Philadelphia Eagles’ strong start uncertain in Kansas City

(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles fell into a first-place tie with at least two divisional rivals with a decent but uneven effort against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With about two minutes left in the first half of Sunday’s Philadelphia Eagles-Kansas City Chiefs game dominated until then by defense, a circus broke out.

Nah – doesn’t work. Start over.

With very, very little time left in the game, the Philadelphia Eagles’ new kicker, Jake Elliott, and Trey Burton teamed up on the best on-sides kick in the history of the NFL…

Best? (Check that?)

Forget it. The Eagles lost, 27-20. That’s the point.

Were there positives in a loss that most expected? Well, I guess:

The Positives

First, the defensive front and linebackers appear to be stout, and in fact, the entire defense did reasonably well, given the early injury to safety Rodney McLeod.

Second, a notable former player’s opinion notwithstanding, Doug Pederson gets a little credit for switching up his approach – particularly against former mentor Andy Reid. Darren Sproles got a lot more touches early on than he did last week, and that worked – six rushes in the first half for a ballpark five yards a carry. Moreover, last week’s surprise star, Nelson Agholor, didn’t catch a ball until late in the game when he snatched a nine-yard touchdown pass.

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(Unfortunately, Sproles fumbled a punt at a bad juncture late in the first half, but the Football Gods sort of “gave it back” to the Eagles shortly thereafter on a weird play involving a KC defensive back batting a Wentz pass back to his targeted tight end, Zach Ertz, instead of intercepting it.)

Third, safety Malcom Jenkins strongly led by example early in the game, but then sort of disappeared.

Also, Burton’s tip forward of an on-sides kick he arguably should have grabbed and just fallen on – number four – was a daring, brilliant move when the game seemed definitively lost.

Five? Alshon Jeffery caught enough passes to justify his paycheck – seven for 92 yards.

The Negatives

All right, they lost, so something went wrong.

First, young offensive left guard Isaac Seumalo did not have a good game, notably making a very weak block attempt that led to his quarterback being sacked late in the second quarter when the game was very tight. He also false-started early in the fourth quarter, killing a drive.

Second, Eagles QB Carson Wentz had a split personality game, efficiently driving his team down the field on some drives and airmailing throws at other times. Is the Eagles’ supposedly great offensive line giving him enough to set properly to throw? Certainly not against this good team – he was sacked six times.  Wentz threw again for more than 300 yards, but this time he didn’t win.

Number three? Pederson didn’t try to run enough. LeGarrette Blount had no run plays from scrimmage. Corey Clement had none. Bad, bad decision there.

Burton’s swashbuckling move near the end of the game ensured meaningful plays until the clock literally reached 0:00. However, if the last Eagles’ Hail Mary into a crowd was a called play, I might have tried a crossing pattern to Agholor in the hope he’d do the rest.

Next: Philadelphia Eagles should not panic quite yet; but must improve

On the bright side, though, if the Giants beat the Lions on Sept. 18, every team in the division will be 1-1. This is the Eagles’ current worst case scenario after the Cowboys’ drubbing by the Broncos, and Washington’s defeat of the Los Angeles “We Have White Horns” Rams.