KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How the hell did the Eagles win this game?
Um, 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 evening. The offense faltered for much of the game, the defense was gashed on the ground at times. But they made enough plays on the road to defeat the defending Super Bowl champions.
Jalen hurts: 14/22, 150 yards, 1 INT; 12 carries, 29 yards, 2 TDs
This wasn’t a repeat of Hurts’ masterful Super Bowl performance. On Monday, he didn’t light up the scoreboard and there were moments of serious lulls in offensive production. But he hit DeVonta Smith on that deep ball to set up the go-ahead touchdown. And he also showed some skill with his legs after recovering during the bye week. He rushed for a few touchdowns in this one. Hurts’ passer rating of 64.6 is pretty lousy, but this was a game where the QB stats don’t really tell the whole story.
To come back
From Andre Swift: 12 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; 3 receptions, 31 yards
At least one Swift showed up Monday night. It’s been a long time since the Eagles running back put together a performance like the one we saw against the Chiefs. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and his 35 yards on a sweep was one of the biggest plays of the entire game. The rest of the running backs didn’t contribute much, but in a game where the scoring was relatively low, Swift did his part.
DeVonta Smith: 6 catches 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 had just one catch for 8 yards. But Smith was there to play. The Eagles’ other No. 1 receiver finished with 99 yards — yeah, that bothered him — for the second time in three games. His 41-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown was the play of the game. We’ve seen a lot of WR screens in this game that haven’t worked, but that’s probably more to do with the 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 hopes he will return within the next month. For this match, it was Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra and Albert Okweugbunam. The Eagles will miss Goedert’s playmaking ability. The only catch by the tight ends in this game was a 3-yard toss from Stoll. And Calcaterra injured his ankle during the match. 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 gave up five sacks for 26 yards to the Chiefs, but it’s also important to point out that all five of those sacks came in the first half. And the Eagles were able to pass the ball pretty well in this game, with 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 on Mahomes on the second play of the game, but they didn’t recover it. Although…the intentional groundout forced by Josh Sweat in the fourth quarter was essentially 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 IR following 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
Of course, there was a miscommunication on that first-quarter touchdown pass from Mahomes to Justin Watson. But after that? The Eagles defensive backs made big plays with two outs 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 Monday night and finished with 177 total yards.
Britain Covey: 3 punt returns, 53 yards, length of 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 from Braden Mann. But Mann ended up averaging 47.7 on seven punts with a long of 63. Britain Covey had 3 punt returns for an average of 17.7 and a long of 26. And the tackle Josh Jobe’s punt late in the fourth quarter pinned the Chiefs at their own 9-yard line. It was one of the biggest plays of the game.
For much of this game, I was very confused by Brian Johnson’s offensive calls. It really seemed like he was focusing 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 dig themselves out of the hole. And in general, it’s a well-coached team. Being down 10 points at halftime and never showing panic is a testament to coaching and leadership. Nick Sirianni’s team keeps coming away with wins and he deserves some of the credit for that.
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