid then followed that up Thursday with a dominating performance marred even further by Kelly's goofy swinging gate conversion attempt after a first-quarter TD.

Reid punctuated things by taking over the play-calling from offensive coordinator Doug Pederson just in time for the game-deciding drive in the fourth quarter, a marathon 15-play march which lasted over eight minutes.

It was Andy's way of giving the middle finger to his detractors, tweaking them even further by leaning on Charles.

"Well it was big," Reid said of the last crucial drive. "Our runner (Charles), who is a Pro Bowl player, I mean he played like a Pro Bowl player -- he ran the ball well, he caught the ball well when we needed it down the stretch, he really pushed it hard."

To the bipolar in Philly, Kelly went from Vince Lombardi to Kotite in the span of 11 days.

History will eventually record -- like most coaches -- he is somewhere in between.

One thing is for certain, though, he's no Andy Reid -- at least not yet.

"Fourteen years, is 14 years," Reid surmised. "That's a long time especially for a chubby, old guy. I enjoyed every minute here; I'm enjoying my time in Kansas City. I don't know -- it's all kind of settling in right now, not sure exactly how I feel other than I'm glad we won the game."

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