Beating the Kansas City Chiefs has been a tall task for NFL teams ever since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback in 2018. It takes clean execution, aggressiveness, and a little bit of luck to take down the Chiefs these days, and the Philadelphia Eagles went 0-3 in that regard on Sunday because rookie head coach Nick Sirianni inexcusably broke the cardinal rule of going up against the league’s most dangerous offense.
Eagles fall to 1-3 after embarrassing loss to Chiefs
The Eagles got their 2021-22 NFL season off to a rousing start with a 32-6 demolition of the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. Jalen Hurts looked crisp, Sirianni’s offense ran smoother than expected, and the defense was a brick wall in the encouraging win.
But it’s only gone downhill from there.
Philadelphia followed its Week 1 victory with two straight losses, including a 41-21 shellacking at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. And in Week 4, the Chiefs didn’t take it easy on the Eagles in a 42-30 win.
Hurts was impressive in the loss, as the second-year quarterback went 32-48 passing for 387 yards and two touchdowns, but the defense let up 471 total yards and didn’t force a single punt all game. Mahomes cruised to 278 yards and five touchdowns through the air, and Tyreek Hill diced up Philly’s secondary for 186 yards and three scores.
But even though the Chiefs had their way on offense and put up 42 points in the game, the Eagles still scored 30 themselves, and it could’ve been more if not for Sirianni’s puzzlingly conservative decision-making.
Nick Sirianni broke the cardinal rule for playing against the Chiefs
There’s one rule every NFL head coach needs to follow when they go up against this mighty Chiefs offense: You aren’t going to beat Kansas City with field goals.
That’s exactly what Sirianni tried to do on Sunday, and it backfired on him in a big way.
On the first drive of the game, Philadelphia got all the way down to the 11-yard line before facing a fourth-and-3. Sirianni opted for a short field goal instead of keeping the offense on the field, and the Chiefs went right down and scored to make it 7-3.
In the second quarter, with the Eagles trailing 14-10, Sirianni elected for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the seven-yard line. The Chiefs scored another touchdown on the ensuing drive right before the half.
What’s odd about Sirianni’s game plan is that he went for it on fourth-and-short from Kansas City’s 20-yard line in the first quarter and converted. The Eagles finished that drive with a touchdown. He also went for it on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter, and Zach Ertz scored a touchdown that was called back after a questionable offensive pass interference call.
The decision-making from the first-year head coach has been all over the place this season, and he learned the hard way three points at a time isn’t going to beat an offense like the Chiefs’.
Is Sirianni in over his head?
Some NFL coordinators are able to make the jump to head coach and thrive right away in their new role, whereas others are just meant to coach one side of the ball. It’s already evident through four weeks that Sirianni might not be suited to run his own team, and the Eagles’ 1-3 start reflects that.
Play-calling and crunch time decision-making have been disastrous for Sirianni in the last few weeks. It all started with the knockoff “Philly Special” call on fourth-and-goal against the 49ers in Week 2. Against the Cowboys the following week, Sirianni called a mind-boggling two run plays for lead running back Miles Sanders. Opting for short field goals against the Chiefs on Sunday was just another failure on his part.
Philadelphia is an undisciplined, poorly coached team in 2021, and it’s only gotten worse in the last few weeks. Sirianni better start focusing more on his decision-making and cleaning up mistakes than which gimmicky T-shirt he’s going to wear on the practice field every day.