KANSAS CITY --The situation was not exactly reeking of optimism. For 58 minutes the Eagles offense had managed 191 total net yards and had been pressured into too many mistakes to count. Then rookie quarterback Mike Kafka got under center in the hurry-up offense and suddenly the offense was magical.
Kafka completed 6 of 7 passes for 75 yards, including an 18-yard strike to Riley Cooper for a touchdown, to lead an 8-play, 80-yard drive for the Eagles in a comeback 20-17 win over Kansas City on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Kafka showed why the Eagles drafted him in the fourth round of April's draft -- he was calm, cool and collected and he delivered in the clutch.
"I think it was just a great win for the team," said Kafka. "It wasn't about me. It was the team. We kind of got things going in that situation and it was a lot of fun out there. It was big for us as a team."
Kafka completed 9 of 13 passes for 93 yards in the game, compiling a passer rating of 115.2. On that final drive, the Northwestern product started the drive at the Eagles 20-yard line with 2 minutes to go and zero timeouts and, well, here is what happened.
On first down, Kafka threw to Cooper for a gain of 10 yards on the left side. It was a combination that obviously Kafka enjoyed. Then Kafka tried a pass to Kelley Washington on a crossing route, but the pass was low and behind Washington. A pass to Hank Baskett gained 5 yards and stopped the clock with 1:30 on the clock.
On third and 5 from the 35, Kafka ran for 5 yards and a first down and then completed back-to-back passes of 10 yards to tight end Clay Harbor and with 36 seconds to go the Eagles had the ball at the Chiefs 40-yard line. Suddenly, the Eagles had a shot.
Kafka then used a pump fake to free up Washington and went to the receiver on the right side for 22 yards to the 18-yard line. A flag flew on the play as the officials debated whether Kansas City committed a roughing penalty against Washington, but the flag was picked up and Kafka went right to work.
He took the snap on first and 10 with 29 seconds to go and pump faked again. Cooper was the target, and the rookie from Florida created some space behind the cornerback and reached up and plucked Kafka's perfect pass for the catch and the score in the left corner of the end zone.
"We noticed that their defensive backs were biting a bit on the pump, so we used it a couple of times there and it worked," said Kafka. "On that last throw, I just put it up there and knew Riley would go get it and he did."
Kafka is likely to play a lot in the preseason finale against the Jets, but he'll savor this moment for a couple of days.
"We get right back at it to get ready for the Jets, I know that," he said. "It felt great for all of us out there to win the game. That's what matters, that the team won the game."
-- Posted by Dave Spadaro, 12:43 a.m., August 28