By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles battled toe-to-toe with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, but miscues and missed opportunities piled up in key spots to give the Chiefs the edge in a 27-20 victory. To see the Eagles hang with Kansas City in a tough environment as long as they did—and just a week after the Chiefs blasted the New England Patriots in the season opener on the road—had its share of positives. But it was also a reminder that this is a team still trying to get on the same page as an offensive unit.
The longest play of the day came on a lucky bounce off a Chiefs defender and into the hands of tight end Zach Ertz near the end of the first half, and Carson Wentz ended the day as the team’s leading rusher with 55 yards on four rushing attempts. That is simply not good enough for the Eagles and their supposed revamped offense.
Alshon Jeffery hauled in seven passes for 92 yards and a score, and Torrey Smith added 66 yards on four catches, but Nelson Agholor had one catch for nine yards and the running game was difficult to get going. Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood got the snaps while LeGarrette Blount was, for some reason, never used in the offense. The two combined for 52 rushing yards and provided no sparks. Wentz was also sacked six times and picked off once on a tipped pass, while also avoiding a couple of other near disasters.
The Eagles defense had a solid first half, but could not come up with big stops when they needed them in the second half. The Eagles held the Chiefs’ offense in check for much of the game, limiting Kansas City to 344 yards of total offense.
Last week’s breakout rookie star Kareem Hunt was held to 81 rushing yards, but 53 of them came on a long touchdown run, one of his two scores. A shovel pass up the middle to Travis Kelce gave the Chiefs a decisive blow following an Eagles turnover. Alex Smith was comfortable in the pocket for much of the game, but the Eagles brought him down four times.
Philadelphia held the Chiefs to just two field goals in the opening half, which was a nice boost, but the Eagles forced no turnovers to create opportunities for the offense. Missed tackles hurt in key moments as well.
Special Teams: C-
Newly acquired kicker Jake Elliott converted two of his three field goal tries, but his lone miss at the end of the first half felt like it let some of the wind out of a solid first half. Immediately after Ertz’s long reception off a tipped pass, Elliott had a chance to send the game into halftime tied at 6-6, but his kick missed and kept the Eagles behind at the break.
Donnie Jones had one punt go in the end zone out of four, but he pinned one down inside the 20-yard line as well. The return game never had much of an impact with Sproles returning one punt for 10 yards and Smallwood unable to find room to break a big return. It has been a while since the Eagles had a true return threat to work with.
As far as coaching is concerned, the defense was ready to go. The offense, however, continues to be a mystery and that falls on Doug Pederson. Have the Eagles already given up on Blount? It sure seemed that way in Week 2. And the game plan by Pederson was likely anticipated by his mentor, Chiefs and former Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
It is difficult to tell whether or not this team is making any progress, because the offensive woes continue to be familiar from a year ago, and the theme of missing out on capitalizing opportunities continues to frustrate. The Eagles showed little signs of progress from Week 1 to Week 2, and that is a disappointment. But now the Eagles get to come home for a division game, so maybe the home cooking is what the team will need to bounce back.
Up Next: The Eagles open the doors to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time in the 2017 season next Sunday afternoon for an NFC East rivalry game with the New York Giants. It may only be Week 3, but first place in the division will be on the line after the Dallas Cowboys also took a loss on Sunday (to the Denver Broncos), and the fans will always be ready to be heard on opening day.