How to save a touchdown, by Eric Murray

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz couldn’t hang on to a pass in front of Chiefs safety Eric Murray in Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz couldn’t hang on to a pass in front of Chiefs safety Eric Murray in Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Sunday was going to be an eventful day for Chiefs safety Eric Murray no matter how the ball bounced.

With Eric Berry sidelined because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, Murray, a second-year pro, was poised for a playing time boost.

Murray reacted with a team-high six solo tackles, including what might have been the biggest takedown of the game for the Chiefs.

The Eagles had the ball on their 25 with 17 seconds remaining before halftime and trailing 6-3. Take a knee, right?

But after an 11-yard run by Darren Sproles, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took a shot and fired a deep pass down the left sideline. The ball to tight end Zach Ertz was overthrown and headed directly toward Chiefs cornerback Terrance Mitchell.

But Mitchell appeared to lose focus. The ball bounced off his arm and into the hands of Ertz, who continued down the sideline.

Ertz had reached the 11 when Murray tackled him from behind, saving a touchdown.

“Without the tip it’s an incomplete pass,” Murray said. “But he was in the right place at the right time.”

Mitchell looked stunned. Murray knew he had to keep chugging.

“At that point, I’m already behind,” he said. “So, on a play that seemingly looks like it’s over, it’s not over. You’ve got to keep going. I just chased him and did my best to get him down so we could keep playing.”

The play started with 12 seconds on the clock, and the Eagles got a timeout with two ticks left before halftime with the ball in short field-goal range. Plus, Philadephia would get the ball to open the second half. With a fortunate bounce the game’s momentum was the Eagles’ to take.

Kicker Jake Elliott pushed through his 30-yard field goal, but the Chiefs had taken a timeout just before the snap.

On the next leg swing, Elliott left the kick wide right. Murray was thrilled.

“It worked out,” Murray said. “I felt amazing after that. In your mind, it just kind of nullifies and it’s on to the next.”

Murray, who also was credited with two passes defended, said he was ready to take on a bigger role this week, and for as long as needed.

“It’s a big loss,” Murray said of Berry. “I just wanted to talk to my teammates as much as possible so I can be comfortable with them, and that they could be comfortable with me.” 

Chris Jones had three sacks and an interception in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 17, 2017.

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff