After an incredible season, the Eagles Super Bowl run ends on a very bitter note. The Eagles, after taking a 24-14 halftime lead, fell apart in the second half, giving up 24 points in their weakest defensive effort of the season. There are many factors that can be pointed to in the loss, the three biggest of which will be covered today. Let’s dive into how the Eagles Super Bowl aspirations came crashing down.
Eagles Super Bowl 57 Reaction
First, There Was a Bad Turnover
The Eagles came out of the gates fast in Super Bowl 57, putting on an offensive clinic in the first drive of the game. The Chiefs would respond the following drive, but other than that, Philadelphia completely dominated the first half, taking a 24-14 lead into the locker room. The only exception was one terrible unforced error by Jalen Hurts.
Hurts played amazingly in his first career Super Bowl, but his one big mistake ended up playing a major role in the outcome of the game. Midway through the second quarter, the Eagles lined up on third down planning on running a quarterback draw. However, as Hurts began his takeoff, he lost control of the ball, allowing Chiefs’ linebacker Nick Bolton to scoop the ball up and walk in for an easy six points.
This turnover was completely unforced and turned what could’ve been a three-score halftime lead into a two-score advantage. In a game that was decided by just three points, the seven freebies Hurts coughed up ended up meaning a lot by games end. In a true tale of two halves, this was the one major difference between the Eagles’ first half and the Chiefs’ second. Patrick Mahomes squad didn’t make the crucial mistakes when they had the advantage; the Eagles did.
Then, There Was Some Bad Defense
After a fairly solid first half, the Eagles defense never left the locker room after halftime. The Chiefs had just four offensive drives in the second half, but managed to score 24 points, both controlling the clock and momentum. There wasn’t a Chief on the field who wasn’t wide open during that time, and the Eagles’ run defense, despite the efforts to improve it in the middle of the season, reverted back to its old Swiss-cheese self.
Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was publicly humiliated by Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid, being outcoached at every available turn. There wasn’t a play the Chiefs ran the failed, and Gannon had no answers. No one played well, but from a game planning standpoint, Gannon clearly didn’t prepare his group for this challenge.
Speaking of no one playing well, what happened to the Eagles’ defensive line? The historic unit who racked up the third most sacks in NFL history totaled zero on the game’s biggest stage, allowing the Chiefs’ o-line to dominate the game. Sure, poor field conditions were partly to blame–all-Pro Haason Reddick could be seen slipping down repeatedly throughout the game–but that’s no excuse for a group this talented to get rolled the way they did.
In the biggest game of the year, the Eagles’ defense brought their worst play to the table. Hurts and the offense, with the exception of the quarterback’s awful turnover, did everything they could to win this game–the defense failed to carry their own weight. If there’s one person to place blame on for this all-time Super Bowl collapse, it’s Gannon.
And Finally, There Was a Very Bad Call
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that was the worst call in Super Bowl history. Not only was it unnecessary and likely just incorrect, but it stole any chance for the Eagles to mount a comeback. In a year where NFL refs were oft criticized for poor officiating, this was the ugliest bow they could’ve wrapped it with.
In case you missed it, here’s the quick explanation. With just under two minutes left in the game, tied 35-35, the Chiefs had a third-down play to try and pick up a first and set up a game-winning field goal. JuJu Smith-Schuster was lined up on the left side of the formation, manned up by Eagles’ cornerback James Bradberry. At the snap of the ball, the Eagles’ defensive front actually got good pressure, forcing Mahomes to float a pass safely out the back of the endzone. However, a late flag came in claiming Bradberry held Smith-Schuster, giving the Chiefs a first down and the ability to milk the clock down to near zero.
After the replay, though, it became blatantly obvious to everyone not in a Chiefs’ jersey that the flag was completely ridiculous. Bradberry had a grasp of the jersey for about half a second at the beginning of the route but did not pull Smith-Schuster or take his ability to run. Even by the strictest interpretation of this penalty, the call was a stretch and put an unfortunate end to an amazing game.
In a year where Sauce Gardner won Defensive Rookie of the Year doing exactly what Bradberry did on a weekly basis, that flag was completely uncalled for. Because of the ref’s actions, the Eagles lost the chance to tie or win the game with the time they should’ve had. Instead, Hurts was forced to try a 75-yard hail Mary which fell miles short of the endzone, and the game ended with a sputter.
However, this is not to say that the penalty was the reason the Eagles lost–the defense was. However, on the biggest play of the biggest game of the year, the Eagles were robbed of a chance to win on an all-time terrible call. This one will be talked about for a long time, and although the NFL will never attempt to fix their officiating problem, this is just another high-profile example of a game being decided by its officials. In the Super Bowl, that can’t happen.
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