PHILADELPHIA — Andy Reid said he ignored the hype surrounding his return to his old stomping grounds of 14 years. He couldn’t ignore the way his Kansas City defense stomped the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Chiefs (3-0) surpassed their win total of last season with a dynamic defensive effort, including five takeaways and five sacks of Michael Vick in a 26-16 victory Thursday night.
Here’s five reasons why they did so.
1. THE HOMECOMING: Even if Reid wasn’t playing into the homecoming scenario, his players understood how important a win at Lincoln Financial Field would be to the former Eagles coach. Reid was fired after Philly went 4-12 last season, and he turned up as Kansas City’s head man a few days later.
“Fourteen years is 14 years. That’s a long time for a chubby old guy,” he joked.
Reid hid his emotions well. The guys on the field didn’t see the need to follow suit.
“He brings fire, emotion, energy,” Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe said. “He just wants us to be a family and play together, and that’s what guys are doing.”
One of those guys, Donnie Avery, capped the win by giving Reid a Gatorade shower. Avery had a huge night with seven receptions for 141 yards.
2. BIG PLAY ‘D’: Linebacker Justin Houston was unstoppable for a Philadelphia offense that struggled up front to protect Vick. He had 3½ sacks, giving him 6½ for the year, was in on seven tackles, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles.
“The defense, man — the DBs, the linebackers giving great coverage, the big guys in the middle pushing the pocket,” he said. “When they’re doing that, it’s real easy for me to do my job.”
Eric Berry returned an interception 38 yards for a score in the first quarter. Sean Smith also had a pick, Derrick Johnson had eight tackles and a half-sack, and Tambi Hali had a sack.
Vick blamed himself, not his leaky line, for the Eagles’ second loss in three games.
“I take full responsibility. I didn’t get the offense going. I didn’t get the tempo going,” Vick said. “We didn’t play well by any stretch. We didn’t execute at all and we didn’t play the way we’re capable of.”
3. BIG PLAY ‘O’: Avery caught every pass thrown his way and had receptions of 51, 23, 26 and a pair of 15-yarders. He was most dangerous on crossing patterns, using his speed — and several good blocks — for long gains.
Running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 92 yards and caught seven passes for 80 yards. He had gains of 17, 18, 19 and 11 yards.
4. SPECIAL SPECIAL TEAMS: Dustin Colquitt’s first punt was muffed by Damaris Johnson, setting up the first of Ryan Succop’s four field goals. Succop hit from 33, 31, 34 and 38 yards.
Kansas City also got a 57-yard return of the opening kickoff by Quintin Demps, while Colquitt outpounted Philadelphia’s Donnie Jones.
5. SLOPPY EAGLES: Philadelphia has displayed an inability to make tackles, notably in the open field, and Avery especially took advantage of that. On offense, Vick was off and that affected the rest of the Eagles, although LeSean McCoy came through in the second half with a 41-yard TD run and finished with 158 yards on 20 carries.
Worst of all was the lack of blocking, and the giveaways. Vick was harried most of the night, particularly by Houston, and he even rolled his ankle in the final minutes.
Vick hadn’t been intercepted before Thursday night and Philadelphia had been protective of the ball. Not this time.
“Five turnovers, that is a tough thing in this league,” Reid said. “If you want points, you don’t want to turn the ball over. We were lucky to have five of those.”
Vick blamed his own second-guessing on several plays.
“I had the right decision that I was going to make in my mind,” he said. “It was the correct decision and then I tried to do something else out of the box, and it didn’t work out.”