After a game in which his team played unlike itself through most of the night, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni praised his squad for coming together late to find a way to win.
“Whoever was going to win that game was going to do it gritty, grimy, nasty, all those adjectives,” Sirianni said. “It was going to be that way, and the guys just stayed together and kept fighting, and kept grinding it out, and we were able to come out on top.”
In a rematch of February’s Super Bowl LVII matchup, Philadelphia defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 21-17 Monday night, with the difference in the game coming on an 80-yard game-winning drive that exemplified the best parts of Eagles football.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts’ two longest throws of the night came on that drive, first tossing it to D’Andre Swift, who took it and ran for 20 yards, and then finding DeVonta Smith for back to back receptions, first a 13-yard third-down conversion and then the biggest play of the game, a 41-yard deep pass that Smith caught just before the goal line.
“It was a great catch by him, timely, a timely play in the game, just thinking about the opportunities we may have had early in the game that we didn’t take advantage of,” Hurts said. “All I can say is you make those plays when you need to make those plays, and I’m just happy how we responded today.”
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The Eagles went to their bread and butter to finish it off, using the “Brotherly Shove” to push Hurts into the end zone for the touchdown and their first lead of the game. The tush push gave Hurts his second rushing touchdown of the night, tying him with Cam Newton for the most games with two-plus rushing TDs by a quarterback all time (10).
For the first two and a half quarters of the game, the Eagles looked outmatched on offense, as outside of their single touchdown drive in the first quarter, Philly had only two first downs and 90 yards, going three-and-out four times.
The defense had kept things close, causing two red zone turnovers and shutting out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense in the second half, giving the offense time to get things in order and find a way to win. The Eagles marched down the field to score on a Hurts 10-yard run at the end of the third quarter, and then again found the end zone in the fourth to complete the comeback from a 10-point halftime deficit.
“Yeah, just resiliency,” Sirianni said. “I mean it wasn’t pretty, there were a lot of ugly moments in it, shoot, but they just kept fighting and kept staying together, and it was a good team win, where everyone just stayed together. The defense kept making plays, waiting for the offense to make a play, and we did in some critical times.”
Despite finishing with a season-low 238 net yards, the Eagles offense grinded out the win on a rainy night in the hostile environment of Arrowhead Stadium. While Hurts was clear post-game that he and the offense as whole needs to play better, he acknowledged that being able to pull out the win on tough nights like this builds character, giving experience that can be of benefit once the high-pressure games come around later in the season.
“I don’t think we played clean tonight, I don’t think we played to our standard, nowhere near our standard, but I think the thing that you can’t test or quantify is the resilience that a team has, and the ability to persevere and see through things and overcome things, and this team has that,” he said. “And so, we’ve yet to put up a performance to our standard, but we continue to find ways to win, and when you win games like we win games, that builds a ton of character.”
However messy the win was, the Eagles nevertheless return to Philadelphia with a league-best 9-1 record, and will have a short week before they host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
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