Eagles look gift field goal in mouth, trail 6-3 at half

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Eagles tight end Zach Ertz catches a deflected ball in front of the Chiefs’ Eric Murray.

KANSAS CITY — The Eagles’ defense forced a 39-yard field goal after a disastrous Darren Sproles punt return fumble put the host Kansas City Chiefs in business at the Eagles’ 24 near the end of the first half, and the Birds entered halftime with a 6-3 deficit that could have been worse.

Could have been better, too, though – after a gift 53-yard completion on a terribly thrown ball set the Eagles up for a final-play 30-yard field goal, new kicker Jake Elliott missed it, after first making it as the Chiefs called timeout. Second time through, Elliott pulled the kick wide left. The long gainer came when Carson Wentz’s pass bounced off corner Terrence Mitchell into the arms of Zach Ertz, who was tackled just before time would have expired.

But the bigger news might have been that the Eagles lost starting safety Rodney McLeod and corner Jaylen Watkins, who started for injured Ron Darby, to hamstring injuries.

This meant Corey Graham for McLeod and the first snaps of third-round rookie Rasul Douglas’s career in place of Watkins. There are easier places to break in.

Each team drove for a first-drive field goal, the Chiefs getting a 44-yard Travis Kelce catch vs. Malcolm Jenkins that set them up in Eagles territory.

The Eagles came out with more Darren Sproles and less LeGarrette Blount. Sproles darted 12 yards with his first carry, but after that the first-half ground game was spotty.

Carson Wentz hit seven of his first 10 passes for 71 yards, but drops and bad protection left him nine of 15 for 134 yards at the half.

Left guard Isaac Seumalo got destroyed by Dee Ford, giving up a sack to end the Eagles’ last series before the Sproles punt return fumble.

Kareem Hunt, the rookie runner who gave the Patriots so many problems in the Chiefs’ opener, managed only eight yards on five first-half carries, and the Eagles got good pressure on Alex Smith, sacking him three times. The Chiefs gained just three yards on the series set up by the Sproles fumble