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February 13, 2023

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles' Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs

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021223NickSirianniJalenHurts Patrick Breen/USA TODAY Sports

Who will be the Eagles' new offensive coordinator?

The 2022 Philadelphia Eagles had an incredible season, but it ended with a frustrating loss in Arizona to the Kansas City Chiefs.ย As always, win, lose, or tie, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Tip Your Cap' Award ๐ŸŽฉ: Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid

The Eagles faced the best quarterback in the world, and he did "best quarterback in the world" things in the Super Bowl.

On the night, Mahomes was 21-for-27 for a relatively modest 182 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs for a 131.8 quarterback rating. He made a number of big plays (some with his legs), and did not make any big mistakes.

As a reminder, the Eagles faced the following quarterbacks in 2022: Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence, Kyler Murray, Cooper Rush, Kenny Pickett, Davis Mills, Taylor Heinicke, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Davis Webb, Daniel Jones again, and Brock Purdy.

A handful of those quarterbacks are good, but none are anywhere near Mahomes' level. Heading into this matchup, it was an unknown whether the Eagles would be able to slow Mahomes down. The answer, at least in the second half, was a resounding no. In the second half the Chiefs had four possessions:

  1. 10 plays, 75 yards, TD
  2. 9 plays, 75 yards, TD
  3. 3 plays, 5 yards, TD
  4. 12 plays, 66 yards, FG, on a drive in which the Chiefs successfully bled more than five minutes off the clock and kicked the game winner.

The Eagles' defense had no answers, but Mahomes' brilliance was probably the main reason why.

Meanwhile, Reid is perhaps the NFL's ๐Ÿ play designer, as well as one of the best game planners in NFL history. He schemed up plays that had receivers wide open, most notably in the red zone for easy scores, like this one to Skyy Moore:

Reid and Mahomes outclassed Jonathan Gannon and the Eagles' defense.

2) The 'Old Flaws Emerge' Award ๐Ÿคข: The Eagles' run defense

One of the flaws of this Eagles team earlier in the season was their run defense. Those issues popped up again in the Super Bowl, as the Chiefs rushed 26 times for 158 yards (6.1 YPC), and they stayed out of long downs/distances. The Chiefs' attack was reminiscent in many ways of what the Washington Commanders and Houston Texans were able to do against the Eagles, running effectively on early downs and converting short third downs.ย 

Of course, the Chiefs also happen to employ Mahomes and Reid, as opposed to Taylor Heinicke and Ron Rivera or Davis Mills and Lovie Smith, and were able to execute that plan at a level that the Eagles simply could not stop.

3) The 'Old Flaws Emerge, Part II' Award: The Eagles' special teams

The Eagles' special teams seemed to have one really bad miscue every week for a while during the regular season, but they cleaned that up a bit down the stretch. In the Super Bowl, again, an old flaw reemerged and stung them.

In the fourth quarter, Kadarius Toney returned a punt 65 yards to the Eagles' 5 yard line.

It looks like Arryn Siposs was supposed to punt the ball to the left side of the field, but he shanked a line drive to the right side. As you can see in the above video, the Eagles' gunners are running down the field as if they expect the ball to have been punted to the left. When the Eagles' punt coverage over-pursued to the right, Toney made Zach Pascal miss and then found wide open spaces with a convoy out in front of him. Devastating play.

4) The 'Free Points' Award ๐Ÿ†“: Jalen Hurts

Ugh.

Keeping the Chiefs off the scoreboard is hard enough. Giving them seven free points on a flukey play just makes them all the more difficult to beat.

5) The 'Invisible' Award ๐Ÿ‘ป: The Eagles' pass rush

One of the key matchups in this game was thought to be the Eagles' pass rush against the Chiefs' offensive line. On rare occasions in which the Eagles were able to get the Chiefs into long downs/distance, the pass rush created pressure, but those opportunities were few and far between, and the defensive line did not make enough plays otherwise.

6) The 'He Held' Award ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘: James Bradberry

It appears that a lot of people are very angry about the holding call in a crucial moment on James Bradberry, shown here:

I mean, Bradberry held him. Asked about the call after the game, referee Carl Cheffers explained,ย โ€œThe receiver went to the inside and he was attempting to release to the outside. The defender grabbed the jersey with his right hand and restricted him from releasing to the outside. So, therefore, we called defensive holding.โ€

Bradberry took accountability for the play after the game, saying that he pulled on the receiverโ€™s jersey, that he canโ€™t disagree with the call, and that he has to live with it.

But that was a legitimately correct call, in my view. Should the officiating crew have made that call in that moment? There are times when discretion can be exercised in a situation where a call might decide a game, but the bottom line is that Bradberry absolutely restricted Smith-Schuster from releasing to the outside, as Cheffers said.

7) The 'Missed Opportunity' Award: Quez Watkins

Watkins doesn't get many opportunities in each game because the Eagles have star players in A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. But when a shot play is dialed up for him and the quarterback puts the ball on the money, you have to make the play.

8) The 'Slip and Fall' Award ๐ŸŒ: The field at State Farm Stadium

Players for both teams were slipping and falling throughout the game as a result of an embarrassingly bad playing surface.

Jordan Mailata said the field was โ€œterrible.โ€ He was sure to point out it was terrible for both teams, and that Eagles and Chiefs players were talking with each other during TV timeouts about how bad it was. He said, โ€œIt was like playing on a water park.โ€

Evidently the sod for the field was groomed for two years, lol.ย 

That's kind of pathetic.

9) The 'Who Won't Be Back?' Award ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ: The Eagles' free agents, and coordinators

The Eagles have a looooong list of players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this offseason, and they are not going to be able to retain them all. Good players from the 2022 Eagles are going to be playing for new teams in 2023.ย 

The 2022 Eagles were a very likeable, cohesive group made up of veteran leaders and young players on the rise, with varying fun personalities, and whole lot of talent.

The 2023 Eagles are going to look different, and it will be interesting to see the front office's succession plan.

They could also lose both Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon to head coaching jobs around the league.

Steichen is rumored to be the most likely candidate for the Indianapolis Colts' head coaching job, and Gannon may very well be the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. If so, the Eagles will have yet another new search to conduct to replace them.

10) The 'Future Is Bright Award ๐Ÿ˜Ž: Jalen Hurts

Hurts was a star in the Super Bowl. He was 27-for-38 for 304 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, and a passer rating of 103.4. He also ran 15 times for 70 yards and 3 TDs.

"This is the biggest stage there is, and the kid played really, really well," said Jason Kelce. "So, it's going to be interesting to see what happens with the team. Obviously the team is going to look different next year, but I think the future is very bright for Jalen."

Hurts battled opposite the best football player in the world, and the game very much felt like the last team that had the ball would win. Going forward, if Hurts can consistently play the way he did in 2022, the Eagles are going to be Super Bowl contenders every year for the foreseeable future.


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