The brotherly push? A tush push? Whatever the Philadelphia Eagles want to call their trademark, teams in the NFL still can’t find a way to stop the inevitable.
And on a rainy night in Arrowhead, with a Super Bowl rematch against the team that suffered the toughest of defeats nine months ago, there is no better weapon than one that guarantees success.
With just over six minutes left and the Chiefs leading by three, Jalen Hurts was overwhelmed by his stout Eagles offensive line – led by Jason Kelce – as they cemented themselves as the team this season with a narrow win Beating in the NFL is the road.
They were certainly helped by another lackluster offensive performance from the Chiefs and a costly fumble in the red zone by Travis Kelce when it mattered most. He did manage to score, but his performance here will inevitably lead to more conversations about distractions.
We’ll never know if the Chiefs would have converted from the spot where he dropped the ball, but Kelce’s uncharacteristic mistake opened the door for the Eagles and they shot right through it.
Jalen Hurts led the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory over Super Bowl opponent Kansas City Chiefs
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni smiled as he watched his team earn a deserved win
It would have been easy for Nick Sirianni’s team to be consumed by the pain of the loss in Arizona. But they are confident in everything they do, resilient when things don’t go their way, and have subtly adjusted their game plan to improve.
D’Andre Swift is one of their best new recruits. On a night when the spotlight could have easily been on all of the Swifts in Travis Kelce’s hospitality suite, her namesake delivered his most impressive performance yet as Eagle.
The running back, who was traded from the Lions in the offseason after a mixed three years in Detroit, seemed to break through the Chiefs’ defensive time every time it mattered.
After Justin Watson scored the first touchdown on a jump pass from Patrick Mahomes, Swift scored a touchdown of his own, so the Eagles hit back almost immediately.
Many people thought other Swifts would steal the spotlight Monday night, but D’Andre Swift shined for the Chiefs
It came after a brilliant run courtesy of Swift’s Jason Kelce, who showed no signs of his age as he exploded off the line and raced through Justin Reid like he wasn’t even there. Swift saw the gap and took advantage of it.
Hurts and Mahomes both traded interceptions – perhaps because of the poor conditions – as the game ended tied 7-7 and the Eagles star was sacked five times in a painful first half.
But now in his third year as a starter, Hurts appears unfazed by adversity and began to settle into the game in the second half.
He showed the strength of his running game with a 10-yard touchdown to make it 14:17 and then threw a dart to turn the game on its head.
If his game-winning one-yard conversion was the final nail in the Chiefs’ coffin, then it was his outstanding deep pass to DeVonta Smith on the previous play that really did the damage.
When the ball was near the 50-yard line, Hurts took a few steps and launched the ball into the night sky. It felt like it took forever to come down, but when it did, Smith was there to accept it, catching it just before the finish line.
That was game over. Especially when you have a guaranteed one-yard game in your locker.
So how about these Chiefs?
Well, offensive errors continue to haunt them. They are now also proving to be expensive.
Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs offense struggled to finish teams off in the second half
Travis Kelce fumbles the ball after catching it before the Eagles scored on the other end
Also concerning is that the Chiefs have scored an NFL-worst 53 points in the second half this season, which is just over five per game. Here they were eliminated in the second half for the third time in a row.
Penalties, red zone turnovers and dropped passes will take their toll and here they prevented them from threatening the Eagles once they fell behind.
“All season,” Mahomes said, “we haven’t played good football in the second half.” We have to keep working. “Obviously we had a pretty good first half football-wise, but we have to find ways to finish games offensively.”
As expected, Kelce was his biggest target, catching seven passes for 44 yards and a score, but – as mentioned – he turned the ball over with a fumble in the red zone in the fourth quarter.
“I just haven’t performed at the level I have in the past,” a distraught Kelce said afterwards. “I have to get better.”
The Chiefs’ problems on offense were highlighted by their last attack.
73,000 spectators were expected. You’ve seen Mahomes consistently fall behind and win games.
The Chiefs had one last chance with the ball at their own nine-yard line with 2:49 left. That’s usually an age for Mahomes, but here it seemed like there was never enough time.
Brothers Travis and Jason Kelce shared a warm hug at the conclusion of the Kelce Bowl.
They started with a fourth-down conversion, and a roughing the passer penalty pushed them near midfield.
But then came the moment to win it and beat the Eagles again.
Mahomes made a beautiful pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a supposed 51-yard touchdown, but the pass went right through the wide receiver’s hands.
Then, after being called for an intentional grounding, Mahomes threw a final incompletion on a ball that Justin Watson could have caught, keeping the Chiefs alive with a first down.
Instead, the Eagles ran out of time.
After the win, the Eagles are 9-1 and appear to be strong contenders to win the NFC again. The loss leaves the Chiefs in second place in the AFC behind the Ravens.
Still, you certainly wouldn’t bet against these two meeting again in Las Vegas in 82 days.
But while it looks increasingly likely that the Eagles will play in Sin City, the Chiefs still have work to do.