The Philadelphia Eagles successfully took revenge on the Kansas City Chiefs for their loss in Super Bowl LVII, returning to the NFL 21-17. They also took advantage of some of the hosts’ shortcomings.
Eagles @ Chiefs: In short
- 20 seems like the magic number against Mahomes. The winner is the one who generates 20 pressures against him. This is Mahomes’ third such incident this season.
- In the first half, the Eagles had a lot of problems with the Chiefs’ attacks and pressure, which made them not perform very well offensively. It was only in the second half, when the pace picked up and the action became more varied, at least at times, that they took command.
- The Chiefs suffered tremendously from receiver drops. Among other things, there were two critical drops in the last minutes, which 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 after a week as a starter in the NFL.
Eagles @ Chiefs: Analysis
After quick attacks from both sides, the hosts started their first hot streak thanks to quick, short passes from Mahomes and aggressive running by Isiah Pacheco. The Chiefs’ first touchdown finally came – a three-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes to Justin Watson. The key to this effort was an error by substitute Kevin Byard, who seemed to be the only Eagles player who did not realize that the visitors were within reach. He got Watson out of the slot on a shallow route, and Watson was completely open in the end zone.
In return, the guests responded with a strong first attack. After a few good passes from Jalen Hurts, D’Andre Swift finally found the net and after a 17-yard run and a four-yard run, the score was tied.
As a result, problems really began for the guests. Hurts intercepted cornerback L’Jarius Sneed because wide receiver AJ Brown broke on him earlier, but Hurts didn’t notice it under heavy pressure. In return, Mahomes also made an error and intercepted Byard in the end zone. Watson was targeted again, but Mahomes’ pass was too imprecise without pressure and the defense smelled of roast.
It was just before the break. However, the Eagles made no progress and gave the ball back again. Fueled by a 21-yard punt by Kadarius Toney, the Chiefs found the end zone again. Mahomes found Travis Kelce open for a touchdown after Marquez Valdez-Scantling cleared the way for him by going inside, and Byard and Darius Slay once again made it difficult for each other to cover players.
Eagles @ Chiefs: KC with a double before halftime
But it wasn’t enough, as after Hurts fumbled and recovered, the Chiefs still managed to get another field goal before halftime.
It took three passes in the second half before the Eagles actually changed their lethargic style of play. Wholesalers began to get rid of the ball much faster and focused on shorter, faster routes. The result was a ten-yard touchdown run by Hurts. The key play in this drive, however, was Swift’s 35-yard run.
As a result, the Chiefs moved into the red zone with numerous penalties against the Eagles. There, however, Kelce lost a foul after “hitting” Bradley Roby. Just two seconds later, the Eagles were ahead again. And how! Hurts and DeVonta Smith picked apart the Chiefs defense – first with a 15-yard pass on third down, then a 41-yard scoring strike to the 1. Hurts then did the rest with a brotherly push. 21:17 Eagles with 6: 20 minutes to play.
The Chiefs got the ball back after a poor sequence by the Eagles, but were ultimately stopped as MVS first gave up a sure-fire touchdown on a shot in the end zone, and then Watson also threw a first down on fourth down.
The Eagles maintained their lead in the NFC (East), while the Baltimore Ravens initially overtook 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
- Chiefs ran 20 times before the break. That’s the most first-half attempts made in all of Mahomes’ 104 NFL starts, including the playoffs. After halftime, there were only ten rushing attempts, which was strange, especially since the Eagles were unable to find an answer (5.6 yards per carry).
- Before the break, Chiefs attacked Hurts defenders six times. He was 1-3 with steals in those games. He also collected three bags.
- The Eagles had 20 tackles on Mahomes. That’s Mahomes’ attitude in his best season of the season – he’s only seen that kind of pressure in Week 1 against the Lions and in Week 8 at Denver – both of which also ended in losses.
Star of the Game: Front Seven (Eagles)
The Eagles, who initially struggled mightily across the board, came back into this game largely because they allowed nothing defensively after the break. What’s more: they put Mahomes under a lot of pressure, resulting in 20 pressures, which ultimately resulted in a -7.4% CPOE and slowed down the Chiefs offense.
Flop of the Game: Receiving Corps (Chiefs)
There were a few downs for the Chiefs in this game. Kelce, largely sidelined, dropped the ball for a catch on 3rd in the final quarter, MVS gave up a touchdown, and Watson passed on 4th and 25, which would have been enough for a new first down. This meant that even Mahomes could no longer turn the game around.
Analysis: Eagles @ Chiefs – This one 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 pocket that the Eagles weren’t expecting. It mostly had to do with what the Chiefs defense was doing. She was very aggressive, especially on early downs, and that’s when she usually flashed. The idea: to throw the Hurts team out of rhythm at the beginning of the match and, above all, to prevent the Eagles from falling into a short slump towards the end.
- Additionally, the players’ dominant defense – L’Jarius Sneed played noticeably often against AJ Brown – worked very well and forced Hurts to hold the ball longer than usual. This also helped collect numerous bags.
- Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was the fact that they themselves had no answer to what the Chiefs were doing offensively. They relied heavily on deeper routes rather than separating themselves from them at some point and throwing in quicker passes to get some away from the Chiefs’ pass rush. Instead, they played it safe and ruined themselves. Only after the break did the guests pick up the pace, focus more on quick passes and find their rhythm for the first time.
- On the other hand, the route was clear: lots of runs to easy boxes and otherwise quick, short passes from Mahomes to avoid the Eagles’ rush. Additionally, Mahomes always found room for confusion as defenders, especially Kevin Byard, almost just looked at Kelce.
- However, here too the picture changed after the break. The Eagles’ secondary became a little more alert and, most importantly, the Eagles’ passing rush woke up. Mahomes was hit especially hard over the middle, and not only did he make more mistakes, but he also had to hold the ball longer.