The Kansas City Chiefs got the win against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, in a highly emotional battle on many fronts. This is the second time the Chiefs have played the Eagles since head coach Andy Reid took over in Kansas City following a 14 year stint in Philadelphia. In fact, a vast number of players on the Eagles’ roster were either drafted by, or originally signed by Coach Reid. So there is a lot of emotional attachment to that city and team for Big Red. Add to that, the Eagles’ head coach, Doug Pederson, was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for the first 3 years Andy was in Kansas City before going to Philadelphia to be the head coach last season. Those things automatically made this a highly emotional contest, but when you throw in the personalities of guys like Travis Kelce and Chris Jones, plus trying to get back up for a game after the win in New England to open the season, and the natural emotion of the home opener at Arrowhead and saying the Chiefs were emotionally overloaded may be an understatement. This was a nerve-wracking game from my perspective. I felt like the Chiefs should win, but this is also the type of game the Chiefs typically have lost over the years. I was especially nervous when the team started off so slowly to open the game. At halftime, the score was just 6-3 in favor of the Chiefs, and that’s only because coach Reid managed to ice the rookie kicker for the Eagles. In the second half, the Chiefs continued to struggle until the 4th quarter when they were able to really turn up the heat. Kareem Hunt got loose for a 53 yard TD run and Travis Kelce (pictured above) made a superman dive from 6 yards out to go into the endzone to take the Chiefs from tied 13-13, to up 27-13 with about 4 minutes left in the game. However, Kansas City still allowed Philadelphia to make it interesting at the end, allowing Philadelphia to drive down the field for a touchdown to pull within 7, recover an onside kick with about 20 seconds left, and get in position to throw a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game. Thankfully, the Chiefs defense was able to knock it down and they hung on to win 27-20, but it was a hotly contested fight and I come away with a few observations that stuck out:
- Kansas City is back to being #sacKCity yet again – The Chiefs defense accumulated 6 sacks in this one with Chris Jones grabbing 3 and Justin Houston, Dee Ford, and Bennie Logan each getting 1 to their names. They were getting pressure from the edges as well as up the middle, and did it fairly consistently against an Eagles offensive line which is very solid and ranks in the upper third of the NFL.
- Travis Kelce needs to get himself under control – Kelce is one of the most talented players on the team, and in the league for that matter. He’s also a guy who lets his emotions get the better of him and for the 2nd week in a row he was called for a taunting penalty that cost the team 15 yards. This is after going on record all preseason about how he’s grown up and we won’t be seeing the immature stuff from him anymore. 2 weeks in, and we’ve seen it. No excuses the rest of the way, he’s got to reign that in.
- The offensive line has some work to do – After a very good week in pass protection last Thursday, this week left a lot to be desired. Eric Fisher had a terrible game, and Alex Smith was sacked 4 times in his own right. The Eagles are one of the better front seven’s in the NFL, but this line has to be better, especially with the likes of Denver, Oakland, and Los Angeles in the division.
- Hopefully Mitch Morse doesn’t miss too much time – Part of the line struggling had to do with Mitch Morse going down. He sprained his foot, and had a MRI today to look into it, it’ll be a long shot to see him play this week against the Chargers, but hopefully the results of the MRI are positive and he’s not out long. Zach Fulton is a capable backup, but he’s still a backup.
All in all, a good win and the Chiefs are 2-0 on the year. This week they head off to Los Angeles to play the team that should still be located in San Diego. The Chargers are 0-2 on the season, after missing last second field goals in each of their first 2 games. Last season, the Chargers had the Chiefs dead to rights before allowing them to come back from a massive deficit. Kansas City can’t underestimate this team, because they are very dangerous. They’re also a wounded animal that will be essentially cornered. The Chiefs have proven they can beat the very best the NFL has to offer, the Chargers are not that, but now the question will be, can they keep the intensity up against a weaker opponent? That question will be answered next Sunday. Pregame 2:00 kickoff at 3:25 on Topeka’s Rock Leader V100!