The Philadelphia Eagles made Andy Reid’s return to the city of brotherly love a welcoming one Thursday night when his former team played host to his current employer in the Kansas City Chiefs.
Big time media all week made this game such a big story line due to the fact that Reid was head coach in Philadelphia the last 14 seasons. He was fired at the end of the 2012 season, where he was soon snatched up by Clark Hunt and company and brought to Kansas City to rescue a drowning organization. Philadelphia fans cheered him as he took the field walking briskly and never looking up towards the Philly crowd before taking his place on the sideline to begin the game. He later acknowledged he recognized the tribute: “I appreciate the fans and the support they gave me,” he said. “That was kind of them.”
What a game it would turn out to be.
I won’t do a play by play breakdown of how this game evolved through the four quarters, but there were some high’s and some definite low’s. The Kansas City defense started out powerful and physical and never let down. The Chiefs defense would force five turnovers and sack Michael Vick a total of five times. “The defense, man — the DBs, the linebackers giving great coverage, the big guys in the middle pushing the pocket,” Reid said. “When they’re doing that, it’s real easy for me to do my job.” Justin Houston was the most dominant player on the Chiefs defense racking up an impressive 3.5 sacks on Philly QB Michael Vick bringing his sack total for the season to 6.5. Eric Berry had an impressive game as well, early in the first quarter, Derrick Johnson tipped a Vick pass right into the hands of Berry who returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles had a muffed punt return that resulted in a fumble recovered by Kansas City to add to the Eagles turnover count in the first quarter. During the second quarter, Chiefs Cornerback Sean Smith came up big with his own interception of the game which ended up leading to a field goal by Ryan Succop. Over and over the defense came up with big plays, whether it be sacks, turnovers, or forcing 3 and outs, the Chiefs defense stepped up to the level required in order to slow Chip Kelly’s NFL changing offense.
Speaking of offense, the Chiefs have some work to do. Alex Smith did a good job yet again at taking care of the football and not forcing any plays, staying perfect through the first three games of the 2013 with zero turnovers. The offensive line however, had its low moments. First overall pick Eric Fisher was harassed all night by the Philadelphia defense. He gave up at least two sacks, he was beat several times off the line and was called for holding twice. The Chiefs ended up having to slide their protection towards Fisher’s side to help. Now, I know he is a rookie, I know he is playing a position he did not play in college, I know people make mistakes. However, these are errors that need to be corrected now. The Eagles defense isn’t amazing, however, it’s not as horrible as most people try to claim. The Chiefs play teams with much better defenses this season, and in order to keep Alex Smith protected and give him the time he needs in the pocket to get the ball out accurately and efficiently, Eric Fisher is going to need to improve, and he needs to do it quickly. Alex Smith completed 21 of 31 passes for 258 yards on passes 10 yards or fewer down field. Donnie Avery established himself early in the game as Smith’s go-to guy for the night, especially in 3rd and long situations. Avery’s biggest play came on a quick pass from Smith that resulted in a 51 yard scamper by Avery before being chased out of bounds. He would end the day with 7 catches for 141 yards, making hit his second-highest of his career. He was targeted seven times, and caught it every single time the ball came his way. Great effort by Avery. The Chiefs only offensive touchdown came on a 3-yard fourth quarter run by Jamaal Charles, who finished the game with 92 yards on 20 carries, and seven passes caught for 80 more.
This was a big win for Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Reid tried to down play the win as much as he could, but his player’s wouldn’t hear it: “He wanted to get this win,” said Jamaal Charles, “he might not tell nobody, but at the end of the day he had the biggest smile on his face. It was very emotional (in the locker room). There was a big roar, a big cheer. We wanted to come out here and do our job and win in Philly.”
“Man, this one meant a lot,’ Eric Berry said. “Anytime you spend this much time in a place, like Coach Reid, to come back and win, I know he’s feeling good. And I’m just glad we got it done. It’s a wonderful feeling. Just a year ago, there wasn’t anybody really looking at us. “But the stage was set for us. It was a big game, Thursday night, with Andy Reid back in Philadelphia. We just came here to play ball, and he did a good job of keeping us focused on just the game the whole week, without getting too caught up in what was going on around the game.”
Alex Smith and the Chiefs must now play host to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in week four at what is bound to be one of the most energized crowds Arrowhead Stadium has seen in quite some time. I look forward to seeing you there.
What are your thoughts on the game against the Eagles? What do the Chiefs need to do to prepare for the Giants next week? Tell us below!
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