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September 17, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Chiefs game

The Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs heading into Kansas City against a better team. The better team made plays when it mattered, while the Eagles could not. As always, win or lose, we hand out ten awards.

1) The 'Missing In Action' Award: LeGarrette Blount and the Eagles' run game

Blount had a reception for zero yards, but he did not have a single carry that counted in the stat sheet against the Chiefs. (He did have one carry that was negated by a penalty). Blount did not seem upset in the locker room after the game, categorizing his lack of usage as a product of the flow of the game.

Carson Wentz led the team with 55 rushing yards. Obviously, that is not ideal. Here are the Eagles' running backs' numbers so far on the season:

Player Rush Yards YPC TD 
Darren Sproles 12 50 4.2 
LeGarrette Blount 14 46 3.3 
 Wendell Smallwood1.1 
 TOTAL33 104 3.2 

Clearly, running back is going to be a major need next offseason, because this current group is doing absolutely nothing to take some pressure off of Carson Wentz.

2) The 'Throwaway That Wasn't' Award: Carson Wentz

On the Eagles' devastating interception in the fourth quarter, the play call was a screen pass to Darren Sproles. The Chiefs blew up the screen before it developed, so Wentz attempted to throw the ball away in the vicinity of Sproles' feet. Instead, the ball deflected off a Chiefs' defensive lineman, popped up in the air, and was picked.

That eventually led to a Travis Kelce touchdown the other way. It's crystal clear that Wentz is very talented and has the ability to make plays, but he is still going to make his share of mistakes, and that was a big one.

On a side note, if it were Eli Manning, he would have just spiked it, and gotten away with intentional grounding.

3) The 'We Don't Accept Your Charity' Award: Jake Elliott

With 12 seconds left in the first half, the Eagles had the ball on their own 36-yard line. Wentz threw an off-target pass to Zach Ertz that should've been picked off by Chiefs CB Terrance Mitchell. Instead, the ball comically bounced off of Mitchell, Ertz snagged the up-for-grabs ball, and he ran down to the Chiefs 11.

With a chance to tie the game up and heading into the locker room with momentum, newly acquired rookie kicker Jake Elliott missed a 30-yard chip shot field goal after being iced by Andy Reid. 

The Chiefs gifted the Eagles three points, but the Eagles were like, "Nah, we're good."

There were a number of decent veteran kickers available when the Eagles signed Elliott, who was a fifth-round pick that was likely given every opportunity to win the Bengals job in camp but could not.

4) The 'Finish HIM!!!!' Award: Vinny Curry

On a key third down in the fourth quarter, Vinny Curry had a good inside pass rush on the Chiefs' RT, and had Alex Smith dead to rights. If he makes the play, the Chiefs would have attempted a long field goal, likely going up by three. Instead, Smith shook Curry off, and scrambled for a first down.

The inside rush was nice, but that doesn't mean jack if you can't finish.

5) The 'Human Turnstile' Award: Isaac Seumalo

Seumalo got beaten badly on at least four sacks and missed a key block on a promising screen play that instead got blown up by the Chiefs D. The Eagles are going to have to seriously consider starting either Chance Warmack or Stefan Wisniewski at LG next week at home against the Giants.

6) The 'Whiff' Award: Corey Graham

On a play in which the Eagles defense mis-fit a run play, Kareem Hunt broke into the secondary and had a mano-e-mano showdown with Eagles safety Corey Graham. Hunt made a move to his left, and easily left Graham in the dust.

Get well soon, Rodney McLeod.

7) The 'CATCH IT' Award: Torrey Smith

Smith had a chance to make two big plays in this game. One was on a fade in the end zone, and another was a play in which he was deep down the field and had to come back for the ball. Smith got his hands on the ball on both throws, but could not bring them in. One of those plays cost the Eagles points. The other one may have as well.

8) The 'You Amuse Me' Award: Timmy Jernigan

Jernigan had a good game Week 1 against the Redskins. While he was a little quieter Week 2, he did have the one play where he tossed Kareem Hunt like five yards with one hand. A replay:

Jimmy/for PhillyVoice

Jernigan has been a fun player to watch through two weeks.

9) The 'At Least There's That Award: The defensive front seven

The Eagles' front seven on defense is really freaking good. The front four punished Alex Smith all day, and the linebackers played well both against the run and the pass. Even Mychal Kendricks, once thought of as the weak link of the front seven, has been significantly improved so far this year. 

The Chiefs got their biggest plays when the Eagles' "second team" defensive line was in the game, so while there's concern about the depth, that first team unit looks nasty.

10) The 'Looking Ahead' Award: Eagles fan optimists

The Eagles' next seven opponents before their bye are as follows:

  1. Giants
  2. At Chargers
  3. Cardinals
  4. At Panthers
  5. Redskins
  6. 49ers
  7. Broncos

The Eagles sit at 1-1 with a loss in the AFC, a win in the division, and all eight of their home games yet to be played. Their next seven opponents aren't anywhere near as good as the Chiefs, a team they hung in there with for most of a game in which they didn't play particularly well.

Still, they are going to have to make more plays when opportunities arise, or they simply won't be serious contenders.

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