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Chiefs-Eagles Instabreakdown: Defense shines while offense stumbles in loss

Kansas City’s defense played a great game, but the team still lost to Philadelphia on Monday night.

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

On Monday night, the Kansas City Chiefs dropped a 21-17 decision to the Philadelphia Eagles on “Monday Night Football” from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Here is our early breakdown of the game.

Offense (Caleb James)

The Chiefs' offense struggled to move the ball for most of the game — and in the end, that cost them. While it had a few successful drives in the first half, the second half yielded no points. That was ultimately the difference in the game.

The first half saw Kansas City put points on the board on three drives — including on the final drive, where the team kicked a field goal to put them up 10 points at intermission.

Isiah Pacheco rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries — and in general, the Chiefs’ running game was successful against the Philadelphia defensive front.

Patrick Mahomes completed 24 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns — plus a costly red-zone interception in the second quarter. While these are far from the ungodly stats we have seen him collect during his career, most of the issues weren’t his fault.

Two red-zone turnovers — Mahomes’ interception and a fourth-quarter fumble from Kelce— loomed large in the loss. Both added to Kansas City’s offensive issues — and took points off the board.

But turnovers weren’t the only problem. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass — on what might have been the best ball Mahomes threw all day.

The Chiefs have talent on offense — but self-inflicted wounds (and inconsistency) doomed them in this matchup against the best the league has to offer.

Offensive Player of the Game: Isiah Pacheco

Kansas City’s running game was on point all evening — and Pacheco delivered punishment at the end of every run. His 24-yard rip emphasized his explosive running style — but he was also able to follow blocks and find tough yards. Right now, the team’s offense is as bad as we have seen it under head coach Andy Reid and Mahomes. The team should lean more into Pacheco’s physicality.

Defense (Nate Christensen)

If you told me that the Chiefs’ defense would hold Jalen Hurts to 150 passing yards (and hold A.J. Brown to eight receiving yards) while collecting five sacks, I would’ve told you that Kansas City would win. So Monday’s loss wasn’t the result of a poor defensive performance.

It started up front. Defensive tackle Chris Jones had a dominant game, recording two sacks and four tackles-for-loss. Meanwhile, cornerback Trent McDuffie had what might have been the best game of his career, recording two sacks against Hurts. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had an excellent game plan to attack the Eagles' pass protection, using blitzes and simulated pressures to beat an offense that can struggle to handle different pressure looks.

In coverage, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed traveled with Brown, turning him into a non-factor. Until Devonta Smith’s deep catch down the sideline that set up the Eagles’ go-ahead score, the secondary limited vertical passes. Linebacker Drue Tranquill made a couple of clutch tackles as well.

The only real defensive concern was stopping the run. Running back D’Andre Swift had 76 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He was simply given too much space with which to work.

But aside from that, the defensive performance was good enough for a victory. If you had any concerns about whether the Kansas City defense could stop high-powered offenses, their performances against the Miami Dolphins and the Eagles in these last two games should put them to rest.

Defensive Player of the Game: Trent McDuffie

Unfortunately, this loss will overshadow McDuffie’s performance. When he was blitzing, Philadelphia could not block him. McDuffie also made a couple of huge plays on screens — including drifting off his blitz to deflect a pass. McDuffie should be a first-team All-Pro in 2023. There are few (if any) corners who can match his ability to defend the run, blitz and play in multiple spots. He is a special, special player.

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