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Super Bowl Observations
Or I could say the Eagles defense was good, but not elite. But it’s not especially predictive if every time the team with the better defense loses, you declare them non-elite, and every time they cover, they’re elite. Then it just becomes: if the defense is good, and they cover, they’re elite, but if the defense is good, and they don’t cover, they’re not elite.
Since you don’t know if they’ll cover in advance, the rule becomes: if they cover, they’re elite, so you should bet on them to cover, but if they don’t cover that means they weren’t elite, so you shouldn’t have bet on them to cover. You can further reduce that to: if they cover, you should bet on them, but if they don’t, you should not. Very helpful advice!
Honestly, I still think elite defenses will usually outperform the spread in the Super Bowl, but unless the defense is obviously elite ahead of time (you can’t use the Super Bowl to confirm it) you should probably ignore the rule.
The Chiefs offensive line did a good job giving Patrick Mahomes time, and when that happens there’s not much any defense can do. The Eagles vaunted pass rush (70 sacks) got a little pressure, but not enough and not consistently. (I saw some commentary on Twitter blaming slippery field conditions, so maybe that was part of it too.) Credit is also due to Andy Reid who schemed wide open players — Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney walked in on their short TDs.
The Eagles offense was good but for the Jalen Hurts fumble-six. It came after a false start penalty that took them out of 3rd-and-inches and a would-be cinch QB sneak too. I actually thought Miles Sanders caught that ball on the second would-be fumble six, so in one way they were unlucky, but it could have been worse.
Nick Siriani made a couple errors. I didn’t like the clock management at the end of the first half. They had 55 seconds and two timeouts, but ran a sneak on 3rd-and-1 at the KC 48 and let the clock run down to 35 seconds before the next snap. Use the timeouts earlier, preserve the time. You can always call plays to conserve, but you can’t get the time back. They settled for a field goal only because they ran out of time.
But the bigger error was the punt on 4th-and-3 from their own 32 that former Giant Toney nearly took to the house. Of course, Siriani couldn’t know Toney would make that kind of play, but the Chiefs were unstoppable in the second half, so field position mattered much less than retaining possession and having a chance to score. I know going on 4th-and-3 in your own end is verboten, but it felt like a mistake to give the ball back before the Toney return.
Of course, I have to talk about the holding penalty that effectively ended the game. I didn’t look at it in much detail, but James Bradberry grabbed Juju Smith-Schuster, and in a normal game situation, no one would complain much. It’s just that it wasn’t a normal game situation. It was the farthest thing from it because it (and not an exciting two-minute drill for all the marbles — what every fan in the world wants to see in a Super Bowl) decided the outcome.
What can you say?