The Philadelphia Eagles successfully took revenge on the Kansas City Chiefs for their defeat in Super Bowl LVII with a 21:17 comeback win in the NFL. They also benefited from some of the home team’s shortcomings.
Eagles @ Chiefs: At a glance
- 20 seems to be the magic number against Mahomes. Whoever generates 20 pressures against him wins. This is the third time this has happened to Mahomes this season.
- The Eagles had big problems in the first half with the Chiefs’ blitzes and pressure and didn’t get much together offensively. Only in the second half, when the tempo was increased and the play-calling was made more variable, at least at times, did they take command.
- The Chiefs suffered massively from drops from their receivers. Among other things, there were two critical drops in the final minutes that ultimately sealed the defeat.
- It was Andy Reid’s first loss in an NFL game between the Eagles and Chiefs. He is the most successful coach of both franchises. It was also Mahomes’ first loss ever after a bye week as a starter in the NFL.
Eagles @ Chiefs: The Analysis
After quick punts on both sides, the home team put together their first good drive thanks to quick, short passes from Mahomes and aggressive runs from Isiah Pacheco. In the end there was the Chiefs’ first touchdown – a three-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes to Justin Watson. The key to this play was a mistake by safety Kevin Byard, who seemed to be the only Eagles player who didn’t realize that the visitors were in man coverage. He had Watson pulled out of the slot on a shallow route and Watson was completely open in the end zone.
In return, the guests hit back with their first strong drive. After a few good passes from Jalen Hurts, it was ultimately running back D’Andre Swift who followed a 17-yard run with a four-yard touchdown run to tie the score.
As a result, the problems really began for the guests. Hurts threw an interception to cornerback L’Jarius Sneed because wide receiver AJ Brown broke off his route early, but Hurts didn’t see it under heavy pressure. In return, Mahomes also made a mistake and threw an interception to Byard in the end zone. Watson was the target again, but Mahomes’ pass was too imprecise without pressure and the safety smelled the roast.
That was just before halftime. However, the Eagles didn’t make any progress and gave the ball away again. Fueled by a 21-yard punt return from Kadarius Toney, the Chiefs found their way into the end zone again. Mahomes found Travis Kelce open for a touchdown after Marquez Valdez-Scantling cleared the way with a rub route inside – Byard and Darius Slay once again hindered each other in man coverage.
Eagles @ Chiefs: KC with a double strike before halftime
But that wasn’t enough, because after a Hurts fumble that he recovered himself, the Chiefs even managed another field goal before halftime.
It took three drives in the second half before the Eagles actually changed their lethargic style of play. Hurts began to get rid of the ball significantly faster and they relied on shorter, faster routes. The result was a ten-yard touchdown run by Hurts. The key play of the drive, however, was a 35-yard run by Swift.
As a result, the Chiefs moved into the red zone with the help of numerous penalties against the Eagles. There, however, Kelce lost a fumble after a “punch” from Bradley Roby. And just two punts later, the Eagles went forward once again. And how! Hurts and DeVonta Smith dismantled the Chiefs defense – first with a 15-yard pass on 3rd down, then with a 41-yard shot to the 1st. From there, Hurts did the rest with a brotherly shove. 21:17 Eagles with 6:20 minutes to play.
The Chiefs got the ball back again after a weak sequence by the Eagles, but were ultimately stopped because first MVS dropped a sure touchdown after a shot play in the end zone and then Watson also dropped a first down on 4th down.
The Eagles maintained their lead in the NFC (East), while the Baltimore Ravens initially moved past the Chiefs in the AFC.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-3)
Result: 21:17 (/:7, 0:10, 7:0, 7:0) BOXSCORE
Eagles @ Chiefs: Key stats
- The Chiefs ran 20 times before halftime. That was the most runs attempted in a first half in all of Mahomes’ 104 starts in the NFL, including the playoffs. After the break there were only ten running attempts, which was strange, especially since the Eagles couldn’t find an answer (5.6 yards per carry).
- The Chiefs blitzed defensive backs against Hurts six times before halftime. He was 1-3 with an interception on those plays. He also collected three sacks.
- The Eagles generated 20 pressures against Mahomes. This is the attitude of Mahomes’ season high – he had only seen so many pressures in Week 1 against the Lions and Week 8 in Denver – both games were also lost.
The star of the game: Front Seven (Eagles)
The Eagles, who initially had major problems in all aspects, came back into this game mainly because they didn’t allow anything defensively after the break. What’s more: They put Mahomes under a lot of pressure and ended up with 20 pressures, which ultimately resulted in -7.4 percent CPOE and slowed down the Chiefs’ offense.
The flop of the game: Receiving Corps (Chiefs)
Those were a few drops from the Chiefs in this game. Kelce, who was largely opted out, dropped a catchable ball on 3rd down in the final period, MVS dropped a touchdown and Watson dropped a pass on 4th&25 that would have been enough for a new first down. This meant that even Mahomes could no longer turn the game around.
Analysis: Eagles @ Chiefs – that stood out tactically
- Andy Reid is hard to beat after a bye week and in this matchup he had a lot of tricks in his bag that the Eagles hadn’t expected. That mainly related to what the Chiefs defense was doing. She was very aggressive, especially in early downs, and usually flashed then. The idea: to get Hurts out of rhythm early and, above all, to prevent the Eagles from getting into short late downs.
- In addition, the predominant man coverage in defense – L’Jarius Sneed played against AJ Brown noticeably often – worked very well and forced Hurts to hold the ball longer than usual. This also helped to collect the numerous sacks.
- What made things even more difficult for the Eagles was that they themselves didn’t seem to have any answers to what the Chiefs were doing offensively. They mainly relied on deeper routes instead of separating from them at some point and throwing in more quick passes in order to escape the Chiefs’ pass rush a little. Instead, they played cheerfully and ran their course to ruin. Only after the break did the guests increase the tempo, rely more on quick passes and then get into a rhythm for the first time.
- On the other hand, the route was clear: lots of runs against easy boxes and otherwise quick, short passes from Mahomes in order to avoid the Eagles’ rush. In addition, Mahomes always found room for scrambles because the linebackers and especially Kevin Byard almost only had eyes for Kelce.
- But here too the picture changed after the break. The Eagles’ secondary became a little more alert and, most importantly, the Eagles’ pass rush woke up. Mahomes was particularly hard hit through the middle, and he not only made more mistakes but also had to hold the ball longer.