Week 11 Eagles grades by position after beating Chiefs on MNF originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How the heck did the Eagles win that game?
Eh, it doesn’t matter. They did. And after their 21-17 win over the Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl LVII, they’re 9-1 and in the driver’s seat of the NFC.
It wasn’t always pretty on Monday night. The offense sputtered for much of the game, the defense at times was gashed on the ground. But they made enough plays on the road to take down the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Jalen Hurts: 14/22, 150 yards, 1 INT; 12 rushes, 29 yards, 2 TD
This wasn’t a repeat of Hurts’ masterful Super Bowl performance. On Monday, he didn’t light up the scoreboard and there were moments of serious lulls in offensive production. But he did hit DeVonta Smith on that deep ball to set up the go-ahead touchdown. And he also showed some ability with his legs after healing up during the bye week. He rushed for a couple of touchdowns in this one. Hurts’ passer rating of 64.6 is pretty ugly but this was a game where the stats for the QB really don’t tell the whole story.
D’Andre Swift: 12 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; 3 receptions, 31 yards
At least one Swift showed up on Monday night. It had been a while since the Eagles’ running back had a performance like the one we saw against the Chiefs. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and his 35-yarder on a sweep was one of the biggest plays of the entire game. The rest of the running backs didn’t contribute much but in a game that was relatively low scoring, Swift did his part.
DeVonta Smith: 6 catches on 8 targets, 99 yards
With L’Jarius Sneed following him on Monday, A.J. Brown had his worst output of the season. He was targeted four times and had just 1 catch for 8 yards. But Smith was there to make plays. The Eagles’ other No. 1 receiver finished with 99 yards — yeah, that bugged him — for the second time in three games. His 41-yarder in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown was the play of the game. We saw a lot of WR screens in this game that didn’t work but that’s probably more on the play calling.
Jack Stoll: 1 catch for 3 yards
The Eagles played their first game of the 2023 season without Dallas Goedert on Monday. Goedert has a fractured forearm and the team hopes he’ll return within the next month. For this game, it was Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra and Albert Okweugbunam. The Eagles are going to miss Goedert’s play-making ability. The only catch from tight ends in this game was a 3-yarder from Stoll. And Calcaterra suffered an ankle injury in the game. But the tight ends were asked to block and that’s something Stoll is very good at.
It wasn’t the cleanest game for the Eagles’ offensive line. The Birds gave up five sacks for 26 yards to the Chiefs but it’s also important to point out that all five of those sacks came in the first half. And the Eagles were able to run the ball fairly well in this game, going for 114 on the ground.
Haason Reddick: 1 sack, 3 QB hit, 1 TFL
It was a weird game for the Eagles’ defensive line. Reddick started off the game with a sack on Mahomes on the second play of the game but they didn’t get him again. Although … the intentional grounding forced by Josh Sweat in the fourth quarter was basically a sack. After giving up 121 rushing yards in the first half, the Eagles gave up just 47 in the second. Overall, it was a solid performance from the guys up front and they seemed to wear down the Chiefs’ offense.
Zach Cunningham: 7 tackles, 1 PBU
The Eagles will have to go forward without Nakobe Dean, who is back on IR after Lisfranc surgery. The good news is that the duo of Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow has been playing well together all season. Cunningham was second on the team in tackles and Morrow added five tackles of his own and recovered that Travis Kelce fumble in the second half.
Kevin Byard: 8 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU
Sure, there was a miscommunication on that first-quarter touchdown pass from Mahomes to Justin Watson. But after that? The Eagles’ defensive backs made some big plays with two takeaways in the red zone. One came on a Kevin Byard interception and the other came when Bradley Roby punched the football out of the arms of Kelce. Mahomes attempted 43 passes on Monday night and finished with a grand total of 177 yards.
Britain Covey: 3 punt returns, 53 yards, long of 26
It wasn’t a perfect day for the Eagles’ special teams unit. The Kadarius Toney 21-yard punt return hurt and there was one particularly bad punt from Braden Mann. But Mann did end up with an average of 47.7 on seven punts with a long of 63. Britain Covey had 3 punt returns for an average of 17.7 and a long of 26. And the Josh Jobe tackle on the punt late in the fourth quarter pinned the Chiefs at their own 9-yard line. It was one of the biggest plays of the game.
For a lot of this game, I was very confused by the offensive play-calling from Brian Johnson. It really seemed like he was focusing on the horizontal passing game and the Eagles’ offense was stuck in the mud. But eventually, he called some plays that did work and helped them get out of a hole. And in general, this is a well-coached team. To be down 10 points and halftime and never show panic speaks to coaching and leadership. Nick Sirianni’s team just keeps pulling out wins and he deserves some of the credit for that.