EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was first published on February 16, 2023. We are reheating it now that the Eagles have signed Jalen Hurts to a massive contract extension through 2028!
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
Oh boy. How do you start this piece after a Super Bowl loss? I’m still nowhere near emotionally over the defeat, but I have to admit I did enjoy watching this offensive performance back. This felt like the Jalen Hurts game where he announced himself as an elite quarterback to everyone watching. Try to enjoy this one, as much as you can.
The EPA highlights that this was an excellent offensive performance. The running game really did not get going. Despite the success rate of 55%, Hurts runs had a 71% success rate which makes it look better than it was. The one that really stands out is the EPA of 1.01 on late passing downs. That is absolutely insane. Robbie Gould may want to consider what he said about making Jalen Hurts play quarterback because... he’s an elite quarterback from the pocket.
The Chiefs want to play a lot of press man but it’s hard to do this against someone as mobile as Jalen Hurts. He makes these scrambles look effortless but the ability to pick up 1st downs on 2nd and long by scrambling like this is so impressive. The Eagles used empty formations a lot in this game and the Eagles’ offense looked really good out of empty because of how good of an athlete Hurts is.
Eagles offense all22 vs Chiefs. #1 Jalen Hurts' scrambling ability makes it so difficult to play man coverage. Even when the Chiefs secondary wins on 2nd & long the Eagles get a 1st down. This is such an athletic run that he makes look way easier than it is. pic.twitter.com/R2hGyaXxvJ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
I’m done doubting Jalen Hurts when he goes deep to AJ Brown. This ball should go to Devonta Smith really but the chemistry that Hurts and AJ Brown have is really special. I think this is a fantastic throw and AJ Brown does such a good job tracking the ball down the field. It really is a special play. If you read my preview, you may remember I commented that the Eagles will have chances to go down the field, even against double coverage because the Chiefs play a lot of in/out coverage which means you can run by it. I am already looking forward to more of these plays next season.
#3 'This ball should go to DeVonta Smith' is something I would have said week 3. I'm done doubting these decisions now. I told you to watch out for the deep shot against in/out coverage and this is why! I love the throw and AJ Brown is a stud, the ball tracking is elite here. pic.twitter.com/OXc62kmmAi— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
As good as the Eagles’ offense has been this year, they have had a problem allowing free rushers all year. They don’t build in enough hot routes but I think it’s because they know Hurts can beat free rushers. This is an elite play. He knows that Pascal will be coming across the formation so he evades the rush to his left and delivers a fantastic ball. Allowing free rushers was a problem in this game and it came back to haunt the Eagles later on. Hurts was so calm under pressure all game.
#4 Chiefs send 5 and get 2 free rushers which is... not good (and was an issue this game) but this is elite from Hurts. There's no obvious hot route (as is often the case) but Hurts evades the free rusher and delivers a dime to his left. He made so many big time plays. pic.twitter.com/VKlRvlEDrd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
I am very sad but this was not deemed a catch because it is an absolute dime from Hurts. The Eagles will always get a lot of single-high coverage because teams need to allocate an extra defender to stop the running game. When Hurts sees single-high, he loves a deep shot outside the numbers and he throws this ball so well. It’s a great release by DeVonta Smith and if you are being really critical, Smith should catch this. The single-high safety reads this really quickly but Hurts throws it so early and with great velocity that he has no chance of getting over. It’s a big-time throw.
#10 This is another dime from Hurts. This offense will take shots vs MOFC all day long and this is another beauty to DeVonta Smith who runs by press coverage. Obviously they decided it wasn't a catch but it doesn't take away from the throw. You couldn't hand it to him any better. pic.twitter.com/PXkMUjxjlC— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
I spoke before the game about the Chiefs' use of press coverage and it was no surprise that they did press the Eagles’ wide receivers throughout the game. Luckily, AJ Brown is fantastic against press coverage and he defeated it over and over throughout the game. A little small thing I love about this design too is how the Eagles put Quez Watkins and Dallas Goedert on the line of scrimmage so AJ Brown can have an extra yard to defeat the press. He probably doesn’t need it, but it’s helpful regardless. AJ Brown is an elite wide receiver and he played like one in the Super Bowl.
#11 Speaking of WRs who defeat press coverage, AJ Brown is a monster. The swat to fight off the CB at the line is nasty and then the quickness to make him miss and pick up YAC on a simple in route is so good. I've enjoyed watching him so much this year. pic.twitter.com/r9NvLp2t82— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
The second half just felt like I watching dime after dime by Jalen Hurts. What a ball this is. I actually think Goedert doesn’t run a great route here as he drifts upfield which makes it a harder throw but Hurts fit this into the tiniest of windows. Can you remember when Hurts wasn’t very accurate? Me neither. He has been consistently accurate throughout the year and some of his ball placement was just fantastic in this game. You can tell he is confident in his abilities too because he could throw this to DeVonta Smith but wants to be aggressive and push the ball further down the field by hitting Dallas Goedert. What a throw this is.
#12 My word, this is a ball. Goedert drifts upfield too much which makes this a tough throw. Hurts could hit Smith on the whip route but decides to take the bigger gain and delivers a perfectly placed ball. The pocket movement and accuracy are fantastic. pic.twitter.com/0SHuqY0gex— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
I think you can argue this is one of the throws of his career. Weirdly, I do actually think he should throw this to AJ Brown (who was frustrated after the play) as he just runs by the cornerback but Hurts decides to go Quez Watkins instead. What a disappointing season Quez Watkins has had. He has to catch this ball. The Eagles make this harder than it should be for Hurts by blowing their protection again. Goedert and Sanders take the same defender which means the MIKE comes through unblocked. The Eagles’ offense is fantastic but they had some issues in pass protection all season long. You can’t allow a free rusher here. Luckily for the Eagles, Hurts is a star. He stands in the pocket despite the free rusher and delivers an absolute beauty despite being unable to step into the throw. The Eagles should absolutely look to upgrade at WR3 next year.
#13 I think Hurts should probably throw this to AJB if he's the 1st read... But it takes nothing away from the throw. This is elite! Eagles screw up the protection (again - Sanders/Goedert take the same defender) and the MIKE comes through unblocked. Quez HAS to catch this. pic.twitter.com/6kfDq883EV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
This is getting silly now. This is a ridiculous throw. It’s 3rd and long and the Eagles run a variation of ‘smash’ which is a great beater of 2-high coverages that the Chiefs love to run. The cloud corner (underneath defender) plays this perfectly and there is pretty much nowhere to fit this ball into. Hurts still manages to fit this ball in somehow and it’s a great catch by Dallas Goedert too. This is a throw only elite quarterbacks make. This is how good you have to be to convert on 3rd and long in the NFL.
#14 I know you've all seen this but... Come on. This is a ridiculous ball. Smash concept and the CB plays it perfectly but Hurts still fits it in on 3rd and long. This window is tiny. It's a hell of a catch too. I cannot quite believe how well Hurts threw the ball in this game. pic.twitter.com/GG2v122PwK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
This is the play I am having nightmares about. It’s bad. 3rd and 3 in the 4th quarter. I personally think this is 4-down territory so I think the Eagles could have run it or thrown it short. Instead, they run this play. 3 slow-developing routes with no hot adjustment to the blitzing cornerback. This is bad preparation and bad coaching. There has to be an option for DeVonta Smith to run a shorter route when he sees his cornerback blitzing. He could just turn around and Hurts could throw it straight to him. The Eagles actually pick up the cornerback blitz but they allow yet another free rusher which means Hurts has to bail from the pocket. AJ Brown absolutely destroys press coverage and if there is no free rusher here, Hurts has an easy throw for a 1st down. For as good as the Eagles' offense has been, the lack of adjustment to the blitz and an inability to prevent free rushers has been a problem all year and it cost them on the biggest stage. This is painful to watch.
#15 Least favorite call of the game. 3rd and 3 (I expected this to be 4-down territory) and you have no slot adjustment to create a hot route against the blitzing CB. Free rusher on Hurts who tries to create some magic but there's no chance with 3 deep routes. Ugh. A huge moment. pic.twitter.com/fyID121wzH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
The Eagles running game never really got going. They ran a lot of zone stuff and I was extremely impressed with how aggressive the Chiefs’ defense was against the run. This was the only zone run that stood out regarding the Eagles’ offensive line dominating the Chiefs in the trenches. Just watch Mailata and Dickerson on this run... my goodness.
#2 This was one of the only times I really saw the Eagles OL dominate like this. The Chiefs really played well against the run. This is just dominant by Mailata/Dickerson who basically double team the 3-tech into the linebacker which is one way of getting to the second level!! pic.twitter.com/fDK5kAnvP2— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
Although the running backs never got going, the quarterback run game was exceptional in this game. I watched this play a lot and was laughing out loud at Chiefs 91. He must have predicted a tight-end screen or something because I have no idea what on earth he was doing. I love how often the Eagles motioned the running back out to create an empty look pre-snap and then ran in the other direction with Hurts. You can see some of the Chiefs’ defenders start to flow to the opposite side of the run due to the motion. I know I say it every week, but having an elite athlete at quarterback is a cheat code. It’s so tough to stop the quarterback run game because defenses just do not have the numbers! They ran this play with Kelce pulling constantly (I’ve seen lots of people call it different things but I refer to it as quarterback power) and Kelce was fantastic on the move all game.
#5 The QB run game was huge in this game. Kelce was elite as a puller all game. Watching 91 made me laugh out loud multiple times on this play, what is he doing?! Has he predicted a TE screen to Goedert and is trying to be a hero? Mailata blocks him in the back as it's so weird! pic.twitter.com/j1BnbuzSXU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
One reason the Eagles’ zone-read running game never got going was that the Chiefs used the ‘scrape exchange’ a lot. The scrape exchange is where the defensive end takes the running back and the linebacker scrapes to the outside to take away the quarterback who should keep it when he sees the defensive end crash down on the running back. This has been an issue for the Eagles' running game going back to the Colts game and it’s something they should work on beating next year.
#6 Eagles need a better answer for teams that use the 'scrape exchange' (EDGE takes RB and linebacker 'scrapes' for the QB) against read option runs. It has happened quite a lot the back half of this season and the Chiefs used it really well to blow up a few read option runs. pic.twitter.com/FFy6NTQbOb— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
Watching the Chiefs’ defense play the run compared to the Eagles’ defense was depressing. The Chiefs were so aggressive against the run all game. They would get downhill fast, take on blockers, and not give up easy yards. This play in particular stood out to me. Something the Colts did earlier on in the season was leave Kelce with no one to block. The Eagles love double-teaming defensive tackles with a center and a guard and having your defensive tackles very wide takes away the obvious double team. This is a look you would expect the Eagles to run again, especially when you consider they are 8v6 in the box, but the Chiefs were really good against the run and do a good job blowing up this run for a very short gain.
#7 I thought Chiefs played the run really well. This is on 3rd & medium and it looks an easy front to run against. However, leaving Kelce unblocked limits the Eagles double teams on DTs which they excel at. Eagles have 8v6 in the box but still struggle to block it up. pic.twitter.com/18k6as2usV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
This is a similar play to earlier with Kelce pulling, but this time Hurts runs to the right-hand side. The linebacker takes away the hole and Hurts reads it perfectly and cuts it back. I know it’s an insult to call Hurts a running back (for obvious reasons) but I am convinced he is athletic enough to play as a running back. His vision and contact balance are so good. Another reason this play works is that the Chiefs double AJ Brown which means they have one less player in the box. This offense just has too many weapons to stop.
#8 Chiefs double cover AJ Brown on 4th down which leaves the LB one-on-one with Hurts. Hurts is simply too good of an athlete. Hurts runs behind Kelce who pulls but that finds the cutback lane and accelerates past the DT who can't slow him down. Big time run. pic.twitter.com/h4bG19ZNtj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
And this play is the same QB power as earlier with a center pulling. It’s just too easy. It’s the same run, but look how the Eagles dress up these plays differently. This time they motion the running back to the same side Hurts is running in order to kick out the defensive back and create one less body in the box. The Eagles end up 3v3 to the lefthand side and the blocks by Mailata, Dickerson, and Kelce are perfect. This looks so easy because of how dominant the lefthand side of the Eagles’ offensive line can be.
#9 Speaking of Hurts as a runner... This is too easy. I love it. RB motion moves the CB outside. Leaves 3v3 to the left. Mailata/Dickerson pin their guys inside with ease and Kelce does what he always does when he pulls. The Eagles red zone rushing offense is so efficient. pic.twitter.com/3hhso8cokf— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
The best block of the game goes to Jason Kelce here who absolutely blows up the Chiefs’ linebacker. I do not think Kelce will retire because he is still playing at such a high level and I will miss watching him when he does. I was surprised at how simple the Eagles run game was (except for the QB runs) and they didn’t run as much gap scheme stuff as I expected (pin/pull, power, counter). This was one of the only pin/pull runs I saw. I wanted to highlight this play to highlight how good the Chiefs’ defensive backs were against the run too. They fought through blocks all game and had an impact on the Eagles’ running game.
#16 Watch Jason Kelce. Lol. He's a star. Eagles really didn't run much gap scheme RB runs other than this which surprised me. Chiefs CBs were really strong against the run all game as 23 shows here. They helped their run defense. I wouldn't mind my RB running through a CB tho... pic.twitter.com/aVX185sJZw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
Let’s end on a high. What a fantastic run this is. Zach Pascal completely whiffs on his block (he had a really poor game) and Hurts ends up getting hit by about 4 defenders. It doesn’t matter. Hurts is so tough and somehow gets into the end zone to tie up the game here. It is devasting that this is the last time he saw the field. Hurts did not deserve to leave this game on the losing side. I was so proud of his performance and I’m excited to watch him over the next few seasons. What a performance this was.
#17 This is an insane run. 21 blows past Zach Pascal and hits Hurts early. Then Hurts get hit by 3 other Chiefs defenders and forces his way into the end zone. How strong is this guy! This run would go down as a legendary Eagles play if we had won this game. Not many QBs do this. pic.twitter.com/I5j9H170Ng— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) February 14, 2023
I hope you managed to enjoy this, despite the pain we are all still feeling. Thank you for checking out these pieces each week and if you have any ideas for any off-season pieces you want to read, just let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@JonnyPage9). I really appreciate all the comments and views which allow me to do this weekly! Thank you!