Eagles Fumble Away Super Bowl LVII

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) fumbles the ball against Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton (32) during the first half in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium.

The Eagles entered Sunday looking to secure the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl Championship.

The Birds started with the ball and started off fast. At will, Hurts threw the ball to wide-open receivers. The Eagles also easily moved the ball along for an easy 75-yard drive. It put the Eagles up to start the game.

That lead wouldn’t last long, however. Jonathan Gannon made the bonehead move to not adjust his defense for Travis Kelce. As a result, the Chiefs just made it so Kelce would match up with Marcus Epps or a linebacker instead of the team’s top cover corner. A 75-yard answer in just three minutes tied the game.

On their second offensive possession, a Zach Pascal offensive PI put the Eagles behind the chains for a three-and-out. The Chiefs continued to drive 42 yards, but the defense did hold up just before the redzone, forcing a field goal attempt. It was a huge momentum shift as Harrison Butker hit the post and game the ball back to the Eagles offense.

A 45-yard bomb to AJ Brown put the Eagles back in the drivers seat and the defense following that with a three-and-out looked like the game could get ugly for the Chiefs. That was, until Isaac Seumalo false started and then Jalen Hurts just gave the ball away to allow the Chiefs to tie it back up, giving up a 36-yard fumble touchdown simply because he dropped the ball.

Unphased, the Eagles offense responded with another 75-yard drive. A three-and-out later and the Eagles were in the two-minute drill. A controversial call was made by the officiating, but the Eagles did manage to put up another three points before the half, making it 24-12 in Philadelphia’s favor.

The Eagles defense apparently decided they were done at the half. They came out and did absolutely nothing on the defensive line, getting blown away every play. Meanwhile, the defensive backs just left receivers entirely uncovered on basically every play. The Chiefs opened with a 75-yard drive to cut the lead to three.

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles responded with a disappointing field goal after taking a delay of game and burning a timeout to avoid another as Hurts did not scan the whole field, just two targets per play regardless of how much space the defensive backs were giving other receivers.

The Chiefs took the lead on another 75-yard drive where Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox might as well have just stood on the sidelines and not wasted the energy jogging backward to the endzone. Hurts answered by throwing to a three-and-out and then the special teams game up a 65-yard return where punter Arryn Siposs had to make the tackle.

This lead to an easy touchdown where Maddox once again decided to just entirely not cover his man an let a walk-in touchdown put the Chiefs up by eight.

When all hope seemed lost, DeVonta Smith broke open for a 46-yard reception to put the ball at the one-yard line. The Birds did what they do best and pushed it in on a sneak and Hurts followed it up by running the ball in on the two-point conversion in order to tie the game.

Unfortunately, the defense then needed to do something and their ineptitude knew no bounds. Maddox continued to look like a player who didn’t even know he was playing football standing at least five yards away from the receivers. Every defender allowed Mahomes to limp away faster than they could chase him. Any outside bounce went for five yards since no contain ever occurred.

To add insult to injury, a hold call on James Bradberry handed the Chiefs a first down to lose the game and give the Chiefs the opportunity to kick a field goal with 11 seconds remaining.

From one-yard out, it’s a kick even untrained kickers could make. To no surprise, the kick was good and the game was over.

Hurts attempted the saddest excuse for a hail mary I’ve ever seen and the Eagles flushed away the most talented team they’ve ever had because their defense didn’t play half a game and the “MVP-caliber” quarterback can’t hold onto a ball.

Offensive MVP: Dallas Goedert

He didn’t wind up with a touchdown and he didn’t lead the team in yardage, but he was open far more often than the ball went to him. He gets the nod for MVP because he had so many clutch conversion to turn a potential game-changing negative play into a positive one for the birds. He fought through contact on three separate incredible grabs that allowed the Birds to move the ball, including twice on the drive where the Birds got their second field goal. Frankly, the offense probably should have looked to utilize him more often based on how he was playing.

Defensive MVP: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Gardner-Johnson was the only player on the Eagles defense that even seemed to play the second half. He had big hits and was the only defensive back that seemed to put any effort into actually covering someone each play instead of standing somewhere waiting for a pass to hit an open receiver. He ended the game with just four tackles. It’s not an impressive stat line, but you couldn’t show me one impressive play made by a defender on the Eagles sideline if you tried.

Game Notes

  • DeVonta Smith was absolutely robbed of a 35-yard reception that probably would have sent the Eagles to the half with a 28-14 lead. It was called a catch on the field, but overturned by the morons on the officiating crew. I cannot explain how considering Smith has the ball pinned to his helmet and not moving while his first foot was down, gets a second foot in (again without the ball moving) and then steps out of bounds to end the play before anything else happened.
  • Speaking of penalties, there were some complaints about an uncalled PI against James Bradberry in the first half. That was a foul, no doubt, but the same play also saw Josh Sweat get held and he was a half a step away from getting a strip-sack fumble, so that evens out.
  • It’ll get lost in the scheme of things, but Zach Pascal made a great play for this offense to keep the chains moving on a drive where the Eagles could have taken a commanding lead. Of course, Hurts fumbling the ball away a few plays later rendered the play irrelevant to the outcome of the game.
  • Cannot say enough how disgusted I was by that Hurts fumble. It was perhaps the single worst play of Hurts’ career. There was no reason for it to happen, either, he just seemed to throw the ball away.
  • I don’t know what Jonathan Gannon said at the half, but he might just want to sow his mouth shut. A defense that allowed only seven points and allowed just 53 yards after that went into the half and came out as though they’ve never played before. No pressure at all. Missed tackles. There was at least one receiver totally not covered each play. It’s amazing anyone is even still considering this defensive coordinator to be their head coach.
  • At this point, it might be worth it to hope Gannon gets hired by the Cardinals. At least that would rid us of the man in charge of this incredibly epic collapse – one for the ages.
  • Another killer: Quez Watkins dropped what would have probably been a touchdown pass in the second half. Ultimately, this was a four-point swing in a three-point game since the Eagles had to settle for a field goal.
  • Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay might as well have been replaced by any two fans in the stands at half time. It’s like the duo were braindead and didn’t know how to follow a receiver anymore (that’s what you’re supposed to do in order to break up catches and potentially turn the ball over, just in case either of them read this and would like to be reminded of how playing defense works). Luckily, those are the two guys in that secondary that aren’t free agents, so we can see them do the same thing next season.

Injury Notes

  • Miles Sanders went into the locker room after the second offensive play. It’s thought he might have had a hand injury. He returned at the end of the first quarter.
  • DeVonta Smith took a big hit that looked like it bent his knee the wrong way, but he left for just one play before returning.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles – February 12, 2023