Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City was packed for the Eagles and Chiefs game Sunday afternoon and there were a lot of positives and a few negatives that happened in the game. Those few negatives made the difference in the outcome of the game and the positives were great building blocks for the season and gave us fans something to really look froward to. The Eagles dropped the contest to the Chiefs 27-20. First lets highlight the positive takeaways and then the negative takeaways.
- Defensive Front Four: For the second week in a row the combination of Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry went to town on the opposing offensive line getting to Alex Smith four(4) times. We saw the Chiefs try to double team both Jernigan and Cox and while they bottled up two guys with four lineman, it allowed Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry to collapse the pocket forcing Smith to tuck the ball down or force some throws. When your defensive line is this dominant in a game, it has a domino effect and makes it easier on the linebackers and the secondary. Very good sign to see this front four being this good this early.
- Offensive Passing game: We saw the potential that Eagles have in the passing game, and how it can really display Carson Wentz, We saw the ageless wonder Darren Sproles ( 2 catches for 30 yards) break some quality runs and really become a thorn in the opposing teams side, we saw how good Zach Ertz is in becoming as top tier tight end in the league ( 5 catches for 97 yards), Torrey Smith displaying some of the advertised playmaking ability (4 catches for 66 yards) and finally Alshon Jeffery and his top level receiving ability ( 7 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown). All of this is a great thing to look forward to this season and will keep this team in most of the games this year.
- CARSON: the 25/46 completions to attempts with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception are not the only thing about this kid to be excited about. Its his 5 completions on 6 attempts to start the game, its his 4 rushes for 55 yards and his Aaron Rodgers like escapability to continue plays and buy time for his players to get open. His accuracy in the pocket or on the run and his true grit to get that extra yard or first down is a great thing to look forward to and as much as we don't want to see it happen…his toughness, he took a few shots today and got right back up. There is a lot to look forward to with this kid being the face of the team.
Now for some of the negatives in the game:
Offensive Run Game: With the exception of Darren Sproles (10 for 48, which isn't too good either), we saw another inefficient run attack on display. Most notable Wendell Smallwood being 3 carries for 4 yards. You cannot expect to win in this league with no running game. We saw very little spark from the run game and that made it easier for Kansas City to game plan and contain the Eagles offense. If the expectation is to win and make it to the playoffs, the running game is going to have improve big time and it starts with the backs and the offensive line getting some push up front.
Seumalo: I do not normally like to call out a specific player and make him the highlight of the loss, but Isaac Seumalo looks very weak at the left guard spot these last two games. I counted at least 6 times in the game ( I stopped counting after the start of the 4th quarter) where he missed his block assignment and cost the eagles in the drive. In another observation Ive seen him now for two straight weeks get man- handled in the trenches. Last week it was a combination of Ioadannis and Kerrigan and this week it was a combination of Alvin Bailey and Chris Jones. Its one thing if he is playing center and getting man- handled, I could accept that, but he is playing left guard, a pretty pivotal spot in the line considering it is part of Carson's blind side and that they run most of their run plays to that side. Lets see what Chance Warmack and Stefan Wisniewski can do and if they can fair better because some of those plays have turned out to be drive killers or morale stoppers.
Tackling: The basis behind football is to tackle and I cannot stress enough how important it is to tackle to the ground in this league, its footballs basic principle. We saw at the end Kareem Hunt push his way to the end zone with 5 eagles on him. That can't happen! Hunt also made alot of Eagles defenders miss throughout the game. It is so imperative that you tackle to the ground or else extra yards could really come back and bite a team and Hunt is the perfect example of it. We saw Travis Kelce break tackles and get some yards after the catch. I go back to the earlier point in that you have to finish tackles! For the second week in a row we also saw two potential unblocked, straight ahead sacks be missed by both Chris Long and Derek Barnett. If your going to win in this league, you can't miss those especially two weeks in a row and against a team like the Chiefs. Tackle, Tackle, Tackle.
These negatives really came back to bite the eagles and made it very tough to come back and win this game. Now, most of the game the eagles put up a good fight against a top level team and almost won, but you don't get into the playoffs with "almost"you have to win these type of games if you want to be the best. This performance was a promising thing to see for the season, clean some of those things up and you have a different outcome. The home opener next week against the Odell Beckham and the Giants will be a good test to see if this team can rebound and be a true contender in this league.