The offense was a catastrophe.
That may be putting it too nicely.
Only one of their first seven drives went for more than 13 yards. They allowed sacks on five of their first 12 pass plays. They gained negative-13 yards on their first six third downs. They had 20 net passing yards before halftime and 58 net passing yards on their first nine possessions.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Philadelphia sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
During one stretch over the second and third quarters, the Eagles managed all of 18 yards on five drives. The Eagles’ offense couldn’t do anything right Monday night. Until it couldn’t do anything wrong.
“I don’t think there was necessarily a huge adjustment in the game,” Jalen Hurts said after the Eagles rallied from 10 points down for a 21-17 win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead. “I don’t think we played clean tonight. I don’t think we played to our standard. I think the thing that you can’t quantify is the resilience that a team has and the ability to persevere and see through things and overcome things. This team has that.
“We have yet to put up a performance to our standard, but we’re continuing to find ways to win. When you win games like we’ve won games, it builds a ton of character. We’re in character-development mode with the games we’ve played and how we’ve won, and it will only serve us great things in the future.”
It was that perseverance that led to an improbable comeback that saw the Eagles outscore the Chiefs 14-0 in the second half after trailing 17-7 halfway through the third quarter.
“We played really good at the end of the game,” Jason Kelce said. “I really think we play smart football at the end of games. That’s when we play our best, and that’s a big reason why we have closed out a lot of close games. Would love to figure out and stop making some of these games so close.
“We’re a team that has been through a lot. This offense has been through a lot of things. We know most of the time that things aren’t going our way, it’s self-inflicted. If we just start clicking and keep pushing and trying to do our job a little bit better, eventually we’ll start making some plays happen.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Out of the chaos and ineptitude came a 61-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter and then an 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, and just like that the Eagles had themselves a 21-17 win over the Super Bowl champs.
After some shaky play calling, uncharacteristic pass protection issues, a turnover and failed third down after failed third down, the Eagles finally got in gear when they had to and won a game that for most of its 184 minutes looked unwinnable.
The Eagles won Monday night despite 238 yards of offense, despite just 16 first downs, despite allowing five sacks, despite 124 net passing yards.
Last time the Eagles won a game while allowing five sacks and netting fewer than 240 yards?
That would be never.
There’s something special about this team, and the Eagles showed the entire country Monday night, becoming the first visiting team in seven years to win a game at Arrowhead after trailing by double digits at halftime.
The last to do it was the 2016 Titans, quarterbacked by Marcus Mariota.
What woke up the Eagles’ offense?
It was a number of things. They calmed down. They stopped making mistakes. Their offensive line began wearing down the Chiefs’ defensive line. Brian Johnson stopped calling those pointless horizontal pass plays. They just started making plays instead of missing them.
“We just know it was never about them, it was always us,” said DeVonta Smith, who had a game-high 99 yards. “Everything that was going wrong, it was us. It was us not communicating, not being on the same page and things like that. It had nothing to do with them.”
And after being stuck on seven points most of the night, the Eagles finally started looking like a functional offense when it was almost too late.
Late in the third quarter, a 26-yard Britain Covey punt return gave the Eagles a short field and a 35-yard D’Andre Swift run got the offense inside the Chiefs’ 20. Three plays later, Hurts ran 10 yards for a TD that made it 17-14.
And then in the fourth quarter, a 20-yard catch-and-run by Swift and Hurts’ 41-yarder to DeVonta Smith to the 1 set up another Hurts TD and gave the Eagles their first lead.
Of the Eagles’ 238 net yards, 141 came on those two 2nd-half touchdown drives.
“Obviously, a standard is a standard and you want to play to a high standard all the time, but things happen,” Hurts said. “Turnovers happen, the negative plays happen, sacks happen, giving up big plays defensively happens but it’s about never getting too high or too low. I think that’s just the character and the identity of this team right now. “I think we’re still building and learning. We have a ton to improve on. We’re truly taking it one week at a time, one game at a time, one rep at a time in practice. There’s a ton of opportunity out there for us, we just have to continue to have that growth mindset that we have and continue to get better.”