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By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Missed tackles. Turnovers. Defenders taking bad angles. Porous blocking. Sideline confusion. Red-zone ineptitude. It was certainly a celebration of Eagles’ seasons past, with the halftime ceremony retiring Donovan McNabb’s number, topped off by the return of Andy Reid visiting Lincoln Financial Field with his Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night.
Other than McNabb’s No. 5 joining the Eagles’ ring of honor, there wasn’t anything really novel about Reid coming back. The same miscues that plagued the Eagles under Reid last year resurfaced again, with Reid on the opposite side of the field and the score, as the Chiefs moved to 3-0 with a 26-16 victory over the Eagles, who turned the ball over five times and fell to 1-2.
“That’s what this game is all about, it’s about execution, it comes down a lot of times to one-on-one battles and we did not win the one-on-one battles,” Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly said. “We have to come back and not put ourselves in these situations. You can’t turn the ball over like that in this league and expect to win. We can move the ball up and down the field, I think we’ve proven that, but if we’re going to put the ball on the ground, as we did I think a couple of times in the first half, and throwing interceptions, that’s not going to win football games for us.”
The loss wasted an amazing effort by LeSean McCoy, who rushed for a game-high 158 yards on 20 carries, including a 41-yard fourth quarter touchdown that put the Eagles within a score of tying the Chiefs.
Four Eagles turnovers led to 13 of Kansas City’s first 16 points.
Michael Vick’s performance was uneven. He missed a number of receivers, but also showed he still possesses some speed. Vick’s career-best 61-yard sprint in the first quarter led to the Eagles’ first score, when Vick lobbed a great touch pass to Jason Avant for a 22-yard touchdown.
Overall, however, Vick struggled. He was 13 for 30 for 201 yards, a touchdown and two first-half interceptions. One was his fault, the other, a 38-yard pick-six by the Chiefs’ Eric Berry, wasn’t. Vick left the game limping with 1:28 to play after a sack, favoring his right leg but said after the game he was okay.
With 12:57 left to play, Jamaal Charles’ 3-yard touchdown appeared as if it would seal it for the Chiefs, who started 3-0 for the first time since 2010. Until that point, the Eagles’ defense, which had troubles stopping San Diego on Sunday, had played well. The defense clamped down to hold the Chiefs 1-for-5 in the red zone.
“I will credit our defense, I thought they played with a lot of heart, I thought they played with great effort and we gave them seven,” Kelly said. “We have to do a better job on the offensive side of the ball executing, and we’re not executing right now. I thought our defense played with great effort, and you look at that fourth quarter, that has a lot to do with us offensively, not doing our job and keeping [the defense] out there way too much.”
The last time Reid started 3-0 was in 2004, when he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
Did Reid feel any added pressure returning to the Linc against his former team?
“You put it out or your mind the best you can, but 14 years is 14 years,” Reid said. “That’s a long time, especially for a chubby, old guy. I can tell you I enjoyed every minute here. I’m enjoying my time in Kansas City. Coming back, I really didn’t think much about it until the game was over. It was great to see the guys and the players that are here. It’s all kind of settling in right now. It was different, I was on the opposite end of the field where I normally am.”
The Eagles and McCoy answered the Charles’ score with a 78-yard, five-play drive that was aided by a 20-yard Avant one-hand bobbling circus catch.
But the Chiefs came storming right back. The Eagles had Kansas City pinned deep at its 5 when Alex Smith dropped back into his own end zone and found Donnie Avery for 15 yards, on a third-and-10 play that jump-started the Chiefs, who chewed up over 8 minutes.
Smith was masterful in taking the Chiefs down the field. He converted two third downs and was 5-for-6 during the series for 42 yards. Ryan Succop’s 38-yard field goal gave Kansas City a two-score 26-16 advantage, ending a 15-play, 8-minute, 15-second drive with 3:21 left to play.
Eagles’ fans showed their appreciation for Reid, giving “Big Red” a standing ovation when he stepped onto the field he roamed for 14 years. With two minutes left, and the Chiefs well in charge, the cheers had dissipated. Reid turned Lincoln Financial Field into a ghost town.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.