Super Bowl 57 was Super Bowl 52 without the strip sack. That’s been my main takeaway from the KC loss. We just needed someone, anyone on the Eagles’ defense to make a play, and it didn’t happen. Sure, we can blame Jonathan Gannon all we want, and should, but the bottom line is that the players rose to the occasion all year long and came up small on the biggest stage.
Beyond that, it’s also true that Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo got completely cooked in Super Bowl 57. His unit gave up 35 points and 417 yards, so if the Eagles came out on top, he would have faced the same backlash in KC that Gannon did here. He would have gotten absolutely crushed.
Ultimately, in Super Bowls 57 and 52, there were four defensive units out there, and all four of them were pretty bad. It shouldn’t absolve Gannon or his unit from the debacle of two Sundays ago, but when we look back at these games, the overarching story should be the incredible offensive performances put on by generational talents Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, possibly-generational talent Jalen Hurts, and Nick Foles on the biggest fucking heater we’ve ever seen.
Look at what each defensive coordinator’s unit did in these games:
- Jim Schwartz: 33 points against, 613 yards allowed, 50% opponent third down rate, 1 takeaway, 11 drives faced, 8.5 yards per play, opponent 1-2 on fourth down
- Matt Patricia: 41 points against, 538 yards allowed, 62.5% opponent third down rate, 1 takeaway, 10 drives faced, 7.6 yards per play, opponent 2-2 on fourth down
- Jonathan Gannon: 31 points against, 340 yards allowed, 50% opponent third down rate, 0 takeaways, 9 drives faced, 6.4 yards per play, opponent N/A on fourth down
- Spags: 35 points against, 417 yards allowed, 61.1% opponent third down rate, 1 takeaway, 8 drives faced, 5.8 yards per play, opponent 2-2 on fourth down
Gannon’s defense was the only unit without a takeaway.
In Super Bowl 57, the Jalen Hurts fumble and KC defensive score obviously threw things out of whack, so added context is important. Gannon’s defense only gave up seven first half points, but was also only on the field for about eight minutes, which resulted in a 24:13 time of possession number by the end of the game. KC had eight offensive drives and the Eagles had nine. Schwartz’s defense was on the field for 25:56 and faced 11 drives, including the final Hail Mary toss at the end of the game, so ultimately Gannon’s defense allowed more points-per-drive, if you wanted to break it up that way instead.
The damning thing is that Gannon’s unit couldn’t get a stop in the second half. We can throw him a bone for the shitty punt return and short field, but Schwartz’s unit allowed three-straight second-half touchdowns before the strip sack. The second half of each game played out almost identically for the Eagles, with the only difference being the takeaway. Similarly, Patricia’s defense allowed four scores on four second half possessions, though the last one was a short field that followed the strip sack.
Ultimately, we find ourselves in the familiar territory of “more than one thing can be true.” The Eagles got cooked in Super Bowl 57. But so did Spags, and so did Jim Schwartz and Matt Patricia in Super Bowl 52. These were four disappointing defensive performances against admittedly incredible offensive units, headlined by at least two generational coach and quarterback combinations.
Not sure if that makes anybody feel better, but yeah.