Philadelphia Eagles crumple late, suffer 27-20 loss to Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs, 2017 NFL Week 2
KANSAS CITY — A matchup between a head coach with a reputation as an offensive mastermind and one of his play-calling proteges devolved into a soggy defensive slugfest by the time fans at Arrowhead Stadium settled into their seats Sunday.
That dynamic left the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter. And just as the sun finally peeked out behind the clouds overhead, Kansas City’s might emerged. The Chiefs made plays when they mattered most to edge the Eagles, 27-20.
The victory elevates Reid’s record against his former assistants to 9-2.
- Complete coverage of Eagles-Chiefs, including final stats, highlights, photos and more
The Eagles (1-1) stayed in the game thanks to a stingy defense and quarterback Carson Wentz’s creativity on offense before a costly fourth-quarter interception turned the tide.
The Chiefs (2-0) picked Wentz off on a screen pass gone awry when the game was tied with about eight minutes left. Kansas City capitalized in fitting fashion. Reid called a play he’s famous for — a shovel pass to a tight end — that resulted in Travis Kelce’s 15-yard touchdown.
Down seven points late, Philadelphia started to crumple. The offense went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and the defense wilted the next time the Chiefs got the ball to allow an easy touchdown.
The Eagles did give themselves a final prayer by scoring a touchdown with eight seconds left and recovering an onside kick in Chiefs territory. Wentz heaved a Hail Mary pass into the end zone, but it fell incomplete, sealing Philadelphia’s first loss of the season.
In the end, the Birds’ mistakes (two giveaways, a missed 30-yard field goal, dropped passes) loomed large in a road defeat.
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The Eagles entered the game without cornerback Ronald Darby, and defensive backs Rodney McLeod and Jaylen Watkins limped to the locker room early with hamstring injuries. That left Philly’s already shaky secondary further depleted and gave a talented Chiefs offense plenty of weaknesses to exploit.
Kansas City couldn’t take advantage consistently, though. And the Birds’ defensive line deserves credit for that.
Philadelphia sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith four times Sunday and bothered him throughout the game. The pressure helped alleviate some of Philly’s ills in the defensive backfield by not giving Smith time to set his feet and throw.
Behind stars Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, the Eagles’ defensive line breathed life into a defense gasping for air. It just wasn’t enough for a win.
With the score tied and about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles tried to set up a screen pass on third-and-10, but Wentz threw the ball off a defensive lineman’s helmet. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones nabbed an interception off the ricochet, which gave Kansas City the ball inside the Eagles’ 40-yard line.
The mistake proved costly.
Though the Chiefs had trouble moving the ball against Philly all game, they punched in the score on a 15-yard shovel pass from Smith to Kelce. And in a defense-dominant game, Kansas City’s sudden seven-point lead was insurmountable.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Eagles were underdogs in Kansas City, and for good reason — the Chiefs are the reigning AFC West champions and always stand as a tough out at home. So the Birds’ loss shouldn’t dent expectations or dictate the trajectory of their season, especially considering the injuries in their secondary.
Sunday’s game did, however, reinforce some lingering issues the Eagles face. The offensive line failed to provide Wentz sturdy protection for most the defeat, the defense was vulnerable when the front four couldn’t bail them out and two giveaways played a key role in the loss.
The Eagles (1-1) host the New York Giants in their home opener Sept. 24.