There are no such things as moral victories in the NFL, but all things considered, things could be worse for the Philadelphia Eagles after their 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Philly was on the road against an AFC playoff team. A loss is a loss, but this one does basically nothing substantial beyond that. After Dallas lost, it didn’t even cause the Eagles to fall behind in the NFC East.
Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson was just another of Andy Reid‘s former assistants to come up short against their former boss (Reid is now 9-3 in such meetings). Who were the other winners and losers? Glad you asked.
Winner: Andy Reid
Even though Reid is the Eagles’ franchise’s all-time leader in wins by a head coach, there are many fans in Philadelphia who still don’t appreciate him. His pass-happy style didn’t mesh with the mindset of a segment of Eagles fans who still believe that Buddy Ryan, despite his many failings, was the greatest coach ever.
For his part, Reid still talks with great fondness about his time in Philadelphia, and still maintains a good relationship with the people within the Eagles front office. The team hired one of his proteges in Pederson to coach the team, so obviously there’s still respect for Big Red in the building.
That said, Reid still must feel good moving to 2-0 against his former team. By the end of his tenure in Philadelphia, it really was time for both sides to move on, but he continues to show that he’s a really good football coach.
Winner: Carson Wentz
The Eagles second-year quarterback is really good. For the second week in a row, Wentz threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. It’s only two games in, but that puts the North Dakota State alumni on pace for the best season by a quarterback in franchise history.
Down by 14-points with a little over 2 minutes to play, Wentz got the Eagles down the field and hit Nelson Agholor for a touchdown with 8 seconds left. After a successful onside kick, Wentz put his Hail Mary attempt right where it needed to be to have a chance to tie the game.
The Eagles have a number of flaws, but Wentz is quickly becoming the type of quarterback who gives his team a chance to win every week.
Loser: Carson Wentz
On the other hand, Wentz seems to like the Brett Favre gunslinger approach to quarterbacking a little bit too much. For the second week, he suffered a crushing interception on a ball that shouldn’t have been thrown.
Taking shots down the field is great, and in those situations, an occasional interception is just the price of doing business. Wentz’s interception came on a busted screen pass, where the quarterback himself acknowledged that he should have thrown the ball away. His interception the week before was similarly egregious.
For being 6-foot-5, Wentz has too many balls tipped. Right now, he’s getting away with some things, but his next opponent, the New York Giants have a really good defense. Wentz is flirting with having one of those disastrous three or four interceptions games.
Winner: Alshon Jeffery
The Eagles offensive staff wanted to get Jeffery involved as evidenced by his 13 targets. The team’s big free agent acquisition is being paid to be a number one receiver, so his three catches in the opener were disappointing.
The wide receiver responded against the Chiefs, hauling in seven passes for 92 yards. More importantly, he hauled in his first touchdown in midnight green. Tight end Zach Ertz is Wentz’s security blanket, but Jeffery needs to be the player that defenses fear.
Loser: Eagles Offensive Line
There’s a chicken-egg argument going on in Philadelphia regarding the Eagles running game failures. It’s true that running backs LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood haven’t done very much. The fact that Wentz led the team in rushing says all anyone needs to know. But, Blount has struggled outside of New England before, Sproles is 34-years-old and Smallwood was drafted in the fifth round.
The Eagles offensive line, however, features a future Hall of Famer (Jason Peters), a two-time Pro Bowler (Jason Kelce) and a former high first round pick (Lane Johnson). A fourth (Brandon Brooks) has been considered a solid starter for four years now. That group should be able to get a push.
Each individual seems to be having an issue, which is killing the whole. One glaring problem is the play of second-year left guard Isaac Seumalo, who has struggled mightily. Stationed between Peters and Kelce, he’s too often had defenders running right past him.
Worse, the line’s calling card is supposed to be pass protection. Tell that, though, to Wentz, who has only occasionally had a clean pocket to throw from. The young franchise quarterback was sacked six times against Kansas City.
Particularly disappointing has been Johnson. He’s supposed to be one of the best right tackles in the game, but he’s getting pushed around so far this season.
The runners were always going to be a problem. The offensive line wasn’t supposed to be. Line coach Jeff Stoutland needs to find a fix quickly if the team wants to make a playoff push.
Winner: Jalen Mills
With Ronald Darby sidelined for at least the next four weeks, Mills found himself in the spotlight. The second-year cornerback from LSU ceiling hasn’t been considered very high because of his speed. Being slow against Kansas City is a major issue with Tyreek Hill around.
Mills, along with Patrick Robinson and rookie Rasul Douglas, managed to keep Hill from going nuts. The speedy wideout was held to just four catches for 43 yards. Travis Kelce might have ruled the middle of the field, but the Eagles corners did as well as could be expected.
Winner: Eagles Defensive Line
While the Eagles’ offensive line has struggled, their defensive counterparts have dominated. Defensive end Brandon Graham had a strong game in the opener, but this week he was joined by the other ends.
Vinny Curry looked like the impact player he’s being paid to be. Chris Long registered his first sack of the season. First-round rookie Derek Barnett hasn’t come up with his first sack yet, but that will come soon.
The outside was impressive but the interior topped them. Fletcher Cox took down Alex Smith for a sack and was harassing the quarterback throughout. Tim Jernigan shared a sack with Graham and looks scary next to Cox.
Eli Manning, whose Giants are set to visit Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, is going to have night sweats once he starts watching the Eagles film from the first two weeks.