KANSAS CITY, Missouri – How the hell did the Eagles win that game?
Hey, it doesn’t matter. They did it. And after their 21-17 victory over the Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl LVII, they are 9-1 and in control of the NFC.
It wasn’t always pretty on Monday night. The offense sputtered for much of the game, the defense at times left in tatters on the ground. But they made enough plays on the road to defeat the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Jalen hurts: 14/22, 150 yards, 1 INT; 12 carries, 29 yards, 2 TDs
This was not a repeat of Hurts’ masterful Super Bowl performance. On Monday he didn’t light up the scoreboard and there were moments of serious pauses in offensive production. But he did hit DeVonta Smith on that deep pass to set up the go-ahead touchdown. And he also showed some ability with his legs after recovering during the bye week. He ran for a pair of touchdowns in this one. Hurts’ passer rating of 64.6 is pretty ugly, but this was a game where the QB stats don’t really tell the whole story.
D’Andre Swift: 12 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 31 yards
At least one Swift showed up Monday night. It has been a while since the Eagles running back had a performance like the one we saw against the Chiefs. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and his 35-yard sweep was one of the biggest plays of the entire game. The rest of the running backs didn’t contribute much, but in a relatively low-scoring game, Swift did his part.
DeVonta Smith: 6 receptions on 8 targets, 99 yards
With L’Jarius Sneed following him on Monday, AJ Brown had his worst performance of the season. He was targeted four times and only had one reception for 8 yards. But Smith was there to make plays. The Eagles’ other No. 1 receiver finished with 99 yards (yes, that bothered him) for the second time in three games. His 41-yard pass in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown was the play of the game. We saw a lot of WR screens in this game that didn’t work, but that’s probably more due to the decision to play.
Jack Stoll: 1 catch for 3 yards
The Eagles played their first game of the 2023 season without Dallas Goedert on Monday. Goedert has a fractured forearm and the team expects him to return within the next month. For this match, it was Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra and Albert Okweugbunam. The Eagles are going to miss Goedert’s playmaking ability. The only tight ends catch in this game was a 3-yarder by Stoll. And Calcaterra suffered an ankle injury in the game. But the tight ends were asked to block and that’s something Stoll is very good at.
It wasn’t the cleanest game for the Eagles’ offensive line. The Birds allowed five sacks for 26 yards to the Chiefs, but it’s also important to note that those five sacks came in the first half. And the Eagles were able to run the ball pretty well in this game, scoring 114 on the ground.
Haason Reddick: 1 sack, 3 QB hits, 1 TFL
It was a strange game for the Eagles defensive line. Reddick started the game with a sack of Mahomes on the second play of the game, but he was not sacked again. Although… the intentional penalty forced by Josh Sweat in the fourth quarter was basically a sack. After allowing 121 rushing yards in the first half, the Eagles allowed just 47 in the second. Overall, it was a solid performance from the guys up front and they seemed to wear down the Chiefs offense.
Zach Cunningham: 7 tackles, 1 PBU
The Eagles will have to move forward without Nakobe Dean, who is back on the injured list after Lisfranc surgery. The good news is that the duo of Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow have played well together all season. Cunningham was second on the team in tackles and Morrow added five tackles and recovered Travis Kelce’s fumble in the second half.
Kevin Byard: 8 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU
Sure, there was a miscommunication on that touchdown pass from Mahomes to Justin Watson in the first quarter. But after that? The Eagles defensive backs made big plays with two grabs in the red zone. One came on a Kevin Byard interception and the other came when Bradley Roby knocked the ball out of Kelce’s arms. Mahomes attempted 43 passes on Monday night and finished with 177 total yards.
Britain Covey: 3 punt returns, 53 yards, 26+
It wasn’t a perfect day for the Eagles’ special teams unit. Kadarius Toney’s 21-yard punt return hurt, and there was a particularly bad punt by Braden Mann. But Mann finished with a 47.7 average on seven punts with a length of 63. Britain Covey had 3 punt returns for an average of 17.7 and a length of 26. And Josh Jobe’s tackle on the punt at the end of the fourth quarter he pinned the Chiefs at their own 9-yard line. It was one of the most important plays of the game.
For much of this game, I was very confused by Brian Johnson’s offensive plays. It really seemed like he was concentrating on the horizontal passing game and the Eagles offense was stuck in the mud. But ultimately, he called some plays that worked and helped them get out of the hole. And in general it is a well-trained team. Being down by 10 points at halftime and never showing panic speaks to coaching and leadership. Nick Sirianni’s team continues to get wins and he deserves some of the credit for that.
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