Drop-prone Chiefs get shut out in second half for third straight time

Eagles Chiefs Football
Photo credit AP News/Charlie Riedel

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have scored an NFL-worst 53 points in the second half of games this season, which equates to just over five per game, and they sure could have used that measly total against the Eagles on Monday night.

Instead, they got none.

The Chiefs were shut out in the second half for the third consecutive game, this time by Philadelphia in their highly anticipated Super Bowl rematch, allowing Jalen Hurts and Co. to rally from a 10-point deficit for a 21-17 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Whether it was penalties, red-zone turnovers or two dropped passes in the closing minutes, the Chiefs (7-3) made the kind of mistakes on offense that have been rare since Andy Reid — who had never lost in four tries against his former team — took over as their coach in 2013 and Patrick Mahomes began his prolific career as their starting quarterback in 2018.

“All season long,” Mahomes said, “we haven't played good football in the second half. We've got to continue to work. Obviously, we had a pretty good first half running the football, but we've got to find ways to finish games offensively.”

Mahomes was held to 177 yards with two touchdowns and a pick in the end zone. Travis Kelce was his top target, catching seven passes for 44 yards and a score, but he likewise turned the ball over in the red zone with a fourth-quarter fumble.

“Just not playing up to the level I have in the past," Kelce said afterward. "I’ve got to be better.”

Had he held onto the ball, the Chiefs could have turned a 17-14 lead into a two-possession game. Instead, the Eagles went 80 yards the other way, and Hurts tush-pushed his way for the go-ahead touchdown with about six minutes to go.

After the teams traded punts, the Chiefs had one last chance with the ball at their own 9-yard line and 2:49 left. But while that would have been plenty of time in past years, but it seemed no amount would have done them any good Monday night.

Their final series began with a fourth-down conversion, and a roughing-the-passer penalty pushed them near midfield. But then came the letdown: Mahomes had a perfectly-thrown ball to Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a would-be 51-yard touchdown go right through the wide receiver's hands. Then, after Mahomes was called for intentional grounding, he threw one last incompletion on a ball that Justin Watson could have caught that would have kept the Chiefs alive with a first down.

Instead, the Eagles ran out the clock.

“The game certainly doesn’t come down to one play. As much as anybody wants to say that, it doesn’t,” Watson said. "I’ve seen Marquez make that play 99 times out of a hundred times. That was just one that he didn’t. And he’s a phenomenal player and he’ll make that for us next week or next time it’s called upon.”

The final drive was a microcosm of the way the second half went for Kansas City, which had led 17-7 at the break. Its first drive was derailed by a holding penalty on Donovan Smith, its second drive on a false start on Jawaan Taylor and the third nearly was nearly sent off track by a holding call on Kelce, who fumbled the ball away later in the drive anyway.

Standout center Creed Humphrey was also called for a false start that led to another punt later in the fourth quarter.

The result of the red-zone turnovers, the seven penalties for 55 yards and the dropped passes and missed assignments was the Chiefs' second loss in their last three games, one that knocked them from their perch atop the AFC.

“Offensively we're just not where I want to be at his point in the season,” Mahomes said. “It starts with me. I have to make better throws at certain times. We have to continue to move the ball downfield and just be more consistent throughout the game.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: AP News/Charlie Riedel