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Strange Endings Hurt Eagles

Posted Sep 17, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It was tough to create separation on Sunday as the Eagles and Chiefs waged a tremendous defensive battle in the first half. A couple of moments late in the second quarter, though, were just enough to make a difference.

First, Darren Sproles returned a Dustin Colquitt punt 10 yards and then had the ball jarred loose with a little over one minute remaining in the half. Kansas City recovered on the Philadelphia 24-yard line and turned the takeaway into three points after the Eagles’ defense stood tall and forced a three-and-out series.

Instead of taking a knee with only one timeout remaining and 17 seconds left on the clock after the ensuing touchback, the Eagles used an 11-yard Sproles run and a lucky bounce to get back into scoring position.

A Carson Wentz pass deep down the left sideline bounced high in the area after cornerback Terrance Mitchell failed to catch the throw and tight end Zach Ertz alertly caught the deflection and raced down the sideline for a 53-yard gain to the Kansas City 11-yard line with two seconds remaining in the half.

“It was just a crazy bounce and I was in the right place at the right time,” Ertz said. “I wish I could have scored on that play.”

New placekicker Jake Elliott lined up for the field goal, and the Chiefs used their final timeout of the half just before Elliott kicked. His attempt, while nullified by the timeout, was good. On the actual kick, Donnie Jones put down a Rick Lovato snap that was a bit to the left, and Elliott missed the 30-yard field goal wide left.

Instead of heading into the locker room tied 6-6 and receiving the ball to start the third quarter, the Eagles trailed 6-3.

It was a first half that ended with the Eagles minus two of their defensive starters – safety Rodney McLeod and nickel cornerback Jaylen Watkins left the game with hamstring injuries and did not return. Corey Graham played safety in place of McLeod and rookie Rasul Douglas made his regular-season debut at cornerback.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” Douglas said. “I think it went pretty well. I know I have a lot to learn so I’m going to watch the tape and see how it really went.”

The ending of the first half was nearly dwarfed by the end of the game. After Nelson Agholor’s touchdown catch and Elliott’s PAT made the score 27-20, the Eagles executed an onside kick as Trey Burton recovered Elliott’s well-placed ball and the Eagles had a final play from the Kansas City 39-yard line.

With five seconds remaining on the clock Wentz’s throw into the end zone intended for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery fell incomplete, ending the contest.

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