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Eagles rally late, finally beat Andy Reid’s Chiefs

Roob’s Observations: Eagles rally late, finally beat Andy Reid’s Chiefs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Don’t give up on this team. Don’t quit on this team. Don’t go to bed early just because they’re down 10 points against a team that never loses at home and has a Hall of Fame coach and quarterback.

The Eagles simply do not give up. Ever.

A national TV audience watched the Eagles rally from 10 points down late in the third quarter to topple the mighty Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

The 21-17 win doesn’t avenge the Super Bowl loss, but it sure cements the Eagles as the best team in the NFL and once again a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

They couldn’t do anything right. Then they couldn’t do anything wrong. And now they’re 9-1 and 2-0 in the six-game murderer’s row that we all know is going to define their season.

Bring on the Bills. Bring on the 49ers. Bring on the Cowboys. Bring ‘em all on. The Eagles aren’t going away.

1. This win means so much in so many ways. The most obvious way is that it gets the Eagles to 9-1 on a weekend when all their legitimate NFC challengers – the Cowboys, 49ers and Lions – all won. And it means the Eagles are 2-0 in the six-game murderer’s row that we all circled on the calendar when the schedule came out back in April. But more than anything, it’s a statement that the Eagles aren’t going to back down playing on the road in the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL against a team that’s been to three of the last four Super Bowls and is coached and quarterbacked by Hall of Famers and toppled the Eagles in the Super Bowl just nine months ago. A lot was conspiring against the Eagles Monday night at Arrowhead, and the Eagles stared it all in the face and got themselves a historic win. That’s two games in a row now the Eagles have found a way to beat an elite team that’s given them nightmares recently. They hadn’t beaten Dak Prescott since 2019 and they hadn’t beaten the Chiefs since 2009. It’s one thing to be 9-1, it’s another thing to be 9-1 with back-to-back wins over teams that were a combined 13-4. The Bills, the 49ers, the Cowboys again and the Seahawks are up next, so things don’t get any easier, but what a lot of us have believed for a few weeks now – that the Eagles are the best team in the NFL – has been proven. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but if you can beat the Cowboys and Chiefs you can beat anybody, and that’s a good place to be.

2. This win really accentuated what the Eagles do best, and it’s not throwing the ball or stopping the run or pressuring the quarterback or covering wide receivers. It’s winning. They’ve done it all year and they did it again. No matter how ugly the game gets, no matter how bad they play at the start, no matter what goes wrong, no matter what it looks like, this team never stops fighting and never stops grinding and there’s a very deep confidence in that locker room that comes from Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts and it allows them to win games that they probably have no business winning. They did it again Monday night in Kansas City against a Chiefs team that was 62-6 under Andy Reid when leading by 10 or more points at halftime and 65-8 under Reid when leading going into the fourth quarter. I honestly have no idea how they did it. A couple Chiefs drops in the final minutes didn’t hurt. But this was all character by the Eagles. The one thing that never fails them.

3. Two weeks after holding the Cowboys to six points in the second half, this much-maligned defense blanked the Chiefs in the second half Monday night. Sean Desai knows what he’s doing. The Cowboys scored 17 before halftime, six after halftime. The Chiefs scored 17 before halftime, none after halftime. That’s against two of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL. To blank Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid and the Chiefs in the second half in their own stadium is astonishing. I know this isn’t the Chiefs offense of old, but this is the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL and they pitched a 2nd-half shutout against Mahomes. Unreal. The Eagles got such a big boost from Bradley Roby, who played for the first time since the Jets game and was outstanding, and the other newcomer in the secondary, Kevin Byard, was much, much better than in his first two games. Mahomes threw two TDs in the first half and then after halftime threw 22 times for 99 yards. They held Travis Kelce to 44 yards, didn’t allow a pass play longer than 17 yards and allowed only four passing first downs after halftime. An incredible performance by a defense and in particular a secondary that has taken its lumps this year.

4. This offensive line deserves so much credit for bouncing back after an almost unbelievably bad first half. The Chiefs recorded 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 – get this – just 20 net passing yards. But when you have Jeff Stoutland on your side, you’ve got everything. 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 guess how many sacks they allowed on those two drives. That’s right. None. Zip. Zero. Nil. I mean, the Chiefs were destroying the Eagles’ offensive front, and it got so bad that for a while the Eagles just stopped throwing, especially on third down. They didn’t have an official 3rd-down pass attempt until the middle of the fourth quarter, and by then the o-line had calmed down and had actually started dominating the Chiefs. Football is a funny game. You can look so bad for so long but as long as there’s time on the clock and you keep playing hard, strange things happen. After netting 78 total yards, 20 net passing yards and seven points before halftime, the Eagles netted 160 total yards and 104 passing yards and 14 points after halftime. Keep fighting. Keep grinding.

5. Was sure encouraging to see D’Andre Swift resembling the D’Andre Swift of the first month of the season. Swift’s production had plunged – 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 the last four games. But the Chiefs are 4th-worst in the NFL 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 – his best performance since Week 3 – and he added 31 receiving yards. It sure helped to have Cam Jurgens back and to have Jalen Hurts healthier than he has been and showing the ability to run early. But Swift also looked sharper than he has in recent weeks in reading defenders and making cutbacks and he ran with authority. He was 5-for-33 on the Eagles’ 1st-quarter touchdown drive – almost as many yards as he’s averaged per game since Week 6. The Eagles need to be able to run the ball better than they have if they’re going to and this was a great start.

6. A few special teams performances that shouldn’t go unnoticed: With three minutes left and the Eagles up 21-17, Josh Jobe made a spectacular play in punt coverage, tackling Kadarius Toney for no gain on the 9-yard-line. Toney has killed the Eagles returning punts – his three-longest career punt returns have been against the Eagles – but Jobe’s play forced the Chiefs to have to go 91 yards for a winning touchdown, and they never got any closer than the 34. Biggest play of Jobe’s career. And how about punter Braden Mann putting together another huge game. After a slow start he’s been terrific lately since replacing Arryn Siposs. He averaged 47.7 on seven punts Monday night, and that was so clutch because if you give Patrick Mahomes a short field you’re just asking for trouble. And then how about Britain Covey? That little dude just keeps making plays. Three returns for a 17.7 average in a game where field position was going to be huge. Great stuff from Michael Clay’s group.

7. On a day when A.J. Brown caught just one pass for eight yards, DeVonta Smith came up huge. Smith caught six passes for 99 yards, including a 41-yarder down the right sideline to set up the go-ahead touchdown with 6 ½ minutes left. It’s easy for Smith to be overlooked playing opposite a top-three WR in the league, but he just comes up big every opportunity he gets.

8. We talked all week about how the Eagles weren’t going to win without a couple takeaways and without winning the turnover battle. And they got two red-zone turnovers – Bradley Roby stripped Travis Kelce and Kevin Byard picked off Mahomes in the end zone – and without those takeaways by two of the newest Eagles they don’t win this game. The Eagles have now won 22 straight games under Sirianni when they’re plus-1 or better in turnover ratio. Takeaways have been a problem for the Eagles this year. They came into the weekend 31st in interceptions, 26th in takeaways and 16th with a negative-2 in turnover ratio. If this team can really start getting some takeaways, forget it. Nobody’s beating them.

9. Jalen Hurts’ stats were ugly. His 64.6 passer rating is the 6th-worst of his career. He only threw for 150 yards. Didn’t throw a touchdown pass. Had a fumble that he recovered and threw an interception that probably wasn’t his fault. But Hurts has a truly rare ability to shrug off whatever adversity he’s faced – mistakes, turnovers, penalties, injuries, double-digit deficits – and make big plays late in games. Nobody goes into Kansas City and comes back from 10 points down in the third quarter. The Chiefs’ domination early in this game was scary. Hurts took some big hits, got sacked five times the first 12 times he dropped back and endured drives of 13, 6, 5, 3, 1, negative-3 and negative-5 yards before finally clicking into gear. Once he does, you can’t stop him. Monday night, he bounced back against a ferocious defense in the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL and rallied the Eagles to an improbable win over the Super Bowl champs. Hurts is 30-4 in his last 34 regular-season starts. That ought to be impossible. He’s incredible.

10. It was Oct. 27, 2021, when Sirianni gave his flowers underground speech and was widely mocked for it. Google “Fire Sirianni” and you’ll get a bunch of social media results from Oct. 27, 2021. The Eagles were 2-5 at that point heading into Detroit. They won in Detroit and they closed out the season 7-2 in meaningful games. Then 14-3 last year. Then 9-1 this year. The math is insane. Since that talk to the team, the Eagles are 30-6 in meaningful regular-season games. Just think about that for a while. It’s literally unbelievable.

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