Eagles defense struggles in Super Bowl loss

Posted on February 14, 2023

One more win was all the Eagles needed, but sadly, Philadelphia just fell short.

On Sunday, the Birds battled the Kansas City Chiefs in Arizona. In what some have called one of the best Super Bowl games in history, Philly’s perspective is a bit jaded. Despite a 10-point lead at halftime, the Eagles lost by three points, sending themselves home empty-handed.

The biggest scene of the night was debatably a nonsense call in the fourth quarter on cornerback James Bradberry. Essentially ripping the title away from the Eagles, the penalty wasn’t to blame. But a collection of avoidable mistakes was.


With 1:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Eagles defense had to shut down Kansas City one final time. Tied 35-35, Philadelphia would have forced the Chiefs into a three-point lead, getting the ball back with enough time to clinch the win.

That was what Philly fans imagined would happen.

Instead, on third-and-8 from Philly’s 15-yard line, Patrick Mahomes threw a pass to Juju Smith-Schuster. The pass was entirely a miss, but Eagles’ cornerback James Bradberry was called for holding. Giving Kansas City an automatic first-down and allowing them to drain the clock (in a very cowardly way, in my opinion), fans immediately took to social media to express their disgust.

Following the game, referee Carl Cheffers stated, “The receiver [Smith-Schuster] went to the inside, and he was attempting to release to the outside. The defender [Bradberry] grabbed the jersey with his right hand and restricted him from releasing to the outside. So, therefore, we called defensive holding.”

Bradberry admitted to the wrongdoing. “It was a holding,” he said following the Eagles’ loss. “I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”

The holding penalty was the only one of the night. Bradberry finished with five combined tackles.


Despite the inopportune timing of Bradberry’s jersey tug, the Eagles’ defense just didn’t play well. Pretty insane for a group that shined all season.

Veteran Brandon Graham stated, “I trust them refs, man. The refs gonna make the call in the moment of the game. That one right there, that one stung a little bit, but we shouldn’t even put ourselves in that position.”

Leading the league with 78 sacks this season, the Eagles’ defense didn’t touch Patrick Mahomes once. Zero sacks, zero interceptions, and zero forced fumbles. The defense also struggled with third-downs, unable to stop the Chiefs, including the punt return that sent Kansas City soaring down the field.

Graham said, “I’m definitely going to cry in the car on this one. This one stung. Because we could taste it. We felt it. We know all we needed was one. We just couldn’t make that play.”

The Eagles had good players; the good players just didn’t make good plays.

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Alicia Andaloro

Alicia was born and raised in Philadelphia, becoming an avid Eagles fan as a child. She graduated from Penn State University and now works in the medical field. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and baking.

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