Donnie Avery picked a great time to have one of his best games as a professional.
As the Chiefs’ running game was often bottled up and top receiver Dwayne Bowe was a largely a non-factor Thursday night at Philadelphia, it was Avery, a sixth-year pro from Houston, who repeatedly gave the Chiefs the boost they needed in a 26-16 win over the Eagles.
Avery, who is listed at 5 feet 11 and 200 pounds, had seven catches for 141 yards, eclipsing his combined total of four catches and 49 yards in the Chiefs’ first two games of the season. Bowe, however, was held without a catch until the final minutes of the game.
Bowe credited quarterback Alex Smith for repeatedly finding Avery open underneath.
“Once the other team started rolling coverage, he knew other guys were open,” Bowe said of Smith.
And rather than sulk over his own quiet night — one catch for four yards — Bowe was glad for the victory.
“I’m a vet,” he said. “I haven't had much success in this league. Now it’s all about W’s and not about numbers.”
Avery’s night included a number of big plays, including a 51-yard gain in the second quarter in which he caught a short pass over the middle and sped down the right side.
That catch helped set up a 31-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop that gave the Chiefs a 13-6 lead, but Avery wasn’t done yet, as he hauled in two more catches before halftime and finished the first half with five catches for 103 yards.
Avery ― who was targeted seven times and caught the ball each time ― continued to work the Eagles underneath, too, as he added two more catches for 38 yards in the second half, including gains of 23 and 15 yards on two crucial scoring drives.
Despite his big game, Avery fell short of his career highs in both catches and yards. He has twice hauled in nine passes in his career, with the last coming against Minnesota last September, while he once had a 163-yard effort as a rookie at New England in 2008 when he was a member of the Rams.