The Philadelphia Eagles suffered another frustrating loss at the hands of the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, dropping a 26-16 contest that was never close. Andy Reid’s new team played turnover-free football once again, controlling the tempo, clock and ultimately the outcome in a prime-time win.
Chip Kelly’s offense never found its rhythm, despite another game of gaudy statistics from All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles became just the sixth team since 2000 to lose a game in which they rushed for at least 264 yards. The fact they lost the turnover battle by five is the more telling factor.
There’s a lot of time to watch game film from this loss, as the Eagles don’t suit up again for another 10 days. That game will take place in Denver against 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning—a player who is still playing elite football even at the age of 37.
If the Eagles want to have any chance of winning that game, they’re going to need to put forth a much different game plan than the one they had on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ high-powered offense from Week 1 is looking like a distant memory. The Eagles were limited to just 16 points in their Week 3 contest. They turned the ball over five times. DeSean Jackson was held in check by cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith all game.
Mistakes defined the Eagles from the first several minutes.
Damaris Johnson made an awful decision to catch a punt inside the 10 and fumbled it on a fair catch. The Eagles never recovered, falling behind 16-6 at halftime en route to a 10-point loss in a game Chip Kelly really needed to win.
Alex Smith never seemed comfortable under center, especially in the first half, but the Eagles couldn't force any mistakes. Meanwhile, Jason Kelce’s thumb injury prevented him from snapping the football cleanly and Alex Henery missed a field goal he needed to make.
It will be a long session for the players and coaches when they look at this film.
The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t stop Alex Smith and his game-managing style of offense in the fourth quarter, and it cost them the game. they pressured him to the tune of five sacks but Smith still made plays. Smith all but refused to throw the football more than 10 yards down the field, and yet he did everything the Kansas City Chiefs could have wanted.
He completed 63 percent of his passes for the game, averaged nearly eight yards per attempt and played the entire game without a turnover. That's efficient football.
Philadelphia took his No. 1 receiver, Dwayne Bowe, out of the game, and credit to Cary Williams for that. Smith instead took advantage of Donnie Avery to the tune of seven catches for 141 yards (on seven targets) and Jamaal Charles for 80 yards on seven short passes.
That’s exactly what Andy Reid wanted from Smith when he sent the 34th overall pick to San Francisco for an average quarterback with a weak arm, and the Chiefs are now sitting at 3-0.
Michael Vick’s athleticism is still almost unparalleled among his fellow quarterbacks. His rocket arm and quick feet make him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Vick added over 200 yards passing and ran for 95 more, including a 61-yard scamper up the middle that marked the longest rush of his career.
However, he threw two costly interceptions, including one for a pick-six early on after staring down tight end Brent Celek before the ball was even snapped. That’s a mistake a veteran just can’t make. Vick fumbled once, giving him three turnovers for the day, and he nearly had two more on interceptions that were called back.
He left the game early due to a leg injury. Expecting Vick to stay healthy for 16 games in this offense is just unreasonable. Some of that stems from his refusal to slide, but the hits he takes when he runs and takes sacks certainly add up.
Jason Peters struggled in pass protection on Thursday night, but Lane Johnson turned in an extraordinarily awful game. He was facing a Pro Bowl outside linebacker in Justin Houston—a player who racked up double-digit sacks as a second-year player in 2012.
It was expected that Johnson would struggle, but he looked completely lost. Facing Houston for much of the game, Johnson spent most of the night frantically backpedaling to keep Houston away from Vick.
Houston finished the night with 4.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, seven tackles, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Those are AFC Defensive Player of the Week stats. In fact, those are stats that would rival the best individual performance by a defensive player in the last several years.
Peters was also beaten once for a sack. At least one of those sacks can be directly credited to Michael Vick for holding the ball too long. It's disappointing that the offensive line, which was supposed to be a strength, struggled so much in this game.
Last week, Alex Henery missed a 46-yard field goal. In this game, he missed a 48-yarder. Last week, his inability to fall on a fumbled kickoff contributed to the Philadelphia Eagles’ loss. On Thursday night, he committed a costly horse-collar tackle that flagged the team 15 yards.
Henery needs to be playing better. Those are makeable kicks. He entered the season as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history behind only Dallas’ Dan Bailey, bu needs to be making kicks under 50 yards.
The dominance of LeSean McCoy can’t be understated. He rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown on Thursday night on 20 carries, giving him a ridiculous 7.8 yards per carry average for the game. McCoy has totaled 395 rushing yards through his first three games, putting him on pace to flirt with a 2,000-yard season.
And he did that despite suffering what appeared to be a potentially season-ending injury right before halftime. McCoy says it is just a high ankle sprain, and he made a remarkable recovery in the second half.