Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Chiefs (Super Bowl LVII)
The Philadelphia Eagles became just the second team in Super Bowl history to lose after leading at the half by ten or more points. The Chiefs offense made adjustments at halftime and the Eagles defense did not leading to a 38-35 loss by the birds.
Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts had a great game and became the first quarterback in Super Bowl History to rush for three touchdowns. He also added a passing touchdown.
The Eagles defense led the league in sacks but failed to register one on Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. They also failed to come up with a stop on any possession in the second half. The Chiefs had the ball four times and scored three touchdowns plus the game-winning field goal with 11 seconds remaining.
The Eagles entered the game as the favorite to win it. They close out an otherwise spectacular season with a loss.
Here is the final edition of Grayson's Grades for the 2022 season:
Jalen Hurts - Hurts played great in his first career Super Bowl appearance. He is the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to rush for three touchdowns. Hurts looked poised and ran the ball well. He also threw it great and connected on some big deep balls. Hurts did have one crucial mistake when he looked to run and the ball slipped out of his hands. It was recovered by the Chiefs and run in for a score. He did not panic and rebounded to lead the Eagles on a 12-play 75 yard drive for a touchdown. Hurts completed 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown. He also carried it 15 times for 70 yards and three touchdowns.
DeVonta Smith - Smith had a huge catch in a clutch moment in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were trying to drive the field for a game-tying touchdown. He caught a deep pass and went out of bounds at the one yard line. Smith capped off a great season with seven receptions for 100 yards.
AJ Brown - Brown was a huge addition to this roster in the offseason. He had the ability to run over the middle as well as stretch the field vertically. Brown did a phenomenal job on a deep ball in the first half to track it in double coverage and adjust his route to pull it in for a touchdown. It was a 42 yard strike and gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead. Brown caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert had a solid performance in a game where he was overshadowed by the attention given to the other tight end on the Chiefs, Travis Kelce. Goedert made some critical catches at key times to help move the chains. He was exactly what the Eagles needed him to be over the middle catching six passes for 60 yards.
Offensive Line - The Eagles offensive line did not have a great game, but played well enough. They allowed some pressures and struggled to block in the running game for anyone other than Jalen Hurts. That said, they did give Hurts time on deep passes to look downfield and connect with his receivers. They also were excellent once again in short yardage situations to move the chains at a high rate. The running game was expected to be more successful. Yes, Jalen Hurts rushed for 70 yards. However, the Running Backs carried it a combined total of 17 times for just 45 yards.
Haason Reddick - Reddick did not look quite as explosive off the line of scrimmage. That was likely due to the poor footing on the field. He failed to be the factor he was throughout the rest of the season and the playoffs. Even with the poor footing, he did manage to get into the backfield a couple of times registering two quarterback hits. He also added one tackle in the game.
CJ Gardner-Johnson - Gardner-Johnson seemed to be one of the few Eagles defenders flying around the field. He was throwing his weight around and laid out some Chiefs players with some big hits. He even knocked Chiefs Running Back Isaiah Pacheco out of the game for a play or two with a great hit. Gardner-Johnson finished the game with four tackles.
Nick Sirianni - Sirianni is just the second Head Coach in Super Bowl history to lose after leading by double digits at the half. I thought he did a great job of managing his team in this game and managing the game situations with one exception. I did not like burning a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty in the second half. Those timeouts are so valuable and really play a deciding factor late in the game that they need to be valued more strongly in the second half. The other area I want to criticize was his lack of pressure on Jonathan Gannon to do something different when it was clear the Chiefs had made valuable adjustments out of halftime. Sirianni led this team to a ten point lead at the half and a six point lead going into the fourth-quarter of a Super Bowl. He just failed to close it out. Should the Eagles get back to the Super Bowl in his tenure, it will be interesting to see what lessons Sirianni learned from this experience.
Miles Sanders - This was likely Sanders last game in an Eagles uniform. His contract is up and it is not expected that the Eagles will re-sign him. Sanders was highly ineffective after a great season. He failed to break free on any of his runs and nearly had a fumble returned for a touchdown. It was eventually ruled an incomplete pass. Sanders averaged 2.3 yards per carry. He rushed seven times for 16 yards.
Defensive Line - The defensive line was explosive and dominating all season, but that was not the case in this game. They failed to get very much pressure on Patrick Mahomes, even after he suffered another injury to his sore ankle just before halftime. Was the poor footing partially to blame? Perhaps. It is mind boggling how this group of players who were so good at blowing up plays, failed to do that in their biggest game of the season.
Jonathan Gannon - Gannon was taken to school by Andy Reid and the Chiefs. The Eagles defense had a decent first half and went into halftime feeling pretty good with a ten point lead. While Reid and the Chiefs used the extended halftime to make adjustments, it is clear the Eagles did not. Gannon did not seem to adjust to anything the Chiefs were doing. They continued to play in zones that Mahomes and company kept picking apart and moving the ball down the field. There was no clear attempt to find alternative ways to get pressure on Mahomes. It was a failure to allow a ten point halftime cushion and six point lead after three quarters to evaporate and turn into a loss in the Super Bowl.
Grounds Crew - It was unbelievable to me that the NFL would have its biggest game played on such a horrible surface. Players from both teams complained about the poor footing afterwards. There were plenty of examples of both Eagles and Chiefs players slipping on the field. It was new sod planted two weeks ago that was not firm. Like playing on snow, it can be a neutralizer when you are gently planting your feet and lacking the explosion out of breaks or off the line of scrimmage you are used to having. I believe it dramatically affected the Eagles pass rush as well as the offensive line's ability to push off the line of scrimmage and help open holes in the ground game.