Hidden plays that helped the San Diego Chargers win against the Philadelphia Eagles

Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY S

In every football game, a handful of plays can change the entire shape of the game. Often, these are hidden - a penalty flag thrown or not thrown, an effort play in the open field, an incomplete pass, etc. all can change the entire scope and strategy for the game to come. We'll take a look at some of the hidden plays in the Chargers / Eagles contest.

Hidden Play #1 - Reggie Walker's hustle saves a TD

LeSean McCoy is a monster. A few plays after taking Reggie Walker's lunch money, throwing him in the dirt and telling him that his parents didn't love him, Shady did the same to Eric Weddle. Fortunately, McCoy's jaunt to the end zone was interrupted by Reggie, who chased him down from 30 yards away.

This rundown changed the game. What looks like a guaranteed 80 yard TD reception was cut short by an extreme effort play by Walker, and ultimately saved the Chargers four points when the defense forced the Eagles to kick a field goal in the red zone. Huge, huge play by Reggie.

Hidden Play #2 - Every time that DeSean Jackson didn't score when targeted

The Chargers clearly game-planned their defense to force Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson to beat them deep. They almost did, as the wide receiver ended up with 193 yards and a TD. The Chargers are lucky Jackson didn't have about 350 receiving yards.

Despite basically running a vert/streak on every single play, the Chargers were unable to provide safety help on DeSean. Fortunately, Vick is a pretty terrible quarterback who missed DeSean on LONG touchdown plays maybe 4-5 times throughout the game.

Hidden Plays #3 and 4 - The dropsies

Not all was rosy in Chargerville. Danny Woodhead's drop of a wide-open sure-to-be first down in the 2nd quarter forced the Chargers to kick a 40 yard plus field goal.

Similarly, Gates dropped a touchdown with about 11:40 left in the 4th quarter. The Chargers again ended up kicking a field goal.

Hidden Play #5 - The NFL vs. Chip Kelly

Since his much ballyhooed hire, there have been consistent rumors that the NFL and its referee's would not play along with the warp-speed tempo that Chip Kelly prefers. Additional grumblings have stated that Kelly's shaking up formations has displeased several league officials, who are more stubborn than rocks suckers for tradition conservative when it comes to changes in the way the game is played.

When the Eagles scored on a long touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson (what else is new), and it was called back for an unbelievably ticky-tacky formation flag, conspiracy theorists around the league shook their head. (The fact the Eagles open the season with Monday, Sunday, Thursday games doesn't help either...)

Hidden Play #5 - Jarius Wynn is a MAN

1st and 10. Eagles had the ball on the Chargers 14 yard line and the San Diego defense looked absolutely gassed...until Jarius Wynn broke through the line to force a quick throw from Vick. In the process of getting the pass off, Jarius SLAMMED Vick down to the ground, knocking the wind out of him. Vick was so slow to get up that the referees assessed an injury stoppage, forcing Vick out for a play. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Unlike in college, Kelly could have used a timeout rather than having Vick come out for a play.] Nick Foles came in and promptly threw the ball out of the end zone. The Eagles eventually settled for a field goal to tie the game.

No telling what Vick might have done with another down, or how gassed the defense may have been without the extra rest they got from the stoppage. Huge play by Wynn that doesn't show up in the stat sheet at all.

Hidden Play #6 - Rivers throws the ball away (!!!)

Late in the 4th quarter, on what would become the game-winning drive, Rivers is pressured around the right side. Rather than panicking or taking a sack, he steps up in the pocket, eluding the pressure, and throws the ball away. That's simply not a play Rivers has made in years past, and he avoids a -7 yard sack that may have pushed the Chargers out of field goal range.

On the very next play, Rivers hit Woodhead for a first down that allowed the Chargers to run out the clock before attempting the eventual game-winning field goal. A simple play, yes, but one that truly helped the Chargers to win the game.

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