How the Eagles beat the Chiefs: 5 ways Philadelphia outsmarted Kansas City

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Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (C)

The Eagles‘ halftime adjustments, coupled with Andy Reid making the same roster construction mistakes that plagued the Eagles during his tenure in Philadelphia, resulted in a big win on Monday Night.

A change of heart

On offense, the Birds gave up 5 sacks and were unable to convert any 3rd down conversions. The defense was not faring any better. Their number one run defense gave up 132 yards on the ground and they were losing 17–7 at the break.

The loss of Dallas Goedert loomed large as the Eagles were tying a variation of the spread offense with 4 wide receivers on the field, without a tight end. The offense also had both Gainwell and Swift on the field at the same time. It was clear they added new wrinkles to the offense during the bye, but it was producing very little success.

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts celebrates after scoring on a 1-yard run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Then, for the second game in a row, Sirianni and the coaches made game-winning halftime adjustments.

Hurts was not sacked once in the 2nd half and the leaky run defense only gave up 32 yards. More importantly, the Chiefs never scored again.

Red Zone was the difference

The Chiefs had two fatal red zone turnovers, and Howie Roseman is an unheralded reason why. 

Both of his in-season additions, Kevin Byard with an interception and, Bradley Roby creating the other turnover by punching the ball out, paid huge dividends.

Britain Covey’s hidden development

Special teams also came up big for the offense. Britain Covey gave the Eagles great field advantage all night by averaging 17.7 yards per return including one 26-yarder.

Covey has turned into a weapon for the Eagles by consistently giving the offense shorter fields. Britain is always running straight ahead gaining positive yards, while also navigating the special teams’ players when he is not making the catch by guiding them to get away from the ball. He has been extremely reliable and is currently 5th in yards per punt return in the league. 

Sustainable dominance

This stretch of the season has proven to be as difficult as most thought with two very close down-to-the-wire games, but once again they demonstrated their resilience and kept the main thing, the main thing. Winning. 

The defense has been fantastic in the second half of games, but there is concern if it is sustainable with the snap count distribution. 

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Fletcher Cox led the way for all DTs on the team with 58 snaps, Reddick with 68, and Josh Sweat with 67 led the pass rushers (Brandon Graham was next with only 25). Some of the younger guys will have to contribute so that the defensive line does not wear down as the season goes along.

But for another night, they shined.

Old Ghosts haunt Andy Reid

In the end, the same flaw that held the Eagles back when Andy Reid was Head Coach of the team in Philadelphia, a lack of talent at the wide receiver position, was the same one that held back the Chiefs on Monday night, and it gave the Birds their 9th win of the season. 

Eagles WR DeVonta Smith was able to make the big play, while Chiefs wide-out Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a potential game-winning 51-yard TD.

AJ Brown had a quiet night only hauling in one reception on four targets, but as he did in the Super Bowl, DeVonta Smith led the way. 

Smitty had 6 receptions for 99 yards, including the big game-winning 41-yard catch that took the ball down to the one-yard line, and eventually into the endzone, via the unstoppable Brotherly Shove.

Poetry in motion. 

As always, thank you for reading.

AP Photo/Ed Zurga