It was the play that marked the course of Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles: an “out-and-up” by the tight end that leaves the defensive backs dizzy. Now, quarterback Patrick Mahomes faces the Eagles again, and the question is if we will see the same play again.
In an interview with “The Wichita Eagle,”Mahomes analyzes the play that led them to a 38-35 victory over Philadelphia almost six months ago. It was their first turn on offense, and they were 18 yards from the end zone.
It was a move they had made over and over again, almost always with good results. Therefore, it was obvious that the Eagles’ defense would be prepared for it.
Despite everything, during the interview, Patrcik Mahomes recalled: “We were just like, ‘We’ve got to put this play in.'”
Analyzing the Philadelphia Eagles
Mahomes and company had studied film and knew that Philadelphia tended to use two defensive formations in the red zone: man-to-man or Cover 4 Zone. It turns out that either of them was vulnerable to that particular play.
Matt Nagy, then Chiefs quarterbacks coach, recalled the analysis they did before the game. In either formation, when Travis Kelce makes the break to the sideline, he is left against only one defender. “We liked that matchup,”Nagy recalls.
Already on the field, head coach Andy Reid decided to call the play. As expected, the Eagles called man coverage, leaving Kelce alone against safety Marcus Epps.
“You can tell the DB knows we run this play a lot because when (Kelce) breaks out, that DB tries to trail to that back hip, thinking I’m gonna throw the ball,”Mahomes remembers.
However, just as they had done more than once, Kelce did not continue his route outwards but instead broke upwards, leaving Epps “seeing visions.” The tight end made the catch and entered the end zone without problems to tie the score 7-7.
Mahomes could try it again
It wasn’t the first time this combination paid off in an important game. The Chiefs had already done it in the 2022 divisional round when they beat the Buffalo Bills 42-36 to advance to the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
On Monday the 20th, the Chiefs will host the Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium, for the replay of Super Bowl LVII. Mahomes and Kelce are in top form, while Nagy is now the team’s offensive coordinator. Epps is still with the Eagles, but DK McDonald is the new defensive backs coach.
Now, the question is whether Mahomes will dare to repeat that play or if he will have a new ace up his sleeve to deliver Philadelphia another defeat.