Márquez Valdés-Scantling started his engines, ran past Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Roby for a separation of several yards and extended his arms.
With less than two minutes left, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a 45-yard pass to both hands of Valdes-Scantling. The pass then bounced off his fingers, Valdes-Scantling stumbling five yards from the end zone as he lost the ball and the Chiefs’ last close chance at victory.
After a penalty and an incomplete pass, the Chiefs were accepting their 21-17 loss to the Eagles team they had beaten nine months earlier in the Super Bowl.
That is, if we consider the loud bang of a helmet against the tunnel walls as a sign of acceptance.
Mahomes knew the fall would haunt Valdés-Scantling. The quarterback insisted he could have thrown a less demanding pass, adding that Valdes-Scantling’s drop alone was not the key to the Chiefs’ third loss this year.
“We are facing one of the best, if not he The best, the NFC team and we were this close,” Mahomes said after a 24-for-43, 177-yard night with two touchdowns and an interception. “In the NFL, if you don’t make those big plays in the big moments, in the red zone and in those two-minute drills, then you lose. That’s what we did today.
“It starts with me. I have to make better shots at certain times, keep moving the ball down the field and be more consistent throughout the game.”
Mahomes’ humility aside, the Chiefs’ latest loss exposed his clear Achilles heel to the NFL world on national television. Meanwhile, the Eagles reminded the league that they win the same way the Chiefs lose.
And they could take advantage of that recipe to achieve the victory they most want, in February.
Mahomes says he “doesn’t regret” the pass Valdés-Scantling dropped
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t wait for a question about his defense’s performance.
Hold the defending Super Bowl champions scoreless after halftime?
“I know you didn’t ask about defense, but I’m going to talk about defense,” Sirianni told reporters midway through his postgame news conference. “I can’t say enough about the job our defensive staff and our defensive players did.”
Sirianni was right: The Eagles’ no-point performance after halftime highlighted their savvy front office (hello, Kevin Byard trade), impressive first-year defensive coordinator Sean Desai (even Mahomes knew the Eagles had pressured him to throw to less reliable targets) and execution at all three levels of the defense.
But, frankly: Valdes-Scantling’s downfall and the offensive woes that doomed the Chiefs on Monday say a lot more about Kansas City than it does about Philadelphia.
This was the third consecutive game in which Kansas City failed to score after halftime.
Chiefs pass catchers now lead the league in drops, with 26, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Sure, Mahomes can and will take the blame for perceived areas where he could improve his accuracy and communication. Chiefs coach Andy Reid rejected the idea that his players weren’t on the same page, calling instead that “they’re on the same page, but maybe we were off.”
That tic has cost the Chiefs games in which their defense has played well enough to win (think: five sacks of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in the first half alone on Monday). Mahomes may say he’ll “keep shooting,” but passing in the NFL requires two capable sides. Too often lately, Chiefs plays have had just one.
“I don’t regret it,” Mahomes said of trusting Valdés-Scantling with the game on the line. “They formed a triple team with Travis [Kelce] So I went to the guy who won on the field, and Marquez won on the field. He just didn’t come out with the ball. [so we] I have to keep trying to improve more and more.
“The defense keeps us in games. “If we can find a way to get a little better as an offense, we’ll win a lot of these games.”
The Eagles, with that formula, already are.
The Eagles’ ‘gritty, dirty, disgusting’ reason for believing another postseason is coming
No, Sirianni emphasized throughout last week and again on Monday night, the Eagles did not see this as a revenge game.
“We weren’t thinking, ‘Hey, we’d come here to avenge a loss,’ because they’re different,” Sirianni said. “It is a game of different magnitude. [The Super Bowl] “It was for everything.”
But the Eagles did celebrate outlasting a talented, winning team in a rowdy environment and soggy weather conditions.
“Whoever was going to win that game was going to do it in a crude, dirty, nasty way,” Sirianni said. “We were able to get to the top.”
Astute NFL fans shouldn’t have been surprised.
Because while the Chiefs have alternated between escaping close games late and blowing them, the Eagles have managed to recover from them or maintain their lead.
Philadelphia has averaged 13.9 points per second half compared to 5.3 for the Chiefs.
The Eagles’ record ranks fourth best in the league. The Chiefs are last, 0.7 points behind the second-worst Arizona Cardinals (2-9).
Hurts ran for both of the Eagles’ touchdowns in the second half, taking Philadelphia’s first lead of the night with 6:23 left. And his 150 passing yards don’t reflect the level of mental processing he was doing on the field.
Nearly a third of Hurts’ passing yards came from a 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith that catapulted the Eagles to the 1-yard line and set up the almost certain “Brotherly Shove” for the go-ahead touchdown. The move from a collapsing pocket was far less orchestrated than his poise made it seem.
Sirianni admitted that he didn’t call the ball that Hurts scored.
“Great play that Jalen really made. [and] Big check,” Syrianni said. “That’s what good quarterbacks do: They make three or four game-changing plays with their mind.
“Jalen did that tonight.”
There is reason to believe he will do it again.
So while the Chiefs no doubt still prefer their Super Bowl rings to Monday night bragging rights, and the Eagles will continue to peddle aphorisms like the best part about winning Monday was that it was their next chance to win, the Monday’s game taught fans a lot about what to expect in this year’s postseason.
Discarding Mahomes is dangerous, but the Chiefs’ current roster is so deficient in pass catchers that there is legitimate reason to believe even he can’t compensate.
Meanwhile, the Eagles (9-1) bring the league’s best record to Thanksgiving because they not only make plays, but they make them at the moments most necessary to win games, even after the circumstances of the game. above increase the bets of those plays.
“I don’t think we played fair tonight; nowhere near our standard,” Hurts said. “But what cannot be proven or quantified is the resilience that a team has and the ability to persevere, see things and overcome them. And this team has that.
“We have yet to perform at our level, but we continue to find ways to win. And when you win games like we’ve won, that develops a lot of character.