How on Earth did the Philadelphia Eagles win that game? Kansas City outplayed the Eagles for most of Monday night’s contest in Arrowhead but somehow ended up falling to Jalen Hurts and the Birds by a 21-17 final. Philly was outgained through the entire game, struggled on offense, and yet somehow found a way to win – a calling card for the Nick Sirianni and Hurts era overall.
There’s plenty to take away from a win like this, but as always, we go through the most important here.
Let’s dive into how the Eagles moved to 9-1.
Sean Desai, take a bow
If Sean Desai was Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator in February, the Eagles would have won the Super Bowl.
That was a thought that many fans and analysts thought throughout the year. On Monday night, it’s hard to argue against anything else. Desai’s unit bent a lot against Kansas City’s difficult offense. They were down 17-7 at the half and gave up the most rushing yards in a game all year.
And yet, Desai’s second-half adjustments not only shut down one of the best offenses in football, but it showed they can beat top quarterbacks in the game – a point they have struggled with over the last few years.
If the win against Miami was the calling card to show just how good Desai is. Monday night’s victory was the best of any Eagles’ defensive coach since the Jim Johnson days.
Brian Johnson wasn’t as good
If Desai’s defensive play calls were impressive, Brian Johnson’s offensive plan was…the opposite. Philadelphia’s offense went up against arguably the best defense in football Monday night and in a very tough environment but struggled to do much of anything all game.
A big part of that was the confusing play-calls made by the Eagles first-year play-caller.
There was running a power run on third-and-one instead of the Brotherly Shove. There was a stretch of five straight wide receiver screens that went for a total of one yard. Ignoring the outside stretch runs for large stretches of the game.
On Monday, there were so many examples of Johnson failing the offense with his passive play calls – a stark contrast from the last few weeks that showed some major improvements from the entire group.
Johnson will get better, but it’s clear Monday night was not a good game for him.
Kevin Byard was the Player of the Game (Thanks Howie)
Before we get to this next point, shouting out Bradley Roby is important. The slot corner has battled injuries but came away with a key fumble forced on Travis Kelce that changed the trajectory of the contest. He was very good in the slot as well.
Now, with that aside, Eagles GM, Howie Roseman, made a trade for Tennessee Titans’ star safety Kevin Byard and it yielded big results on Monday night. Byard has had some solid success against Kelce during his time with the Titans but he was simply awesome for the Birds in Week 11.
Byard recorded his first interception with the team in a key red zone route jump. He also held Kelce to just seven catches for 44 yards and a measly 6.3 yards per reception. Philadelphia and Byard completely took away Kansas City’s best offensive weapon and the rest of the receiving core didn’t know what to do after that.
Jalen Hurts is the NFL MVP
There isn’t anything left for debate. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts threw his ninth interception of the season, was grounded throughout Monday, and led an offense that was simply incompetent for most of the night.
And yet, Hurts, as he always has done, made the key throws necessary to win. On third-and-five late in the contest, Hurts calmly found DeVonta Smith for a conversion. On the next play, Hurts found Smitty again to set up the game-winning score.
Philadelphia does not play a pretty brand of football. They do play a winning brand of football though and that’s all that matters. The longer Hurts continues to win and make the plays that change the game, the easier a choice this is to make him the league’s MVP.
Schedule gauntlet? Bring it on!
Philadelphia went into the midway point of their season with the toughest stretch of games in the NFL this season. It started with contests against the Dolphins, Commanders, and Cowboys. After a quick bye week, the team would have to contest against the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Seahawks, and Cowboys again.
Many people thought that the Eagles wouldn’t be able to keep their winning streak afloat because of this tough schedule.
So much for that.
Philadelphia is currently 4-0 in the middle of their scheduling gauntlet with the second half coming up. If the Birds can essentially split the next four games, they would be at an 11-3 record with three remaining games against teams among the worst in football.
They are more than capable of being even better than that.
Is a tough stretch of contests upcoming? Bring it on!
AP Photo/Matt Slocum