Microsoft Teams Top Connection
Linebacker Eric Wilson hauled in his first interception as a Philadelphia Eagle during the opening drive of the third quarter in Sunday's 42-30 loss to the Chiefs. Wilson picked off the errant pass intended for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Defensive end Josh Sweat pressured quarterback Patrick Mahomes into the mistake. The Eagles scored a field goal, one of three by Jake Elliott on the day, to make it 21-16.
Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith build their connection, but know the offense can be better
Something everyone has been waiting to see more of is the young quarterback/wide receiver duo of Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith, and fans were able to see it in person on Sunday against the Chiefs. With the chemistry growing on the field between the two, they still want to continue to improve their connection. Although the Hurts-Smith connection looked great, as a whole, Hurts says the team isn't complete yet, but he feels they are almost there.
"We're clearly not there as a football team. We lost, but we're this close. We're this close. That's something that I believe. We have to continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to be one percent better every day. We're not a finished product. No player on this team is a finished product," Hurts continued. "But it's about believing that and continuing to grow and learn from everything that you do. We played a great football team out there, played a great football team that many say is generationally one of the best. Great quarterback, great players. We got great players too, we got to put it together and we will, we're not a finished product."
After the game, Head Coach Nick Sirianni praised Hurts' performance.
"That's one of the better quarterback performances I've seen, and I've been around a lot of good quarterbacks. He battled. He made good decisions with the football. He got out of trouble when there was trouble. He made good checks. He made good reads," explained Sirianni. "That's the best I've seen him in practice. That's the best I've seen him in a game since I've been here, so hats off to Jalen, he battled. That's going to be important for us moving forward."
Throughout the game, Hurts had several beautiful throws and extended plays when there was pressure. Overall, Hurts threw for 387 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed for a team-high 47 yards while not turning the ball over. The 32 completions and 387 passing yards were career highs for Hurts. Even after hearing Sirianni's positive feedback, the only thing that matters for Hurts is winning.
"We lost. We lost. We lost the game. We gotta do things better," Hurts said.
Someone who said the same thing was wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Hurts and Smith continued to build their chemistry on the field. On the first drive of the game, Hurts threw to wide receiver DeVonta Smith for a 22-yard gain to put them in Chiefs territory. That was just the start as the rookie wide receiver had seven receptions for 122 yards for his first NFL game with 100-plus yards. Smith became the first Eagles rookie to record 100-plus receiving yards within their first four career games. The 22-year-old now leads the Eagles with 237 receiving yards on the season.
"As a team, that's what we practice for, to just connect as a team. We're getting better," Smith said. "We're a good team, we have some things we gotta clean up and write down. It's about the team getting better each week."
When the team went into the locker room after the game, Hurts, one of the team captains, spoke up and had a message for the team.
"Everything is in our hands. That's what I believe. I believe that everything is in our hands, and everything is controlled. You played this game, and you want to control the controllables, we didn't. We didn't capitalize on opportunities. We want to take advantage of opportunities and get points," Hurts said of his message to the team after the game.
And just like that the Eagles will move on to Round 5 to battle against the Carolina Panthers. Hurts knows what the team must do to get in the W column next week. The Eagles are the only ones who can control what happens on the field.
"My message is this, we control our destiny. We're the master of our fate," Hurts said. – Jillian Oddo
Defense unable to limit damage in red zone
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed why he's one of the league's elite talents as he completed 24 of 30 pass attempts for 278 yards with five touchdowns and an interception for a 131.0 QB rating on Sunday, but it was the execution in critical situations that allowed Kansas City to leave Philadelphia with a 42-30 victory.
The Chiefs were 9-for-10 on third down and a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone, which included two of Head Coach Andy Reid's patented shovel passes for touchdowns.
"They got a lot of good players," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "Obviously, you know Mahomes is a really good player. He's an NFL MVP for a reason. Coach Reid is a really good playcaller. (Chiefs Offensive Coordinator) Eric Bieniemy goes a great job of getting those guys ready and then you see (Travis) Kelce and (Tyreek) Hill, they got really good playmakers. That was a tough challenge for our defense today."
The Eagles were able to limit the damage done by the All-Pro tight end Kelce, who had just four catches for 23 yards. As for Hill, one of the league's fastest wide receivers, the plan was to keep the coverage over the top and minimize the explosive plays. Instead, Hill kept the chains moving with eight receptions that resulted in a first down, including four on third down. He also had another 15-yard reception that turned a second-and-17 into a third-and-short situation. Hill finished with 11 receptions for 186 yards and three scores.
"They're explosive but, I mean, we just had a bad game," said defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who registered the one sack for the Eagles. "We got Carolina next week, so we're looking to bounce back."
The Eagles also allowed 200 total yards on the ground, including 102 to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who added a touchdown on a reception.
"They are a good team. We wanted to force them to drive the field. They played a good game. If you watch a lot of their games, if you force them to drive the field, they give you opportunities. I don't think we had a ton of them today," linebacker Alex Singleton said.
Penalties didn't help the Eagles either. There were four pivotal calls against the defense that gave the Chiefs a free set of downs or made moving the chains much more attainable, including a neutral zone infraction that made a third-and-6 a third-and-1 in the fourth quarter when the Chiefs only led 28-23.
"They are costing us, extending drives. We need to get off the field, so they are tough. But that's self-discipline," cornerback Darius Slay said. "That's what we (have to) do. We have to continue to keep working on it, keep pounding on it in practice."
Sunday provided a new series of coaching points for the Eagles. Linebacker Eric Wilson, who netted the only turnover for either team with an interception, sees guys in the locker room who are willing to fight to get things on the right track.
"We're right there. We're right there. I think as a team we're getting better in every aspect and we have to keep fighting," he said. "This team has a lot of resiliency. Keep fighting, work out the details, and we're right there." – Chris McPherson
Offensive line adjusts without Lane Johnson
Head Coach Nick Sirianni learned a couple of hours before Sunday's kickoff against the Chiefs that the team would be without All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson due to a personal matter.
What did the Eagles do? Just what Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland prepared the team and the players for all week – being ready for any potential scenario that can arise on gameday.
The Eagles – already without starting guards Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo, and left tackle Jordan Mailata due to injury – unveiled a lineup that featured Andre Dillard at left tackle, Landon Dickerson in his first start at left guard, the rock in the middle Jason Kelce, Nate Herbig at right guard, and Jack Driscoll – fresh off Injured Reserve – at right tackle.
The Eagles went toe-to-toe with the explosive Kansas City Chiefs for three-plus quarters, amassing 30 first downs, the most in a single game since 2015, and 461 total yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for a career-high 387 yards. Philadelphia did not turn the ball over and allowed Arryn Siposs to keep his leg fresh on the sideline, as the Eagles did not punt once all game for the first time in 40 years.
"I think Jeff Stoutland and (Offensive Coordinator) Shane Steichen just did a phenomenal job just getting everybody ready to go and it's no secret, Jeff Stoutland got everybody ready to play in all these different scenarios and different scenarios happened," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "The offensive line battled. I thought they played really well and that's just a tribute to Coach Stout, of how good a football coach he is and how he's gotten the guys better as a whole with their fundamentals and he mentally prepares them.
"And just a tribute to the guys who stepped in and played. They really played good. I got to watch the tape to tell you exactly how they played, but I thought they battled. They really battled. They played their tails off. They played hard. They played physical. We got a lot of warriors right there in that group." – Chris McPherson
Kenneth Gainwell shines in the pass game
The scouting report on Kenneth Gainwell coming out of Memphis was that he could contribute not only as a runner out of the backfield, but as a pass catcher as well. In his brilliant 2019 campaign, one in which he earned conference rookie of the year honors, Gainwell did just that with 51 catches for 610 yards, including a 68-yarder, and three touchdowns.
Despite not playing football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gainwell quickly caught up and has found a role in the Eagles' offense early in his rookie season. After chipping in 109 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on the ground in the first three games, Gainwell posted six catches for 58 yards and added another 31 on the ground, including his second career touchdown, Sunday against the Chiefs.
"It's my preparation during the week. It's just going in and getting ready for whenever my name is called, and being ready once I get out there," Gainwell said. "When they put me in, I'm doing what I have to do. I just have to keep working."
The 89 total scrimmage yards were a career high. His 58 receiving yards were the most by any Eagles running back since 2019.
But more importantly, the Eagles trusted Gainwell in some make-or-break situations. On a fourth-and-2 in the first quarter, Gainwell caught a short pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts and gained 12 yards. After a penalty on the next snap, Gainwell got the lost yardage back and then some with another reception, this time for 15 yards. Hurts connected with tight end Dallas Goedert for a touchdown to end the scoring drive.
"It was part of Jalen's progression," Gainwell said of the fourth-down play. "He knows where to throw the ball, and where to get it to. He saw (me) wide open and Jalen did a great job on that."
Gainwell got to punch the ball in later in the game, on a 7-yard run up the middle out of shotgun that cut the Chiefs' lead to 28-23 early in the fourth quarter.
"It was so wide open. I just put my head down, kept my feet driving, and scored. We had to score there," said Gainwell. "They (the offensive line) balled. They did their thing. I think the guys played very well. They continue to do what they do."
Gainwell's performance at running back along with DeVonta Smith's first career 100-yard day as a wide receiver provide the Eagles with two pieces who have developed nicely in the first month of the regular season. – Chris McPherson
Take a glance at the best photos from the Chiefs vs. Eagles game.
• Jake Elliott converted 3-of-3 FG attempts from 29, 25, and 31 yards, and added another 3 points on extra-point attempts to combine for 12 points, which ties for the 3rd-highest single-game total in his career (most since a 12-point effort on 12/16/18 at L.A. Rams).
With 93 career FGs, Elliott surpassed Paul McFadden (91, 1984-87) for the 2nd-most FGs in franchise history, trailing only David Akers (294, 1999-2010). He also moved past Tony Franklin (412, 1979-83) and Brian Westbrook (410, 2002-09) into sole possession of 6th place on the Eagles' all-time scoring list with 419 career points.
• Sunday marked the first time the Eagles did not record a punt since 11/15/81 vs. Baltimore.
• Philadelphia produced 461 total net yards (highest single-game total since recording 477 yards on 12/27/20 at Dallas). The Eagles also registered 30 first downs (including 19 passing first downs), which was their most in a single game since 10/11/15 vs. New Orleans (34).
• Philadelphia totaled 158 yards during the first quarter – the team's most in an opening frame since a 168-yard output in the first quarter on 1/3/16 at N.Y. Giants.
• Dallas Goedert (5 receptions for 56 yards, including a 3-yard TD) and Greg Ward (15-yard TD) each caught TD passes from Jalen Hurts during Sunday's contest. Goedert has logged 50+ receiving yards in back-to-back games and is tied with Ward for the team lead in receiving TDs (2) this season. Ward has registered TD receptions in back-to-back games for the first time in his career as well.
• Jason Kelce started his 109th consecutive regular-season game, which is the longest active streak among NFL centers (longest by any Eagles center since the 1970 merger). Kelce's 109-game streak is the longest by any NFL center since Chris Myers from 2007-14 (123 games).