Lions pull off comeback win, Commanders embarrassed by Giants
Sports Seriously’s Mackenzie Salmon breaks down games from NFL Week 11.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When it was over, Jalen Hurts slapped some palms.
As the ultra-cool Philadelphia Eagles quarterback made his way off the field at an uncharacteristically quiet Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night following a comeback victory in the NFL’s most anticipated matchup of the season, he was moved enough to receive the firsthand congratulatory greetings from some of the many fans clad in green.
In other words, high-fives for everybody.
“Just showing ‘em some love,” Hurts said after the 21-17 thriller. “We always travel well. We definitely appreciate it.”
Hurts insisted that the result wasn’t any more special because it provided the Eagles a measure of payback against the Kansas City Chiefs for what happened in February in Super Bowl 57.
Sure, the rally fueled by a barrage of big plays in crunchtime helped the Eagles (9-1) keep the best record in the NFL intact. And it was yet another example of how the young quarterback, who fired a 41-yard strike to DeVonta Smith in the fourth quarter to set up his winning touchdown plunge, doesn’t flinch in the face of stiff competition.
It also marked the 13th consecutive victory for Hurts against teams with winning records, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning and Vinny Testaverde, for most-such wins by a quarterback dating to 1950.
He still downplayed the significance – and especially the Super Bowl revenge stuff – of the win.
Then, at the end of his postgame press conference, a veteran Eagles observer pointed out that he had never seen Hurts get his flowers, so to speak, from fans as he came off the field.
Hurts paused at the mention of this and flashed a sly grin.
“Never done it before,” he acknowledged.
Whatever the motivation, the effort and outcome was significant on its own. Hurts, who maintains that these Eagles are “still in character-building mode,” seemed more impressed that the Eagles demonstrated how much their identity is wrapped in resilience.
“The thing you can’t quantify is the resilience that a team has,” Hurts said. “We’ve yet to put up a game to our standards, but we continue to find ways to win.”
Hurts was sacked five times and passed for his lowest total of the season, 150 yards, and the Eagles still won because of timely big plays – and a defense that shut out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the second half.
“It wasn’t pretty on either side,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “Gritty. Grimy. Nasty. All those – what are those, adjectives? It was going to be that way.”
Sirianni was lockstep with his quarterback in insisting that the victory wasn’t about avenging the Super Bowl loss, when, as he pointed out, the Chiefs were the ones who overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.
“They won’t give those rings back, I know that,” Sirianni said.
Avenging the Super Bowl loss? Not here. Not now.
No, the stakes weren’t the same on Monday night. In the days leading up to the matchup, Sirianni was so intentional about it not being about Super Bowl 57.
“We weren’t thinking that we were coming here to avenge a loss because they’re different,” he said. “It’s a different…the magnitude of the game. That was for everything. I know that doesn’t make for great news, but I promise you what we think is to take it one game at a time.”
And that one game on Monday night?
“The message was, ‘How are we going to do this?’ “ Sirianni said. “ ‘How are we going to come to a hostile environment to win a game on the road against really great players and outstanding coaches.’ “
The answer? Sirianni said it was about resilience and togetherness.
What he didn’t say was that the Chiefs (7-3) were willing enablers, given their two red zone turnovers and a mistake-prone offense that hurt itself (again) with penalties and dropped passes.
Still, the Eagles were more than willing to take advantage of Kansas City’s miscues. In building a 9-1 record that is identical to their mark at this point last season, the Eagles have shown quite the knack for withstanding pressure and closing the games that are typically tight, week after week.
Had they not pulled it out on Monday night, resilience and togetherness would not have been the right themes.
“The identity ends up being what you do on the field,” said veteran center Jason Kelce. “Right now, we’re 9-1, so we’re doing pretty darn good.”
Like Hurts, Kelce bemoaned how imperfect the performance was for the offense. He called the victory “bittersweet” because he is mindful of elements that need to be cleaned up.
“As soon as we start putting together full games,” Kelce said, “then I think we’ll be even more dominant.”
Still, Kelce was reminded that the Eagles have finally beaten Andy Reid, who entered the game with a 4-0 record against his former team. Considering that and the Super Bowl payback, someone asked Kelce how could the Eagles not make it bigger than a typical game?
“We didn’t play great,” he replied. “That helps you.”
Maybe they’ll see the Chiefs again in a few months in a true Super Bowl rematch.
“We’ll see,” Kelce said. “Those guys will be right there in the hunt, as are we. We’ll see how it shakes out. Maybe it’ll be something similar in February.”
Now that would really be a chance for some Super Bowl payback…when there will be no denying a celebration for the winner.