If there is a single takeaway I can take from the 2023 Eagles after 10 games is to never quit on them, because they do not give up. Even when down 10 points against a team that never loses at home and has a Hall of Fame coach and quarterback.
A national TV audience watched the Eagles rally from 10 points down late in the third quarter to take down the Kansas City Chiefs, 21-17, on Monday Night Football in front of 73,754. The win does not make up for the Super Bowl loss, but it secures the Eagles’ title as the best team in the NFL.
Yes, a dropped pass or two may have helped the Eagles out (wink wink) but the Birds are 9-1, again, and 2-0 in the six-game gauntlet that will define their season.
Here are my five observations a day after the win:
Finding ways to win
This win really highlighted what the Eagles do best, and it is not a skill from a singular position or something that goes in the stat sheet. It is finding ways to win.
No matter how ugly the game gets, no matter how bad they start, no matter what goes wrong this team never stops fighting. There is a profound confidence in their locker room, coming from Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts, which allows them to win games in which they have no business in doing so. They did that again Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium against Andy Reid, beating Reid for the first time in franchise history.
Hurts’ stats were unattractive. He only threw for 150 yards and threw no touchdown passes he had a fumble that he recovered and threw an interception that probably may not have been totally his fault. But Hurts has the ability to shrug off whatever adversity he faces and make big plays when needed.
Nobody goes into Kansas City and comes back from 10 points down in the third quarter. The Chiefs dominated early in this game. It was scary. Hurts took some big hits, including getting sacked five times the first 12 times he dropped back. He aboded drives of 13, 6, 5, 3, 1, negative-3, and negative-5 yards before finally getting things going. And once he does, he becomes unstoppable.
That story held true Monday night. He bounced back against a fierce defense in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL and rallied the Eagles to an unimaginable win over the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Bounce back second half
Yes, the offensive line was horrendous in the first half. The Chiefs registered five first-half sacks, including four in the span of six plays in the second quarter. The Eagles had just 78 net yards before halftime and just 20 net passing yards. The Chiefs were destroying the Eagles’ offensive front so badly that for a while the Eagles stopped throwing, particularly on third down. However, they deserve a lot of credit for how they bounced back in the second half.
That is what Jeff Stoutland, Eagles offensive lines coach, can do for you. With a few adjustments, and after falling behind 17-7, the Eagles put together TD drives of 61 and 80 yards to take the lead and allowed zero sacks in those two drives.
After netting 78 total yards, 20 net passing yards, and seven points before halftime, the Eagles netted 160 total yards, 104 passing yards and 14 points after halftime.
Also, Jason Kelce finally beat his brother, Travis. Jason had a monster block on a D’Andre Swift run. He is so fun to watch.
St. Joseph’s Prep alumni
How about the St. Joseph’s Prep alumni last night?
It was great to see D’Andre Swift look like he did in the first month of the season.
Swift’s production had dropped as he went from 108 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry from Week 2 through Week 5 to 45 yards and 3.1 per carry in the last four games.
The Chiefs are the fourth-worst in the NFL at defending the run at 4.6 yards per carry, and on a cold, windy, rainy night, Swift took advantage, with 12 carries for 76 yards. It definitely helped to have Cam Jurgens back and to have Hurts healthier than he has been in a while, showing the ability to run early.
The Eagles were not going to win without a couple of takeaways and without winning the turnover battle. And, well, they got two red-zone turnovers. Bradley Roby stripped Travis Kelce and Kevin Byard picked off Patrick Mahomes in the end zone. Without those takeaways by two of the newest Eagles, they would not have won this game.
The Eagles have now won 22 straight games under Sirianni when they are plus-one or better in the turnover ratio. Takeaways have been a problem for the Eagles this year, but if they can start getting some, nobody is beating them.