Post Super Bowl thoughts on the Eagles

by Marc Narducci | Feb 13, 2023
Post Super Bowl thoughts on the Eagles

The Eagles had a great season, but losing the Super Bowl 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs will sting for the very fact that they let a winnable game slip way. Here are some post Super Bowl thoughts.

1. Bradberry a stand-up guy. Eagles cornerback James Bradberry was called for a controversial holding call on an incomplete pass that basically gave the Chiefs the game. The Chiefs got a first down, and were able to run the clock down and then kick the winning 27-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with eight seconds left. 

It will be a call that will go down as among the most controversial plays in Eagles history. Yet when asked about it after the game, Bradberry admitted that he held receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. “…I was hoping he would let it go, but of course, he was the ref in a big game, it was a hold so he called it.”

There is a question whether it was a big enough hold to make a call that would decide the game. For admitting that he held Smith-Schuster, Bradberry deserve a lot of credit. Whether it was the right call will be debated for years if not decades, but Bradberry at least had the courage not to bury the officiating crew. 

2. Hurts fumble. While Jalen Hurts played an outstanding game, his fumble that resulted in Nick Bolton’s 36-yard touchdown return was the biggest play of the game. At the time, the Eagles were leading 14-7, had momentum and the Chiefs were reeling. That changed everything. Otherwise, Hurts was spectacular, completing 28-37 for 304 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions and a 103 passer rating.

 He also rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, along with scoring on a two-point conversion run that tied the score at 35. Hurts was so cool under the most pressurized setting, but that fumble kept the Chiefs alive when the Eagles could have applied a knockout punch. 

3. Coaching clinic by Reid. When he coached in Philadelphia, Andy Reid was often criticized for being too pass-happy. So with his team down 24-14 at halftime, Reid decided to concentrate on running the ball. In the first half, the Chiefs rushed for 39 yards on seven carries. During the second half they rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. The Chiefs mixed the run with an effective short passing game and had the Eagles off balance the entire second half. 

The two second half touchdown receptions by Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore couldn’t have been more wide-open. Kansas City had four second half possessions and scored three touchdowns and a field goal. This may have been Reid’s best coaching game ever and it had to come against his former team.

4. South Jersey guy comes through. Vineland High graduate Isiah Pacheco sure didn’t play like a rookie in the Super Bowl. Pacheco rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (5.1 avg.) and provided the Chiefs boundless energy. For a seventh-round pick the Chiefs’ scouting department deserves credit because Pacheco gave them a first-round performance all year.

5. Eagles defense. There is no doubt that the Eagles had a great season on defense, but they were MIA in the Super Bowl. As the game ended, the critics were ripping defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon for something he has been criticized for in the past – not switching things up, giving different looks. While this wasn’t Gannon’s finest moment, the defense also had to make some plays. A team that had 78 sacks (including playoffs) entering the game, had zero. The defense played well in the first half, allowing only seven points (the other score coming on Bolton’s fumble return) but the second half meltdown was shocking.

6. Mahomes magic. There were many who criticized Patrick Mahomes winning the MVP over Hurts. We won’t be hearing from that crowd anytime soon and that is to take nothing away from the Eagles quarterback. Mahomes, who again tweaked his ankle late in the first half, showed why he is the top player in the NFL. He didn’t have to go bombing away, but was so effective, completing 21 of 27 for 182 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 131.8 passer rating. He now has two Super Bowl trophies in his five seasons as a starter and should just be hitting his prime. Mahomes will turn 28 in September and would seem to have plenty of Super Bowl runs left.

7. Embarrassing field. The field conditions in Glendale Arizona were as poor as the team that occupies the stadium, the Arizona Cardinals. The NFL should be embarrassed to have the players in the biggest game, have to deal with conditions that wouldn’t pass at the high school level. With all the money NFL teams make, having a field that is both safe and playable, should be a major priority and obviously in this case, it wasn’t.

8 Eagles future bright. The Eagles will lose some key players to free agency, but with Hurts and several good young players, this should not be the last Super Bowl run. Hurts turns 25 in August and hasn’t even reached his prime yet. With two first round picks in this year’s NFL draft, there is no reason why the Eagles can’t be a major Super Bowl contender, next season and for years to come. Still, getting to a Super Bowl is so hard and the Eagles squandered a major chance to bring home a second Lombardi Trophy.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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