Anger. Heartbreak. Depression.
Those are some of the words that can describe the feeling of Eagles fans on Monday morning following the team’s 38-35 loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII. There are plenty of plays the team wants back, but a blown call at the end of the game ended all debates.
As a fan and reporter of the losing side, it’s hard to calculate just how awful a feeling like this is. For the players and people in the franchise, it’s even worse. That being said, there are plenty of people to celebrate and plenty of blame to go around.
Let’s take a look at who showed up on Super Bowl Sunday.
Stock Up: Jalen Hurts
Part of the reason that the Eagles loss is so gut-wrenching is because of Jalen Hurts’ play. Hurts went up against the best quarterback and coach in the NFL and went toe-to-toe with them. He was masterful both through the pocket and on the run. He showed grit and toughness that all Philly athletes are demanded to and is more than deserving of a new contract.
His fumble changed the outlook of the contest, but he’s the only reason the team was in this game. Hurts was special on Sunday. If the Eagles can find a way to get back, I wouldn’t bet any money against him.
Stock Up: DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown
Smith took a massive hit in this game and exited the stadium with a walking boot. The fact that he still put up seven catches for 100 yards is incredible. Like his quarterback, Smitty showed the world that his original draft detractors were dead wrong.
Brown, on the other hand, played like a number one wide receiver. There’s reason to be confident in the Eagles’ chances to get back simply because they have two receivers under contract that are happy to be here and will do anything for their quarterback.
Stock Up: Lane Johnson
Eagles right tackle, Lane Johnson could retire tomorrow and he’d be heading to the HOF. This playoff run only sealed that. Lane Johnson, with a torn groin, played every offensive staff, didn’t give up a sack, and continued his dominant level of play. It’s gut-wrenching he isn’t celebrating a Super Bowl right now with all the work he put in for this team.
Stock Up: Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen
Steichen and Sirianni were outclassing Steve Spagnoulo all day Sunday. Steichen had the right calls on at all times. Sirianni, on the other hand, used his aggressiveness to keep the Eagles in the ballgame. The emotion both showed in a game like that showed how well-placed the Eagles are for future success. Steichen may be gone, but as long as Sirianni is there, the team will be contending.
Stock Down: Jonathan Gannon
Yeah, he can stay in Arizona to take the Cardinals’ job. While Steichen and Sirianni were winning on offense, Jonathan Gannon was getting embarrassed by Andy Reid on defense. The second half was a pathetic display of poor play-calling to leave their players in positions to fail. No adjustments, no change in the game plan, it was all atrocious from Gannon.
The Eagles will have suitors for their DC job, but it’s extremely clear that this team needs an update on the Fangio system. There’s nowhere in the rulebook that says you can have a good secondary and still apply added pressure. Also didn’t help that KC could run at all because Gannon gave it to them to stop the pass….but couldn’t stop the pass.
Stock Down: Quez Watkins
Nothing more to say. On a key second and nine in the third quarter, Quez Watkins had an open field and the ball was placed perfectly. A catch allows the Eagles to have first and goal, and a chance to match the Chiefs’ opening half touchdown. Instead, he dropped it, and the Eagles later settled for a field goal. Watkins had a good start to 2022 but was awful and unplayable down the stretch. Philadelphia will need to upgrade the slot receiver position because Watkins has become a liability.
Stock Down: Carl Cheffers
What a disaster from NFL officials. First, a 20-minute review on DeVonta Smith’s late, second-quarter grab. Normally, a long review means that the play will stand as there is inconclusive evidence to overturn a call. Instead, we received some garbage excuse that helmet catches no long count. Then add in the Bradberry hold to end the game and you have the biggest game of the season decided on a blown call.
On whip routes like JuJu Smith-Schuster ran, it’s pretty common to see a corner tug on the jersey a little without interfering with the route. For some reason, Cheffers and his crew felt like that moment was the perfect time to enforce the rule even though that wasn’t being called all game. Pretty ridiculous is comes down to that.
Stock Down: Defensive line
Hey, remember how this group led the league in sacks this year? Remember how dominant the interior groups have been? Well, they got absolutely embarrassed on Sunday. We’ll start with Josh Sweat who, for some reason, couldn’t set the edge against the run. Kansas City ate Sweat for lunch all game and kept running to his side because of it. Then there was the entire interior group from Fletcher Cox to Linval Joseph to Jordan Davis, who didn’t get pressure at all on Mahomes and let him take his sweet time in the pocket. This was an atrocious night for the Eagles’ defensive line.
The only reason I don’t put Reddick down is that he clearly had the step on the RT but would trip on the bad field, as well as him actually getting a couple of pressures on Mahomes.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire