Observations from Chiefs at Eagles

Chiefs (2-2) – 42 at Eagles (1-3) – 30

The Chiefs got back in the win column on Sunday against a lowly Philadelphia Eagles. In doing so, the Chiefs get back to .500 at 2-2 and won their first game by more than 6 points for the first time since midway through last season against the NY Jets. A win typically cures all ills, but the Chiefs have some major issues and Eagles’ penalties played a key role in the final score.

The Defense

The Chiefs posted their first victory since week #1 over Cleveland, despite the defense who once again struggled mightily. The Eagles were coming off a beatdown on Monday night against the Cowboys and looked like a bottom-tier NFL team. Until Sunday that is. The Eagles looked poised and the Chiefs defense, who once again looked confused, left the Eagles receivers run free and missed more tackles than the ’01 and ’18 teams combined. The Eagles did not punt.

The Cowboys held the Eagles to 361 total yards, the Chiefs defense allowed the Eagles a whopping 461 total yards and surrendered another 30 points. If it had not been for a number of Eagles penalties that took points off the board, this game would have been a nail-biter. Ben Niemann, Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen cannot tackle. I fully support a Dirty Dan appreciation day sometime in the future for his efforts during the Super Bowl run, but this season he is a liability. There were calls this week to get Thornhill on the field, he struggled and missed some key tackles. The Eagles should have never been allowed to score 30 points, even if 7 were in garbage time.  

The Chiefs’ lack of investment in the defensive secondary has officially caught up to them. The defense is Tyrann Mathieu and some other guys. The Chris Jones experiment should officially come to an end this week. Chris Jones, outside of the ridiculous attempt to scoop and score, contributed nothing on Sunday. Literally, zero tackles, zero pressures, and zero sacks. Also, seriously is Jarran Reed on this team? Reed’s contribution to this game? Not to be outdone by Chris Jones, zero. Absolutely nothing. No tackles, pressures, or sacks. The fact that the Eagles had one offensive lineman start from their first two games and three linemen getting their first starts. The defense line should have dominated that line, but they struggled to get pressure all game.

If the Eagles can put up over 450 yards and 30 points, what will Buffalo do next week to the defense? The plus side of the game was the Chiefs’ ability to force three field goals in the red zone. Although, the Eagles played an equal role in those stops with undisciplined play with three touchdowns wiped off the board due to penalties. Without the Eagles’ miscues, this is a different game.

At times, it appears Spags’ scheme is to always play a prevent defense. He needs to reevaluate his players vs his scheme. Will all be well when Willie Gay Jr. and Frank Clark return? I’m reluctant to think the answer is on the roster, time to trade a WR for a lockdown corner, a thumper at LB, or someone who can actually pressure a QB. The defense cannot hang their hat on this win, lots of work to be done this week and beyond.  

The Offense

42-points is nothing to balk at, but that should have been expected against Philly. Patrick Mahomes is the reason this team wins games. PM 15, outside another interception, was exactly who we thought he was, elite. Mahomes threw for 5 touchdowns going 24/30 and 278 yards. These are the kind of games the offense will have to continue to produce to make up for the lack of defense.

Last week against L.A., there was an obvious effort to establish a run game, this week we saw a continuation of those efforts. Andy Reid has never been known for balance but this week the Chiefs, minus Mahomes scrambles, threw 30 times and ran the ball 27 times for 174 yards. With defenses following a typical blueprint to limit the Chiefs’ big pass plays, this concerted effort for more balance is critical and the reason they used a 1st round draft pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

For the second week in a row, CEH eclipsed 100 yards on the ground. In addition to forcing defenses to adjust this newfound fondness for a ground game, unlike last season, the Chiefs can utilize the clock and limit the time their defense is on the field. As the season progresses limiting their defense having to spend too much time on the field by scoring quickly may end up helping this team.

Although offensively the Chiefs proved they still have it, there were some obvious deficiencies. Lucas Niang being a very large one. Niang continues to struggle with assignments, being flat-out overpowered and was called for two penalties. There will be growing pains when you have 5 new starters and 3 rookies, but Niang looks in over his head at times. The problem is the man he is protecting is Patrick Mahomes, a responsibility not to be underrated.

Outside of Niang’s obvious struggles, the O-line performed admirably allowing one sack and creating running lanes all game. This group continues to improve and if the Chiefs have any hope of a playoff run, it will firmly on this line play to get them there.  

Lastly, let’s take a moment to acknowledge Andy Reid’s accomplishment, he didn’t lose three games in a row. Oh, and also becoming the first head coach in NFL history to win 100 games with two different franchises. Reid is clearly a class act, loved league wide and heading to Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Early during Sunday’s game, the cameras panned to a shot of the rafters of Lincoln Financial Field showing a slew of banners from Andy’s time with the Eagles and now racking up 100 wins with a team that struggled tremendously to record more than four wins in a season, much less get to .500. Thanks, Coach Reid from all of Chiefs Kingdom, we don’t know where we would be without you.