COMMENTARY | Andy Reid manned the sidelines once again Thursday night in Philadelphia, but this time as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs as he faced his former Eagles team.
The Philly crowd sent out a warm welcome directed toward Reid before kickoff, but capped off the night taken aback by what transpired on the field.
The Chiefs went to 3-0 on the young season by beating the Eagles 26-16, improving by one game over last season's win total. Kansas City's 2-14 showing in 2012 seems like a remote memory now, and has a suddenly dominant defense to thank for the resurgence -- a defense that was to receive its first big test of the season against the Eagles and Chip Kelly's high-flying offense.
Philadelphia was able to move the ball behind a rushing attack that produced 260 yards on 28 carries, including 20 rushes for 158 yards from LeSean McCoy and another 95 yards on five totes out of quarterback Michael Vick. But a lackluster effort through the air doomed the Eagles, in addition to five turnovers by an offense that committed just two prior to Thursday night.
Vick was only able to complete 13 of his 30 passes for just 201 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions (one returned by Eric Berry for a pick-6) against an aggressive, but disciplined Chiefs defense. The quarterback had completed 62.3 percent for 631 yards, four scores and zero interceptions through the season's first two weeks.
Kansas City added to its league-leading sack total (tied at nine with four other teams) with another five on Thursday night, and now sits with 14 through three weeks. The Chiefs tallied just 27 sacks all of last season, which was the third-worst total in the NFL.
Justin Houston seems to be taking it personally that all the rage surrounding the pass-rushers from the 2011 draft is focused on J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith and Von Miller. His 3 1/2 sacks on Thursday night push his season total to 6 1/2, and since Week 13 of the 2011 season (his rookie year and a span of 24 games) Houston has tallied 22 sacks.
Houston also added seven tackles (four for a loss), two fumble recoveries and four pass deflections. If he really is this complete of a player, the Chiefs defense has the potential to sustain its early success all season long.
The Chiefs had the pieces in place to be very talented on the defensive side of ball, including linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, cornerback Brandon Flowers, Berry at safety, and 2012 first-round pick Dontari Poe. But subtle additions like Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson in the backfield, along with Mike DeVito on the defensive line and a scheme to harness the group seemed to be the missing links.
Kansas City is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL and could make a strong case for having the league's best defense after another dominant effort Thursday night.Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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