PHILADELPHIA (AP) — By their own standards, the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs wasn’t a masterpiece performance. But it was yet another masterclass in winning.
Jalen Hurts overcame five sacks in the first half, the Eagles pushed aside some ineffective play on both sides of the ball and the result was a 21-17 comeback victory over Kansas City in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl.
“I’d trade winning last year for this one, but it feels good to get this one,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said.
Sirianni was most impressed by his team’s intangibles in the victory that improved them to a league-best 9-1.
“We have a bunch of guys who know how to win,” he said.
The Eagles couldn’t protect Hurts before halftime when they fell behind by 10 points and didn’t look much better when they opened the second half with two consecutive three-and-outs. But there was no panic on the sideline.
“There’s a calmness there,” Hurts said. “You have to truly remain in control. You want to play to the standard all the time, but things happen.”
Philadelphia, eventually, started making winning plays.
D’Andre Swift’s 35-yard third-quarter run set up 10-yard TD rush on a QB draw for Hurts that pulled the Eagles within three points. On the ensuing Chiefs possession, Bradley Roby halted a long drive by punching the ball out of Chiefs TE Travis Kelce’s hands at Philadelphia’s 9-yard line. The Eagles went ahead for good in the fourth quarter when Hurts checked off the called play and found DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard pass to the Chiefs’ 1, followed by Hurts scoring on a tush-push 1-yard run.
The offensive statistics weren’t impressive, but the Eagles made just enough plays at the just the right time while beating former coach Andy Reid for the first time in five tries.
“I don’t think we played clean, nowhere near our standard,” Hurts said. “But the thing you can’t quantify is the resilience a team has, the ability to persevere and this team has that. We’ve yet to put up a performance to our standard, but we continue to find ways to win. That builds character.”
Hurts continues to lead the Eagles to victories, even if they’re not always the prettiest performances. Against Kansas City, he had a passer rating of just 64.6, completing 14 of 22 passes for 150 yards while rushing 12 times for 29 yards and two touchdowns. Those aren’t gaudy statistics, but last year’s MVP runner-up to Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes makes winning plays. He perfectly read Kansas City’s coverage when checking to a play that got Smith one-on-one with safety Mike Edwards on the game-changing long completion with 6:55 remaining.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Production at tight end. With starting TE Dallas Goedert (fractured forearm) sidelined and backup Grant Calcaterra (ankle) leaving with an injury versus Kansas City, the Eagles have lost an important part of their offense. Third-stringer Jack Stoll made one catch for three yards.
With leading receiver A.J. Brown bottled up on the other side of the field, Smith had another stellar outing. The third-year pro and former Heisman winner out of Alabama made six catches for 99 yards, including several tough ones over the middle, before securing the pivotal deep ball late that turned the game in Philadelphia’s favor.
Can the NFL’s second-leading receiver go here? Brown is tied with Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb with 1,013 receiving yards, trailing only the Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill’s 1,222. But Hurts’ top target had just one catch for eight yards against Kansas City. He also had a miscommunication with Hurts on a second-quarter target that was intercepted by L’Jarius Sneed. Expect this high-performing stock to recover quickly.
Calcaterra hurt his ankle in the third quarter.
26 — Wins by Hurts in his last 28 regular-season starts.
Host Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
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Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press