The Philadelphia Eagles battled the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs tooth and nail for most of Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field under crystal clear skies and warm temperatures.
The score was 28-23 with 12:42 left in the fourth quarter. Rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell had just scored on a seven yard run.
Things were looking up for the Birds at that point.
Even though the Birds did not turn the ball over all afternoon and second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts was 32 of 48 for 387 yards and two touchdown passes…penalties, stupid mistakes and an inability to stop the run doomed the Eagles to a 42-30 loss dropping their record to 1-3 on the season.
The Eagles got bad news before the game that All Pro right tackle Lane Johnson would not be available for the game and would be deactivated.
The Eagles were already without left tackle Jordan Mailata again due to a knee sprain, left guard Isaac Seumalo was lost for the season due to foot surgery and All Pro right guard Brandon Brooks is out with a pectoral injury until around November.
Four of the five offensive linemen who started the season did not start against the Chiefs.
Incredibly that was not the issue for the Eagles.
The O-line was fine overall. The Birds rushed for over 100 yards and nearly 500 yards of total offense as a team.
They did not turn the ball over and gave up just two sacks. Given the amount of injuries the unit had suffered, that was not a terrible number.
What the offensive line did that hurt centered around left tackle Andre Dillard. The former first round draft pick, who started in place of Mailata, committed four penalties.
The one yellow flag that hurt the most occurred in the second quarter when Hurts connected with tight end Dallas Goedert for a six-yard touchdown.
The score would have given the Eagles a 17-14 lead. But the touchdown was taken off the board after Dillard was called for an illegal man downfield penalty.
Instead, the Eagles settled for a 25-yard Jake Elliott field goal.
Another touchdown was nullified in the third quarter after Hurts hit Zack Ertz with a three-yard touchdown pass. The score was taken off the board when J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was called for offensive pass interference. Replays showed little evidence of a penalty.
A third touchdown was zapped into oblivion when rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith was called for illegal touching of the ball when he stepped out of bounds on what looked like a terrific 34-yard touchdown pass from Hurts with 5:23 left on the fourth and the Eagles trying to get back into the game
COACH SIRIANNI ON THE LOSS
Head coach Nick Sirianni was asked about the game and season as a whole. How does he feel?
"You're upset,” the rookie head coach said after the game. “You're furious that you go to 1-3. But we can also see there are some things that are to build on there.
The self-inflicted wounds have to stop. I know I sound the same, but it's still true. We have to stop the self-inflicted wounds of putting ourselves in holes with penalties.
“The guys did a good job,: He continued. “We won the turnover battle. Our defense took it away; we didn't give it away. They forced another fumble on special teams. There are some good things obviously right there.
“Obviously, we've got to do things better both offensively and defensively and special teams-wise. There was one time we started inside the 15. We have to use this tape and get better from it. My message is never really going to change win or lose: We have to make our corrections and get better from it.
“There are a lot of guys that battled their tails off today. There are a lot of guys that played good football today. You're happy with that. But obviously you're never satisfied, and you're always upset when you lose.”
The game started off with both teams showing each could move the ball on the other.
Eagles lost the coin toss; the chiefs gave them the ball.
The Eagles plowed through the Chiefs defense for eight plays, 64 yards to the Chiefs 11-yard line where the drive stalled.
Elliott belted a 29-field goal to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
The Chiefs (2-2), led by Patrick Mahomes answered with eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a one-yard TD pass from Mahomes to by Clyde Edwards Helaire.
The drive was highlighted by a 36-yard catch-and-run by Tyeek Hill, who was run out of bounds at the one-yard line by Darius Slay. The score was now 7-3.
The Birds came back with a 12–play, 84-yard ending with a three-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts to Dallas Goedert. That made the score 10-7, Eagles.
Kansas City responded with a 12–play, 83 yard drive. Mahomes hit Hill with a six-yard touchdown pass. That score made it 14-10.
The Eagles offense started to stumble with self-inflicted wounds.
The Eagles next drove to the eight-yard line when the aforementioned penalty to Dillard – his third of the first half – nullified a touchdown pass to Goedert.
It was a 13-play, 68 yard drive that ended up netting just the 25-yard Elliott field goal.
The Chiefs led 21-13 at the half after Mahomes hit tight end Jody Fortson with a two-yard TD pass with 56 second left in the half.
The Chiefs outscored the Eagles 7-3 in the third quarter to go up 28-16.
Gainwell's seven-yard touchdown made it close, but the Eagles couldn't stop the Chiefs who reeled two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter, both Mahomes to Hill strikes...and that was that.
The Eagles added a garbage-time touchdown when Hurts hit Greg Ward with a 15-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left in the game.
Smith led the Eagles seven catches for 122 yards. Zach Ertz caught six balls for 60 yards, Gainwell finished with six catches for 58 yards and Goedert finished with five catches for 56 yards.
Linebacker Eric Wilson had a big day with 10 total tackle (six solo), a quarterback hurry, a defended pass and an interception.
THE CHIEFS PILED UP THE STATS ALONG WITH THE POINTS
Patrick Mahomes was 24 of 30 for 278 yards, five touchdown passes, and an interception. He was sacked once.
The Chiefs rushed for 200 yards on 32 carries as a team, good for 6.3 yards per carry.
Edwards-Helaire led the way with 102 yards in 14 carries.
Hill was his usual monstrous self, torching the Eagles secondary for 11 catches, 186 yards and three touchdowns.
They simply had no answers for the three-time All Pro or his quarterback.
“They got a lot of weapons,” Eagles cornerback Slay said after the game. “Arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Already a future Hall of Famer in year five. We got to contain him as much as we can and the weapons that he has. So, try to make sure we stop Tyreek from trying to go deep a lot and that was pretty much what it was.”
HURTS SAYS HE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT STATS
Hurts was asked how it felt to have the best game statistically of his young career. He wanted no part of the discussion and he sounded like he meant it.
“Look, we lost. We lost,” Hurts said. “We lost the game. Have to do more, have to do better. And this is what I will say. You have every opportunity to learn, every opportunity, everything that you do, you learn from it. And we are clearly not there as a football team because we lost.”
Hurts did admit he thought the team was getting it together.
"But, we are this close, we are this close,” Hurts said while holding his thumb and index finger about a half inch apart. “And that is something that I believe. Something I believe. We have to continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to be one percent better every day. Continue to clock in and buy into that and believe in that."
"That’s what it’s going to take. We are not a finished product. No player on this team is a finished product. But it’s about believing in that and continuing to grow. And learn from everything that you do. We played a good football team out there today. A team that many say is generationally one of the best. Great quarterback, great players, all that. We have great players, too. We have to put it together and we will. We are not a finished product.”
No they are not. *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii