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November 21, 2023

Game ball: DeVonta Smith makes the big play to spark Eagles comeback vs. Chiefs

When the Eagles desperately needed a spark late against the Chiefs, there went DeVonta Smith downfield for the biggest catch of the entire game.

Sometimes it just takes one big play. 

The Eagles looked ugly, again. And they were down, for a while. 

But against Patrick Mahomes and the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl rematch Monday night, they, once again found a way in a 21-17 win.

DeVonta Smith made a big catch that woke the whole team up, the defense bent but didn't break and made stops when it mattered the most, and one clutch play on special teams set things up for the defense to put it all away in the 21-17 victory. 

The Eagles are 9-1 and atop the NFL ladder following another statement win, and these are the players receiving PhillyVoice's weekly game ball honors that made it all possible...

Offense: DeVonta Smith

It was not a great night for the Eagles through the air.

The Chiefs had no hesitation sending an extra man to pressure Jalen Hurts – which for a while was pretty effective – and open options were limited seemingly all game.

But when the Eagles desperately needed a spark late, there went DeVonta Smith downfield for the biggest catch of the entire game – a 41-yard bomb down the right sideline from Hurts to Smith that was caught and downed at the 1 with 6:20 left and the Eagles trailing by three.

You know what happened next: Tush Push for the score. 21-17, Eagles with, finally, their first lead of the night, and the only one they needed.

Smith caught six of his eight targets for 99 of Hurts' 150 passing yards to lead the Eagles' receivers – again, not a great night through the air.

But really, in a game like this, all the Eagles needed was one big play.

And so came the Slim Reaper knocking on Kansas City's door.

Defense: The whole unit for that second half

The Eagles' defense for the first half of that game, it was looking like a disaster.

They were getting torn up on the ground – Isiah Pacheco was an absolute headache - Patrick Mahomes had plenty of time as the pass rush struggled to get home to him, and heading into the break, it was looking like the Chiefs were lining up to run away with this.

But then the Birds came back out for the second, and while it was far from pretty, they went and blanked Kanas City the rest of the way.

That was huge, especially on that final Chiefs possession when the pass rush finally started to break through and apply real pressure – Josh Sweat burst off the edge on the crucial 3rd and 10 to force Mahomes into an intentional grounding and set up a make or break 4th and forever for the game...

And the Chiefs broke. The Eagles won – with a little luck from a terribly timed drop by Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a deep pass to the end zone, but hey, they'll take it.

There's a lot to criticize from this game. It was ugly. But at the end of the night, the Eagles' defense once again may have bent, but it definitely didn't break. And they walk away again with yet another statement win.

Special Teams: Josh Jobe

He got right down there on that 4th and 21 punt late to bring Kadarius Toney straight down at the Kansas City 9 and deny any chance of a big return.

That was major in helping out the defense for that final series, leaving Mahomes and the Chiefs with that much less room for error.

And they couldn't operate. 

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