This time, the Eagles beat the Chiefs 21-17, nine months after suffering a loss in Super Bowl 57. It’s enough to scratch your head and understand how the defending champions could squander such a brilliant performance from their defense. Here are five observations about this ninth win of the season for the Philadelphia representatives.
1. Deaths in the second half
The pressure bothered Patrick Mahomes in the second half. Getty Images via AFP
After the Chiefs’ last game in Germany, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes promised that the offensive problems would be solved. There is room for doubt. For the third straight game, the Chiefs were locked out in the second half. When Travis Kelce lost the ball inside the 10-yard line, they had to punt four times and also committed a costly fumble. These were valuable points left on the field in a close game. Believe it or not, the Chiefs rank last in the NFL averaging 5.3 second-half points. Last!
2. Hands full of thumbs
Marquez Valdes-Scantling missed a critical pass late in the game. Getty Images via AFP
Another key factor that explains the Chiefs’ defeat, even though they dominated the first three quarters, is the poor performance of their receivers. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a bomb in the deep zone late in the game, an unforgivable mistake that this receiver has regularly made on long passes since the start of his career. This season, according to ESPN Stats & Info, the Chiefs have dropped 26 passes, giving them another unenviable record. The current group of wide receivers will ultimately destroy the Chiefs unless Patrick Mahomes and the defense play perfect football by the end of the season. Perfection is a lot to ask! No one but Travis Kelce inspires fear in this group. According to NextGen Stats, Mahomes threw 44 touchdown passes that traveled at least 20 yards through the air in his first four seasons as a starter. He has thrown two shots in his last 27 games.
3. Resilient Eagles
It didn’t take long for Kevin Byard to establish himself with the Eagles after he made an interception against the Chiefs. Getty Images via AFP
For a rare period of time, the Eagles were dominated on both fronts for long stretches of the game. The Chiefs came out on top on offense with 168 yards on the ground. This was unexpected considering the Eagles were the league’s best in rushing prior to the game (66.3 yards per game). On defense, they harassed Jalen Hurts with five sacks and hit him four more times. It is thanks to them that they persevered despite everything and achieved great success in the fourth quarter. DeVonta Smith caught the long pass that Valdes-Scantling couldn’t catch. What the Eagles showed was that while they didn’t play great football, they did get a big win on the road in the hostile environment of Kansas City. The Eagles can win with their defense, with the pass, with the run, in high-scoring or low-scoring games. They know how to adapt to all situations, even if the Chiefs helped them with their critical mistakes.
4. Finally one for big brother
Travis and Jason Kelce congratulated each other after the game. Getty Images via AFP
Veteran Eagles center Jason Kelce ultimately prevailed over his brother Travis. The Chiefs tight end even told him afterward that he had given him a belated birthday present. It must be said that in addition to his fumble in the fourth quarter, Kelce failed to catch a perfect pass on a third-down situation. A match is not between two players, but Jason was clearly superior to Travis this time.
5. Rare defeat for Reid
Andy Reid needs to go back to the drawing board for his offense. Getty Images via AFP
For Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, it was only his fourth loss after a bye week, compared to 21 wins. The Eagles are 9-1 for the second straight season. They are at the top, not only in their division but also in the national conference. And all this without even playing their best football! The loss sees the Chiefs (7-3) slip to second place in the American Conference.