PHOENIX – The Eagles and Chiefs have a lot of similarities. Going into the Super Bowl, they have the same record, scored the same number of points, and even have a Kelce brother. These clubs also played a pivotal role in what was one of the most seismic offseasons in recent memory last year. Both were involved in blockbuster trades surrounding All-Pro-caliber wide receivers, but that’s where their paths diverged.
Just after the new championship year arrived, Kansas City decided to trade speedster Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins after they were unable to agree on a new contract. Throughout his tenure, Hill had been a chess master in attacking Andy Reid and his superhuman speed gave the Chiefs one of the deadliest weapons the NFL had to offer. Meanwhile, Philadelphia was on the other side of the coin, trading for a star pass receiver, as they agreed to an NFL draft day deal that brought on board former Titans receiver AJ Brown. .
So on the one hand, you had one team leaving their No. 1 receiver while the other brought one into the fold, and each of those offenses was instantly changed.
“Tyreek is unique,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said from his opening night podium on Monday. “He has unique speed and ability, balance, quickness. He showed that in Miami, which I’m happy about. However, we have other guys who have skills as well. So what we’re trying to do is exploit what they do best. I have a quarterback who understands that and likes that. He accepts that and he’s also very good, so that helps too.
Instead of throwing the football the full length of the field as they did with Hill, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense opted for a sliced and diced approach that incorporated more tight ends and ball carriers. ball in the passing game. As you’d expect, the KC quarterback made the switch with ease. This season, Mahomes’ 7.24 aerial yards per attempt is the lowest of his career, which was largely due to the fast throws he was given. He led the league in EPA in throwbacks with less than 2.5 seconds to throw. Mahomes also tied YA Tittle for the NFL record with 28 passing touchdowns to running backs and tight ends.
As Mahomes and company reshaped their offense to further emphasize a short game, the Eagles found themselves thriving through the air with the addition of AJ Brown, who broke the franchise’s receiving yards record. in a single season.
His arrival helped Jalen Hurts make a substantial leap as a passer. Brown’s addition coincides with Hurts seeing his passer rating drop from 84.7 in 2021 (26th in the NFL) to 100.6 (5th) this season. Specifically, Hurts and Brown were called on pitches in the field. Hurts ranked first in the NFL in passing touchdowns (10) and passer rating (123.4) on passing 25 yards or more in the field. Brown was the main beneficiary, making up for seven of those scores.
“They say good quarterbacks make good receivers and vice versa and that’s the truth,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Monday of his duo. “Jalen has great players around him so he can distribute the ball. The hard part is if they want to try and take AJ away, they leave DaVonta [Smith] one-on-one or Dallas [Goedert] one-on-one and vice versa. It’s always nice when you have a one-on-one to be able to say, “Hey, I’m going to set that game up there.” AJ and DaVonta can definitely do it and so AJ has been a big part of this attack.”
Now, those changes to their respective offenses will be put to the test one last time this season and whoever has adapted best will likely win a Lombardi Trophy in a week.