For all the talk about Philadelphia’s innovative, up-tempo offense, it turns out it can be slowed down by the same plague that ruins any good attack — turnovers.
Thanks to an aggressive, opportunistic defense and a little help from the Eagles, the Chiefs used four first-half turnovers to hold Philadelphia to a season-low six points before halftime in a 26-16 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Entering the game, the Eagles’ previous season-low point total in a half had been seven, followed by 10, 20 and 26. However, it didn’t take long for the Chiefs to start taking the ball away Thursday.
After the Chiefs were stopped on their first drive, Eagles receiver Damaris Johnson coughed up the ensuing punt, which was recovered by running back Cyrus Gray.
The Chiefs scored four plays later, courtesy of a 33-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, but they were really just getting started. On the Eagles’ third play of the game, safety Eric Berry hauled in a pass that was tipped by linebacker Derrick Johnson and proceeded to return it 38 yards for a touchdown that put the Chiefs ahead 10-0.
It was the first interception of the season for Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick, who had entered the game on a bit of a tear, completing 38 of 61 passes (62 percent) for 631 yards and two touchdowns.
It would not be his last mistake of the half, though it came after Philadelphia had a promising drive end late in the first quarter when center Jason Kelce — who was trying to snap the ball to Vick in the shotgun — somehow snapped it off right guard Todd Herremans’ arm.
The fumble was recovered by defensive end Justin Houston, and while the Chiefs came up empty on that drive, they didn’t after they received one final gift from the Eagles in the first half. That one came courtesy of cornerback Sean Smith, who had the coverage on receiver Riley Cooper and picked off his first pass of the season.
The Chiefs proceeded to mount a drive that ended with a 34-yard field goal by Succop that gave them a 16-6 lead they took into the break.
The Eagles’ four turnovers in the half doubled the total amount of turnovers they had in their first two games combined. They fumbled twice in a 33-27 win over Washington but had zero turnovers in a 33-30 loss to San Diego. The Eagles turned it over one more time after halftime, finishing the game with five.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been opportunistic this season. Philly’s four-turnover first half brought the Chiefs’ turnover margin for the season to plus-eight. Interestingly, their turnover margin of minus-24 last season was put them in a tie for last in the league with — surprise, surprise — Philadelphia.