ANY Eagles fan who’s angry over this game, is missing the point. This game didn’t end in a kneel down. There was no victory formation for Kansas City. Up until the second that final incompletion rested on the ground, the hearts of the Chiefs team, coaching staff, and fans, were solidly lodged in their throats. This is the game our team NEEDED.
Eagles 20 – Chief 27
The game came down to a Hail Mary by QB Carson Wentz (25/46 – 54.3 – 333 – 2 – 1). Wentz (get this) was also our leading rusher on the day (4 – 55 – 13.7 – 0). WR Alshon Jeffrey (7 – 92 – 13.1 – 1) scored his first touchdown as an Eagle, and TE Zach Ertz (5 – 97 – 19.4) chipped in with nearly 100 yards of his own. That included a 53 yard pass he caught off of a Chiefs player, in a play so bizarre the only thing missing was ‘Benny Hill’ theme music.
Our Defensive Line notched 4 sacks against Alex Smith (21/28 – 75% – 251 – 1 – 0), but failed to record a single turnover this week.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Slow the rush: My prescription was to use short passes to Ertz to force the OLB’s into coverage like we did with the Redskins last week. The Eagles used that tactic, but they used a different player, RB Darren Sproles (10 – 48 – 4.8 – 0/ 2 – 30 – 15.0 – 0) to achieve the desired result. Point is, the tactic worked pretty well. (Until later in the game, when we had to abandon it to play catch-up.) (DONE)
2) Tick, Tick, BOOM: Except on the quick routes to Sproles, it seemed like Wentz spent the day holding the ball entirely too long, while waiting for receivers to uncover. This is going to get him killed. Especially with LG Isaac Seumalo acting as an Uber for defensive linemen (he gave up 3 sacks to Chris Jones). (NOT DONE)
3) No front-side blitzes!: We kept the blitzes tucked out of Alex Smith’s sight and the results were a sack from the left by OLB Mychal Kendricks (2 – 1 – 0 – 0), and a soul-rattling shot from up the gut, by MLB Jordan “Cowboy Killer” Hicks (1 – 2 – 0 – 0). Despite his 75% completion percentage, we kept Smith from sitting in the pocket and from holding the ball long enough for deep routes to unfold. We kept him uncomfortable and settling for short and intermediate routes. (DONE)
4) ImPRESSive coverage: We came out playing with big cushions again, which is why Smith was able to connect on ¾ of his passes. That completion percentage is alarming, and we can’t reliably that to help us win games. We make it way too easy for QB’s to cheat our defense of well-earned sacks. (NOT DONE)
This weeks score is 2 out of 4. That brings our team to 4 of 8 for the year. We’re .500 at hitting our goals, and we’re .500 in the standings. See a pattern? We have to be better next week vs the giants. Otherwise we’ll lose at home to a laughingstock.
On The Whole:
Since being an Eagles fan almost automatically makes a person a fan of the ‘Rocky’ franchise, I’m going to take you back to a moment. Seriously. Don’t skip the video.
In this instance the entire NFL is Apollo, and the Eagles are Rocky. While Rocky didn’t win the first fight, he never stopped trying. He kept coming. He was relentless. It was his heart not his fists, which made it possible for him to eventually be a champion.
Did you see us vs the Chiefs? We never relented. We never hung our heads. Our team’s body language didn’t sag. Not after injury. Not after big plays. Not after being down by two touchdowns. We kept coming after them. We kept on fighting. We never gave up. We JUST. KEPT. COMING. That’s our heart. That’s why we’ll succeed in the long run.
I was proud of the way our guys played in that game. Even more so, I was proud of their demeanor after the shit start to hit the fan. Down 14 points with just 6 minutes and change left? Come on. Most young teams would have started phoning it in. But not this team. That onside kick recovery by TE Trey Burton (1 – 10 – 10.0 – 0)? That was pure desire. The tape will show him clearly out-hustling everyone else on the field. You can’t fake that. It’s either in you or it’s not.
Despite all my glowing rhetoric, we did however lose the game. That’s because in some areas we just aren’t good enough yet. (More on that later.) Due to this game and an opponent of this caliber, our coaching staff was gifted with enough clear indicators of what we must improve, before we meet up with Washington again, in what will be a pivotal Week 7 match-up. (Remember where you read that first!)