Good God, what a gut punch that was. To have it come all the way down to the wire, then a cheap call from the refs ends up deciding the Super Bowl.

We’ll talk about the James Bradberry “holding” call from now until the end of time, but let it be known that nobody on the defense made a single play all night long. The KC defensive touchdown and Eagles special teams punt return fuck up ended up being backbreaking moments as well. The Birds overall played well enough to win for long stretches of the game, but just didn’t get the job done when it really mattered.

The takeaways:


1) The Tomahawk Chop got old before the game even started.

2) Crowd sounded GREAT on television. By estimate, it seemed like 65/35 or 60/40 in favor of Eagles fans.

3) Regardless of the coin flip outcome, the Eagles getting the ball first was preferable going into this game. The Birds were excellent all year long on opening drives. Plus, with offenses scripting their first drive and usually building good momentum out of the gate, it was a positive thing to make Mahomes and wait.

4) Miles Sanders missed a hole on the first play of the game after initially bouncing it to the outside and keeping the run alive. Thought that might foretell something negative, but it did not. They converted on 3rd and 5 and continued the opening drive with a rugby scrum middle/double cheek push touchdown. 11 plays, 75 yards, 4:51 off the clock. Just a brilliant start with DeVonta Smith grabbing three passes for 41 yards and Jalen Hurts moving the chains with his feet.

5) Best play of the opening drive was the Boston Scott run inside the red zone. Look at the ridiculous push the offensive line got:

6) The Eagles defense hadn’t been amazing on the opening drive all season long, so that response from KC wasn’t surprising. The annoying thing is that they made it look easy. T.J. Edwards look lost, and the Birds ended up with Marcus Epps 1v1 against Travis Kelce. There was a stumble and next thing you know, Kelce was walking into the end zone.

7) Darius Slay was initially on Kelce on that play. The Eagles were in single-high safety, KC motioned Kelce inside, Epps stepped up to take him, and then there was a post route from Marquez Valdes-Scantling to hold Chauncey Gardner-Johnson:

8) The Zach Pascal penalty to open the 2nd drive was a killer. They got nothing on the ensuing play and were stuck in 2nd and 19, then 3rd and 14, then found themselves punting. Chiefs got the ball back only two minutes after scoring.

9) We got a bend-but-don’t-break on the second KC drive. Eagles D did a good job limiting that trick play over to Jerick McKinnon, then Haason Reddick disrupted that roll out and Mahomes was falling forward while looking for Jody Fortson, who had already slipped and was sitting on his rear end. It seemed like a lot of dudes were losing their footing in the first half and it really impacted the pass rush for both teams.

10) SINGLE DOINK. Thud! What a sound man, you could hear that from Arizona, to Philly, all the way up to the balloon flying over Lake Huron. Huge momentum shift right there after the Chiefs opened that drive with some slice and dice.

11) Huge bonehead play from Frank Clark on 3rd and 5. It looked like he was trying to time his jump with the play clock running out, and he just went early, handing the Birds a first down.

12) The A.J. Brown touchdown was max protect/play action out of 12 personnel. Brown ended up with rookie Trent McDuffie on him, and the coverage was actually good. McDuffie just got turned around and couldn’t re-locate the ball.

Here’s the design, it’s a go route combined with Smitty coming late underneath:

13) Eagles got away with one on the Chiefs’ third drive. James Bradberry clearly had his hand on JuJu Smith-Schuster, which they showed from the back angle on the replay:

14) That inside screen almost went for monster yardage. Too bad they couldn’t get that off cleanly, because there were three blockers rumbling down the field:

They tried the same play in the second half and again couldn’t get it off cleanly.

15) Total backbreaker on the Hurts fumble and KC score. It actually started one play earlier, when Isaac Seumalo jumped on the rugby scrum middle right at midfield. It moved them back to 3rd and 6, they tried a designed run, and Jalen just lost it trying to switch hands. Absolutely brutal sequence with the Birds driving down the field. I can’t remember him doing anything like that all season long.

16) I loved Shane Steichen opening the drive after the fumble with the same QB run. It’s one of those things where you have confidence in your guy, so you give it right back to him. There was a similar sequence in the 2018 divisional round game, when Jay Ajayi fumbled and Doug Pederson stayed with him.

17) KC did a nice job against the zone reads. The Eagles were so much more effective with designed QB runs vs. option runs, (at least in the first half)

18) I can’t believe the Chiefs jumped on 4th and 2 near the goal line. Spags saying “what the fuck” on camera while tens of millions of people watch pretty much summed it up.

19) Look at Jason Kelce pulling here:

Easy. Motion the tail back, move the DB, and then pull the center to swallow up the linebacker. Untouched into the end zone.

20) At the first two-minute warning, the FOX sound guy pulled out some Mad Season. Talk about a DEEP cut. How many people have even heard this song? –

Guy pulled out some Widespread Panic as well. I’m just assuming it was a guy. If a chick was playing this stuff, that’s even cooler.

21) I take back every negative thing I said about Britain Covey this season.

22) Good explanation from Greg Olsen on the Smitty non-catch at the end of the first half. That’s an automatic review because there were less than two minutes on the clock. There was never going to be a situation where the Birds could get up to the line and beat KC to the challenge flag.

As for the ruling itself, I don’t know. I have no idea what is a catch and what isn’t a catch. I thought he at least maintained control even though the ball moved, but who knows?

23) The snapshot for rugby scrum middle is Chris Jones jumping over the line, grabbing Jalen Hurts around the neck, and then getting pushed back three yards anyway. Amazing. WHAT A PLAY.

24) Philly held the ball for almost 22 minutes in the first half, which is insane. Yeah, the KC scoop and score was a huge part of that, because it took an offensive possession away for them, but even then, the Birds moved the chains 17 times and the Chiefs only mustered six total first downs.

25) It’s amazing how excruciatingly long the halftime show feels when your team is in the game.

26) It was always going to be curious to see how the Chiefs opened the second half with Mahomes coming off the tweaked ankle. They ran it three-straight times before he was flushed from the pocket and somehow found Kelce while Jordan Davis was hauling him down. Haason Reddick had a sequence during that drive where he slipped and ended up getting pancaked. It just wasn’t a good possession for anybody coming out of the locker room.

27) The overturn of the Miles Sanders catch and fumble seemed pretty obvious. Didn’t take a third step or make a football move.

28) Tahoma 31 grass seems super shitty. It REALLY affected both teams negatively.

29) Quez Watkins could have made that catch.

30) We can go back later and re-litigate Nick Sirianni’s decision to save a timeout instead of preventing that delay of game. It ultimately led to Dallas Goedert snagging a ball along the sideline, the Eagles couldn’t get the next snap off because the play finished in the bench area, which resulted in the refs blowing the whistle and allowing KC to sub. That gave the KC film team enough time to review the catch and tell Andy to throw the challenge flag, only for the call to be upheld anyway.

Talk about a wild sequence, I mean holy shit. Goedert had his toe down even though he bobbled the ball initially, so he got both feet in after re-establishing possession. Cue the jokes about Andy blowing a second half timeout.

31) Bad to burn that timeout to prevent the delay of game later on the same drive. They could have kicked the field goal and kept the timeout, and instead threw short of the sticks only to kick the field goal anyway. They had a lot of funky personnel and clock issues on that drive.

32) Really needed someone, anyone on the defense to MAKE A PLAY AT ANY POINT IN THIS GAME. Instead we got Josh Sweat offside and a bunch of blown coverages. KC’s pre-snap motion in the red zone was just killing the DBs:

33) Nothing much to say about the Kadarius Toney return. Bad punt, bad coverage, just a killer.

34) On the TD that put the Chiefs up 35-27, it was the same thing as the previous score. Pre-snap fake motion, Eagles bite and get the pass off wrong, and the blitz doesn’t get home.

35) What a run from Jalen Hurts on the two-point conversion to tie it at 35. Big boy shit right there.

36) …and then Bradberry with the questionable penalty to wipe out a 3rd down stop. You can’t tell me the Super Bowl is supposed to be decided on something like THIS:

37) 0 sacks for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Not a single guy on the defense made a play all night long. That will be the story of the game.