The 24-hour rule players and coaches talk about after a game may need to be shortened on a short week. Maybe it will be just 12 hours the Philadelphia Eagles will get to enjoy their improbable 21-17 comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night because the Buffalo Bills are coming on Sunday (4:25).
It’s a quick turnaround from what had to be an emotionally draining triumph that pushed Philly to 9-1 for a second straight year.
Here are 10 thoughts from a crackling-good victory:
TURNING POINT. The two red zone turnovers by two players who weren’t on the roster in Philly’s defense to begin the season – Kevin Byard’s interception and Bradley Roby’s forced fumble – cannot be overlooked.
Head coach Nick Sirianni talked afterward about the defense making plays until the offense could make theirs. Well, one of those plays finally happened and DeVonta Smith’s 41-yard catch to put the Eagles at the Chiefs 1-yard line midway through the final quarter is the turning point.
It led to the Eagles’ first lead of the game, with 6:20 to play when Jalen Hurts tush-pushed his way into the end zone after the catch.
“It was a timely play in the game, just thinking about the opportunities that we had earlier in the game that we didn’t take advantage of,” said Hurts. “All I can say is you make those plays when you need to make those plays.”
On the play immediately previous to the big one, Smith had a 13-yard catch on third-and-five.
The play required Hurts to audible at the line of scrimmage to Smith, who had six catches for 99 yards.
JALEN CARTER. The rookie defensive tackle just showed the NFL a new trick by trying to intercept Patrick Mahomes' spike as the Chiefs were trying to kill the first-half clock to kick a field goal. It nearly worked.
Imagine if it had, you know certain whiny fan bases, coaches, and analysts would be calling for it to be banned because it’s dangerous or something like that, like the cry babies who think the Brotherly Shove should be outlawed.
"I saw it on the internet, I've seen it on YouTube, some high school kid tried, and he actually caught the ball. I thought, 'That's a good idea,' I knew they would spike it, so I tried to go for it," Carter told reporters afterward.
Jalen Carter was so close. pic.twitter.com/G8wkJM3DON— NFL (@NFL) November 21, 2023
HAASON REDDICK. The edge rusher looked like he set an early tone with a sack on Kansas City’s first series. Alas, it didn’t turn out that way, though it did indicate that the Eagles pass rush was there to play as they unleashed nine quarterback hits on Patrick Mahomes.
Granted, Mahomes holds the ball a very long time trying to make a play and is very good at it, but Philly’s rush made its presence felt.
As for Reddick, he is ahead of last year’s pace in terms of his numbers through 10 games.
Last year: 7.5 sacks, 11 QB hits, 6 tackles for loss.
This year: 8.5 sacks, 15 QB hits, 9 TFLs.
THE SPARK. Remember when Eagles fans wanted him gone last year because he wasn’t doing a good enough job at his job, returning punts? Well, the punt return provided an awfully big spark in this one.
With less than seven minutes to play in the third quarter and the Eagles offense already having gone three-and-out in its first two possessions of the second half, Britain Covey returned a punt 26 yards to put the Eagles at their own 39. Seven plays later, the offense was in the end zone on Jalen Hurts 10-yard keeper up the gut of the Chiefs defense to make it 17-14.
Covey entered the game with the league’s second-best punt return average. He averaged 17.7 yards on three punts in this one.
BEST OF BYARD. Kevin Byard had his best game since the Eagles traded for him on Oct. 23. After seemingly getting lost on the Chiefs’ first touchdown of the game, Byard returned with a vengeance, intercepting Mahomes in the end zone to thwart one of KC’s drives. He also finished with a game-high eight tackles and played good defense on tight end Travis Kelce, who had seven catches on nine targets and one TD but finished with just 44 yards.
ON MAHOMES. It was easy to be frightened of the game the KC quarterback could potentially have because the Eagles were picked apart by Washington’s Sam Howell and others and entered the game ranked 28th in pass defense.
Mahomes had just 177 yards passing and, while he threw for a pair of touchdowns, he needed 43 pass attempts to get his yardage total.
COORDINATORS. While offensive coordinator Brian Johnson can make you pull your hair out with some of his play-calling, especially the sideway throws that never seem to amount to much, defensive coordinator Sean Desai needs to be lauded for his ability to make corrections at halftime.
The Eagles were in danger of being blown out. The defense had allowed 121 rush yards, with Isiah Pacheco picking up 66 on the ground with 12 carries and 190 total yards.
In the second half, the Chiefs had just 47 yards rushing, Pacheco had just seven runs for 23 yards, and 146 yards of total offense.
10 POINTS. In last year’s Super Bowl, the Eagles held a 10-point halftime lead before the Chiefs rallied to win. On Monday night, the Chiefs held a 10-point halftime lead before the Eagles rallied to win. Of course, it would have been better for the franchise and its fans had this statistical quirk been the other way around.
SWIFTIE. Taylor Swift may not have been there, but D’Andre Swift was, and it’s a good thing he was. Swift had 107 yards of total offense (76 rushing, 31 receiving). His 35-yard run was the big play in the drive that pulled the Eagles to within 17-14 with 4:05 to play in the second quarter.
Swift now has 690 yards rushing and that breaks the career high of 617 he had in 2021, his second year in the league. He is on pace to become the team’s second-straight 1,000-yard rusher after Miles Sanders did it last year.
SPEAKING OF SANDERS. You have to wonder how he feels. His former team is now 9-1. His current team, the Carolina Panthers are 1-9. OK, moving on.