Penalties, penalties, and more penalties. The Eagles ruined a solid effort by Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia offense by committing too many penalties and red zone miscues. Despite Hurts’ sharp performance, the Birds ultimately succumbed to the talented Kansas City Chiefs 42-30, on a frustrating day that was filled with finger pointing and yellow flags.
Credit goes to Hurts. After his disastrous performance last week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles second-year quarterback consistently hit his receivers in stride and extended drives with his legs. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni also seemed to learn a lesson from the Dallas loss. Gone were the low-percentage gadget plays. Instead, Sirianni successfully used the quarterback sneak on short yardage downs. True, for the second week in a row the Eagles failed to establish a running game, but Sirianni’s use of short screens and halfback rollout passes hid the holes in the Birds’ injury-plagued offensive line.
During the first half the Eagles hung tough against league superstar Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a shootout, with Philadelphia moving the ball through the air and Kansas City calmly dishing to breakout running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith continued to show why he won the Heisman Trophy. His routes were crisp, his speed was impressive, and his hands were sure. One can already sense a nice rapport developing between Hurts and Smith. Hurts didn’t solely look to Smith, however, as both Eagles tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz got in on the action. But this day will be remembered for the costly penalties committed by the Birds.
Lowlights include: Philadelphia had a touchdown nullified with an illegal pick play in the endzone, and penalty-prone defensive lineman Derek Barnett pitched in with his usual effort, a bone-headed roughing the passer flag that killed the Eagles defensive momentum. (Barnett has had a brutal season so far. It might be time for Sirianni to sit the struggling lineman.)
The Eagles went into the game as the highest penalized team in the league. They played on Sunday as if they sought to smash the record. Penalties come from poor coaching. Nick Sirianni must do a better job keeping his team disciplined and focused. While Sirianni’s play-calling and overall strategy was much-improved from last week, the Eagles will never be a contender while leading the league in penalties.
And speaking of coaching, Eagles fans got to see Andy Reid on the sidelines again. It was the second meeting for Reid and his Chiefs against his former team, and today’s win boosted Big Red’s record to a perfect 2-0 against the Birds. Reid’s play-calling was thoughtful, unhurried, and confident, as his team slowly choked-out the Eagles in the 4th quarter.
It was the sort of coaching performance that one hopes Nick Sirianni emulates one day. Reid didn’t need tee-shirt slogans or dog metaphors to motivate his team. He merely let the game come to him and methodically made the right adjustments. Sirianna has a long way to go before he’s ever mentioned in the same coaching ranks as Andy Reid.
But today the Philadelphia Eagles showed heart.
Now if only they had shown some brains, too.