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Eagles Film Analysis: All-22 defense takeaways from the Chiefs game

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This was a fun one with loads of good stuff to get into. This is a short week with the Monday night game and Thanksgiving so I will try to be as concise as I can. Let’s do it. (Previously: Offensive takeaways)

Defense

The Eagles were aggressive in this matchup. I’m pretty sure the numbers say you shouldn’t blitz Patrick Mahomes, but Sean Desai did not care. He got after Mahomes in this game. On the 2nd play of the game, the Eagles made their intentions clear and sent 6 after Mahomes. Haason Reddick has a great rush and hits Mahomes hard. I absolutely loved this play because good defenses try to set the tone early and it felt like the Eagles set the tone for the rest of the game on this play early on.

I went a little bit insane and had a real moan about the Eagles' use of personnel against the Cowboys. I was incredibly happy with this game because it was clear that Sean Desai and the coaching staff looked at this issue in the bye week and corrected it. The Eagles came out in Dime on the first 3rd down of the game. It was complete madness having 2 linebackers on the field in obvious passing situations as they did against the Cowboys, and they made sure they didn’t make the same mistake again. Not only did the Eagles have 6 defensive backs on the field in obvious passing situations, they also played with 3 EDGE defenders (Josh Sweat, Reddick, and Brandon Graham) and only 1 defensive tackle on a number of different occasions in this game.

The Eagles have had a really good run defense this year because their gap discipline has been outstanding. I have no idea what happened in this game. The Eagles just continually gave up the edge, and I don't really know what Redidck and Sweat were doing on a few occasions. I remember hearing someone say on a podcast (I can’t remember who!) that it was because the Eagles were getting up the field too early as they were prioritizing rushing Patrick Mahomes, but I just don’t think that’s true. The Eagles’ EDGE defenders kept jumping inside, as Reddick did on this play, and giving up the edge. It was weird because it happened more than once, and it felt like something that should be a simple fix. Hopefully, this issue was just a one-off issue and not something that becomes a problem.

I don’t really have anything to add here, because it’s obvious that the Eagles have an issue passing off routes in the red zone, but we keep seeing it happen. I don’t really want to speculate on who is at fault here but I would guess Byard, who had a really good game overall. The Eagles need to sort it out or start simplifying the coverages in the red zone (although when they went to man, they also gave up a touchdown later on to Travis Kelce).

No defender stood out more than Milton Williams did in this game. I always talk about Williams, because I feel like he goes under the radar and the other defensive tackles steal the spotlight. However, this week was different, and the broadcast had no choice but to talk about Williams because he had a few incredible reps. This is just elite defensive line play.

As well as playing different personnel packages, I thought the Eagles did a good job mixing up coverages too and taking away Travis Kelce. They played a few snaps of 1 double where they had Kevin Byard and Reed Blankenship double Kelce and it worked pretty much every time. I thought Byard had a really good time and his playing style obviously enjoys the matchup with Kelce.

Here’s another run where the Eagles allowed the Chiefs to get outside. This one is on Sweat unless there’s some funky run-fit stuff going on here that I’m not seeing. It seems pretty clear to me that the Eagles’ edge defenders were just bad at setting the edge at times in this one.

This is an odd play and it looked weird live. This should be a touchdown but Mahomes for some reason decides to float this pass and he just gets no power or velocity into the throw. Byard deserves huge credit for reading this though and making the interception. I said in my film review that I think Byard is excellent in zone, and he was really good in this one.

Another one...

I really enjoyed how aggressive the Eagles were on defense in this game. Yes, at times they got lucky and the Chiefs dropped some key passes. But I would much rather the defense take some risks and try and make Mahomes uncomfortable rather than just allow him to dink and dunk down the field. The Eagles are built to have an elite offense and they don't need their defense to shut down opposing offenses, but they do need them to make some big plays and put opposing quarterbacks under pressure. I really enjoyed how aggressive the defense was overall, even if it didn't always work.

This is a fantastic call for a number of reasons. Byard does a great job on Kelce once again. I really like the Eagles' use of Dime on the obvious passing stations. But the thing I really like is the decision to have only 1 defensive tackle on the play. This allowed Reddick to rush/spy Mahomes from a standing position, and look at his speed here as he chases Mahomes outside the pocket. There is no way anyone other than Reddick could have done that, especially not a defensive tackle, so getting more speed on the defensive line against a mobile quarterback like Mahomes makes a lot of sense. I wonder if we will see this again this weekend against Josh Allen!

As I said earlier, when you are aggressive sometimes things will go against you and you get lucky. The Eagles got lucky here. I assume Bradley Roby thinks that he has safety help and that Sydney Brown is supposed to stay deep rather than triple Travis Kelce, but I’m not sure. The Eagles got lucky at times, but they deserved some luck based on how aggressive they were throughout the game.

Let's end with this 3rd down play. It’s another really good snap of Dime and 1 double. I thought the Eagles' plan for Travis Kelce was excellent in this game and I was glad to see them adjust after struggling against the opposing team's top weapons this season.

Whatever you think of Sean Desai, there is absolutely no doubt that he is willing to try new things every week and will be aggressive. I’d rather a defensive coordinator like that than someone who is stubborn and stuck in their ways.

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