Well, the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but it wasn’t as embarrassing as the blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The game was actually competitive heading into the fourth quarter. Progress!
That’s the positive angle to a defeat that dropped the Birds to 1-3. There are obviously plenty of negatives to parse through as well.
The Chiefs beat the Eagles. Their defense sure stinks but their offense is nearly unstoppable.
Big Red is the first coach in NFL history to reach 100 wins with two different teams. Only fitting that he accomplished this feat in Philly.
Patrick Mahomes had the following to say about Andy after the game:
“I think when you look back on it, you’ll know him as a Kansas City Chief. The way he’s able to build up this organization from day one and win and build up to where we won the Super Bowl and got back to the Super Bowl and then where we’re at now, he’s building something, and he’ll continue to build it. And we have a lot of young guys on this team, who he gets the best out of every single day. No offense to Philly — I’m glad they let him go; he’s here coaching us in Kansas City.”
Hurts had a much better game — albeit against possibly the NFL’s worst pass defense — in Week 4 than he did in Week 3. Good to see the second-year quarterback respond in a positive manner.
Hurts finished the game completing 67% of his attempts for 387 yards (8.1 average), two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 105.1 passer rating. He also finished as Philly’s leading rusher with seven carries for 47 yards (5.9 average). It’s worth noting that Hurts’ stat line was inflated a little bit by a garbage time drive.
On the whole, though, Hurts passed the eye test. He mostly looked composed and in command. He made some real good throws. Plays that stood out include: his 4th-and-2 completion to Kenny Gainwell with pressure in his face as he ran backwards, his touchdown throw to Dallas Goedert, his 37-yard completion down the field to DeVonta Smith, his 19-yard completion to Zach Ertz (shown below):
After the game, Nick Sirianni had high praise for Hurts.
Nick Sirianni on Jalen Hurts:— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 3, 2021
“That’s one of the better quarterback performances I’ve seen, and I’ve been around a lot of good quarterbacks. With Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. He battled. He made good decisions with the football. […] That’s the best I’ve seen him in a game.”
Eh. I can get Sirianni wanting to gas up his starting quarterback here but I have to say I don’t fully agree with the sentiment. It was a good game for Hurts, yes, but not a great one. To his credit, he admitted as much.
Jalen Hurts was asked whether he agreed with Sirianni that this is one of the best games he’s played.— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) October 3, 2021
His response was one of the strongest messages I’ve seen from him or any #Eagles QB since I’ve started to cover the team: pic.twitter.com/qZoC3J9xRZ
Hurts made some costly mistakes. He should’ve been picked off after floating a throw into tight coverage; he was fortunate that DeAndre Baker allowed the ball to hit the ground. Hurts missed a wide open Zach Ertz in the end zone on second down on Philly’s first red zone possession, just overthrew the tight end (in fairness, Ertz later dropped a contested catch that should’ve been caught for a touchdown). It looked like the throw that hit Greg Ward in the hands in the end zone but wasn’t caught was more difficult than it had to be with the receiver really stretching out to try to make the grab. Hurts threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down to cap the Eagles’ penultimate drive. Didn’t even at least give someone a chance to make a play.
With more good than bad, Hurts makes the winners section this week. One can hope it’s a performance he’ll build on as opposed to reverting to the player we saw in Week 3.
Smith has his first century-mark game under his belt after logging career-highs in targets (10), receptions (7), and yards (122). Honestly, the Eagles should be looking to utilize him even more moving forward. He’s a true WR1 who can handle a big workload. So skilled and smooth. Feed DeVonta.
DeVonta Smith sending defenders to new zip codes. pic.twitter.com/Fl1GmpR3BS— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 3, 2021
Kenny G turned in a career game in snaps played (29), targets (8), receptions (6), and receiving yards (56). He also had three carries for 31 yards and one touchdown as a runner. Gainwell’s 86 yards from scrimmage was the highest total from an Eagles running back since Miles Sanders had 88 in Week 14 last season. Gainwell is proving to be a trusty pass-catcher. He was especially valuable as a check-down safety valve for Hurts in this game. Gainwell is making a case for more playing time and touches.
With Lane Johnson unexpectedly missing Sunday’s start, the Eagles had to scramble to put a new offensive line configuration together. The plan to start Jack Driscoll at right guard changed with him shifting out to tackle and Nate Herbig taking over next to Jason Kelce instead. On the other side of Kelce, Landon Dickerson made his first NFL start at left guard. Next to Andre Dillard, who was starting again in place of Jordan Mailata.
Though there were some penalty issues (Dillard alone was flagged four times), Stoutland largely made it all work. Hurts was sacked once (arguably more of a coaching error) and hit just four times. The Eagles paved the way for 5.4 yards per carry and one rushing score.
Credit to the players and Philly’s offensive line coach for making the most out of a less than ideal situation.
Hargrave drew a double team to free up Josh Sweat on the play where Patrick Mahomes was pressured into throwing a pick. And despite facing extra attention, Hargrave continues to produce. He has five sacks in four games this year. Two more and he passes his career-high of 6.5. He could reasonably do that as soon as next week.
Neither team punted in this game. Think about how well rested Siposs must be.
They’re 1-3 after losing to the Chiefs. They lost ground in the division with all other three NFC East rivals winning. History doesn’t bode well for the rest of this season.
The Eagles are 1-3.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 4, 2021
The last 11 times they’ve won just 1 of their first 4 games?
Missed the playoffs 7 of those times. Won just 1 playoff game.
To start it off on a positive note, Sirianni’s gameplan was much better this week than it was in Dallas. The offense was actually able to move the ball, picking up 461 yards of offense.
But moving the ball well doesn’t matter as much if you can’t actually, you know, score touchdowns. And the Eagles left too many points on the board on Sunday.
Three scores were called back due to penalties. Yellow flags continue to be an issue for Sirianni’s squad with 44 in four games. The Eagles are far out in front, too, considering the next closest team has 10 fewer.
Discipline is clearly an issue. It’s hardly the only one.
Sirianni really struggled with game management on Sunday. It started with the Eagles’ first drive when he sent out the field goal team on 4th-and-3 from the 11-yard line. At the time, it appeared to be a very cowardly decision because you don’t beat the Chiefs by kicking red zone field goals. As it turns out, the situation was a little more (needlessly) complicated than it appeared.
Feel like I should point out: Sirianni not knowing whether they got the timeout or the delay of game is on the officials, too. They clearly didn't communicate that to him before he had to make a decision.— EJ Smith (@EJSmith94) October 3, 2021
However you parse it, the bottom line is that the Eagles wasted a timeout to kick a red zone field goal against the Chiefs from 4th-and-3. That’s just not a winning decision. Taking the points against KC is foolish.
Another problem point came when the Eagles were trying to get points right before the end of the first half. The Birds had the ball at 3rd-and-9 from KC’s 39-yard line with the clock running and one timeout to work with. Instead of stopping the clock, the Eagles rushed to get the snap off and a Chiefs blitz got home to Hurts to force a fumble. Honestly, the Eagles were very lucky KC didn’t at least get a field goal out of since Nate Herbig was able to hustle for the recovery. After the game, Sirianni defended the decision to snap it there as opposed to slowing things down. Perhaps he didn’t feel comfortable using his final timeout and relying on the offense to get a first and clocking the ball in time. Of course, he would’ve had the ability to call a timeout on that play AND the next one if he hadn’t wasted a timeout on the Eagles’ first drive.
But perhaps most troublesome of all is Sirianni’s cowardice thus far. After appearing to be aggressive with fourth down decisions in Week 1, he’s disappointed since then. Sirianni punted twice from Cowboys territory in Week 3. He kicked three red zone field goals against the Chiefs. He’s not giving the Birds an edge by not being aggressive.
In fairness to Sirianni, he only has four games under his belt. Jeffrey Lurie talked about being excited about “the coach [he] can become” upon hiring him. There are some growing pains to be expected here. Again, though ... to what extent are the struggles temporary? How do we know some issues won’t be here to stay?
The Eagles are not a well-coached team right now. They deserve their 1-3 record.
The Eagles defensive coordinator has had it tough with facing the Cowboys and Chiefs offenses in back-to-back weeks. But you’d like to see better than allowing 83 points and 851 yards over the past two games.
Of course, the Eagles’ defensive issues aren’t limited to the DC.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 3, 2021
Talent is a problem. The Eagles haven’t drafted a Pro Bowl defender since Andy Reid was still the team’s head coach (Fletcher Cox in 2012).
Cox did not log a stat against the Chiefs. He has just one sack and one quarterback hit through his last eight games.
That’s just not good enough from the Eagles’ highest-paid player.
It’s not like this is the first time in his career he’s facing double teams. He was productive in the past despite drawing extra attention.
I was curious to see how much Fletcher Cox got doubled vs. KC.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) October 4, 2021
Run, single: 12
Run, double: 7
Pass, single: 17
Pass, double: 10
0 tackles, 1 pressure if we're being generous. Looked disinterested vs. doubles, easily handled on single blocks. Alarming performance.
It’s entirely possible that Cox just isn’t the player he once was. Though he’s “only” 30 years old, he has a lot of wear and tear on his body after entering the league in 2012.
Earlier this offseason, the Inquirer reported that there was “internal concern” about Cox’s future. Many scoffed at the suggestion that the Eagles should trade Cox but that idea suddenly seems more viable to some. Of course, Cox’s contract is no longer easily traded since the Eagles have been constantly restructuring it. Not great.
They’re just not good. They need more talent at this position.
Eric Wilson had the pick, which was good, but he also got beat for a touchdown. And missed another tackle, bringing him up to six on the season. Only one linebacker in the rest of the league has missed more.
Sanders saw 18 more snaps than Gainwell but received just one more offensive touch. Sanders produced 4.7 yards per touch while Gainwell generated 9.8.
Sanders is obviously talented but he’s not without his flaws. He tends to leave meat on the bone, such as he did when he had a big hole to work with but instead picked up just two yards on the Eagles’ first red zone trip.
Could Gainwell further eat into Sanders’ playing time? And eventually overtake him? Too early to say for sure but that the question is being raised (not just by me) is certainly interesting.
Reagor saw just one target and it came on the Eagles’ final drive in garbage time. Outside of garbage time this season, Reagor has eight receptions for 40 yards (5.0 average) in four games. It wasn’t all bad as he did have a 12-yard and a good 44-yard kick return. But a team is clearly looking for more impact than that from a first-round pick.
Though Sweat may have been more to blame, Barnett was called for yet another penalty. This time it was roughing the passer. “It’s always him.” Barnett has one sack in his last nine games and zero in his last seven.
Again, zero Pro Bowl defenders drafted since 2012.
And cap management that is hardly optimized, among other issues.
Eagles are now missing three of their five players with the biggest cap hits this season (Johnson, Brooks, Graham) and five of the top 14. When including players with dead money, the Eagles are devoting nearly $80M in cap space to nine players who aren't on the field today.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) October 3, 2021
I DON’T KNOW
Sweat had a quarterback hit that pressured Mahomes into throwing just his 15th interception since the start of 2019. That was a really big play since it gave the Eagles a chance to tie the game (if they went for two, that is) at 21 points apiece. Of course, Philly ended up settling for another red zone field goal, though that obviously wasn’t Sweat’s doing.
No, Sweat instead gets knocked here for two really big penalties. He got flagged for encroachment to turn 3rd-and-1 from the Chiefs’ 32-yard line into a free first down. The Chiefs would go on to take a 7 to 3 lead on that drive. Later, Sweat had a glaring neutral zone infraction that turned 3rd-and-6 at KC’s 40-yard line to 3rd-and-1. The Chiefs went on to convert and score a touchdown to take a 12-point lead with 6:44 remaining in the game.
Sweat giveth, Sweat taketh away.
The Eagles have allowed 83 points and 851 yards in their last two games. It’s not Darius Slay’s fault, however.
In my 9yrs only 2 wrs had 100 on me!! Y’all go stop playing with my name!— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) October 3, 2021
The preceding was Slay’s second tweet following the game. The very first was one praising Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who helped Dallas advance to 3-1. The same Diggs who picked off Jalen Hurts during the Eagles’ blowout loss to Dallas less than a week ago.
I’ll defer to Les Bowen here.
Maybe playing in Detroit made this hard for Darius Slay to understand, but here people really don’t like it when your defense gives up 42 points and loses, six days after giving up 41 points and losing.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 4, 2021
Get off social media unless you want to tell everyone how embarrassed u are
He objects to fans feeling he might be expected do something more for a defense that has given up 83 points in two games. Apparently he is blameless. https://t.co/UlpHmB5xKp— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 4, 2021
He hasn’t been bad. It’s possible he’s being misused. But he hasn’t been great. Hasn’t made any “big plays.”— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 4, 2021
Larger issue, what does he expect from fans after watching this defense, which he helps lead? https://t.co/LYjQHNwjQg
Slay is making top 5 CB money at $16.7 million annually. He has one pick and seven passes defensed in 19 games with the Eagles. Slay allowed a 111.9 passer rating when targeted in 2020 and has allowed a 117.5 passer rating when targeted in 2021, according to Pro Football Reference. Slay ranked 42nd out of 80 cornerbacks graded by PFF in 2020 (min. 50% snaps). He ranks better so far this year at 27th out of 72 corners.
Still, Eagles fans aren’t so crazy for expecting more.