PHOENIX, ARIZONA – During our week at Radio Row at the Phoenix Convention Center leading up to Super Bowl LVII, all we heard from our guests was how the Philadelphia Eagles ticked all the boxes in their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs except in two critical areas – quarterback and head coach.
It was prophetic, as in the end, it was Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid who were the difference makers as the Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35 to win football’s biggest prize on Sunday.
It was NBC Sports NFL Analyst Chris Simms who played the role of Nostradamus for us during his Friday visit on the Northwest Tank Lines Super Bowl show.
“This is one of the best pass-protecting lines in football. Andy Reid is an ex-offensive line coach. I have a hard time thinking the Eagles are just going to run over Creed Humphrey, Orlando Brown and company and get to Mahomes a whole lot. The Eagles may be better in totality but this is a match-up league and the Chiefs pose a real match-up problem for the Eagles,” stated Simms.
The Eagles entered the Super Bowl having recorded 70 sacks during their 17-game regular season.
That was the third highest total of all-time and only two behind the all-time record of 72 that is held by the 1984 Chicago Bears, who did it in 16 games.
The Eagles had ZERO sacks in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs offensive game plan constructed by Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was Master’s Thesis type stuff.
If you want to beat a great defense, you have to create doubt prior to the snap.
The formula is simple – if you make a defence ‘think’ then they can’t play with aggression and confidence.
Again, Simms nailed it.
“The Eagles struggle with pre-snap motion. When motion occurs, they get into a totally different defense which takes communication and movement. I showed some plays on social media where they were still talking to each other as the ball is being snapped,” explained Simms.
The Chiefs game plan of causing confusion by utilizing pre-snap motion worked wonderfully as all four of their offensive touchdowns used motion.
The majors by Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore were works of art.
In both cases, the Chiefs receivers ran ‘whip routes’ – pretending to run a crossing pattern inside only to plant and run outside – leaving them wide open for touchdowns as the Eagles scrambled to adjust their coverage.
It was a great example of making halftime adjustments by Reid and the Chiefs, who scored on every drive in the second half en route to outscoring the Eagles 24-11 in the last 30 minutes of play.
While you have to give credit to the Chiefs for their amazing performance on offense, you still have to point out that they did get a little help.
A controversial holding call on Eagles cornerback James Bradbury late in the fourth quarter had a major impact on the game.
Instead of the Eagles getting the ball back in a tie game with just under two minutes remaining, the penalty on third and eight allowed the Chiefs to continue the drive which eventually saw them kick the game-winning field goal.
Simply put, it was a horrible call as Bradbury’s slight tug on the back of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s jersey did not impede the Chiefs receiver in running his route. To add insult to injury, it was a non-catchable ball.
The final piece of evidence that it wasn’t a blatant penalty is Smith-Schuster’s reaction after the play.
Receivers are always pleading their case to officials after a play when a possible infraction occurs.
After the throw sails over his head, he turns around dejectedly and starts to walk back to the huddle.
I know Bradbury took responsibility for the penalty after the game but you could probably throw five flags every play if you were to follow the letter of the law.
My colleague Farhan Lalji of TSN was adamant that it was a hold — and that if it was a penalty in October, it should have been a penalty in the Super Bowl — obviously not buying any of the ‘let them play’ mantra.
Sorry Farhan but it was another example of the Chiefs being benefactors of inconsistent officiating in the playoffs.
If that theory held water, the Chiefs wouldn’t have even made it to Phoenix.
In the AFC Championship game, the Chiefs got away with a blatant block in the back on the 29-yard punt return by Moore prior to Mahomes’ dramatic scramble which got them into field goal position after a Bengals penalty.
While Joseph Ossai did deserve the unnecessary roughness penalty on that Mahomes scramble, you can go back and watch the very same play and see that the Chiefs got away with at least one holding penalty on the offensive line, possibly two.
Another of our Radio Row guests wasn’t on board with the call either.
“Hey refs. You can’t call that there. Okay? It’s not about you. Now was there a hold? I guess. If you stop and go frame by frame, he had his hands on him, but nonetheless, at that stage?” tweeted former NFL punter Pat McAfee.
The Chiefs came up with a great performance in en epic game.
Too bad there will always be a ‘yeah, but’ that will be associated with it.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.