Andy Reid’s homecoming was a smashing success for the new Kansas City coach thanks to a dynamic defense that forced five turnovers and sacked a harried Michael Vick five times in the Chiefs’ 26-16 victory on Thursday night.
“Yeah, it was different,” said Reid, who spent 14 years with the Eagles. “I was on the opposite side of the field than I normally am at, but I can’t tell you that I was caught up in that part of it.”
Vick even limped off with 1 minute, 7 seconds to go after fumbling, but stayed around to hug Reid following the final play.
Kansas City, who have not had a giveaway in opening 3-0, have won one more game already than they did last season — when they earned the first overall draft pick, then hired Reid days after he was fired on the heels of Philly’s 4-12 finish.
The usually stoic Reid showed some fire to match his bright red outfit late in the first half when he thought the Chiefs got a bad spot. He came out to the hash mark to yell at the officials, then walked off at halftime still gesturing his displeasure.
That was far more emotion than he displayed when he entered the stadium with the Chiefs just before kickoff. Although the Philly fans gave him a warm ovation, some standing in tribute to the man who won 140 games and six division titles for them, Reid walked briskly along the sideline, never turning his gaze toward the stands, but he later said he recognized the tribute.
“I appreciate the fans and the support they gave me,” he said. “That was kind of them.”
He certainly had to like much of what he saw on the field from his defense, particularly Justin Houston.
It was offensive master Reid’s defense and special teams that set the tone and put his team ahead early, silencing the sea of green at the Linc. The Chiefs forced four first-half turnovers and Houston had three of their four sacks.
He had another half-sack to start the second half, off a bad snap to Vick, and forced Vick to fumble with 1:34 remaining. Houston have six-and-a-half sacks in three games.
Damaris Johnson’s poor punt return gave Kansas City the ball at the Eagles eight, leading to Ryan Succop’s 33-yard field goal for a quick 3-0 lead. Derrick Johnson then deflected Vick’s ill-advised throw into the flat and Eric Berry picked it off, going 38 yards with the first interception of the year for the Eagles quarterback.
There would be more mistakes as Philadelphia (1-2) lost their eighth straight home game, but first, after falling behind 10-0, Vick got the Eagles’ no-huddle, fast-tempo offense going with the longest run of his 12-year career.
He burst up the middle, shook off two attempted tackles and sped 61 yards. Two plays later, it was his arm doing the damage. Under a heavy rush, he stood in and led Jason Avant perfectly in the left corner of the end zone for a 22-yard score.
That three-play, 87-yard spurt epitomized the fast-paced offense coach Chip Kelly brought from Oregon in replacing Reid, but Kelly got cute, going for a two-point conversion on tight end Zach Ertz’s run that failed.
The takeaways kept the Chiefs in front and after Avery turned a short pass into a 51-yard gain thanks to sloppy Eagles tackling, Succop made a 31-yard field goal. He kicked a 34-yarder moments later after another turnover, Sean Smith’s interception, for a 16-6 halftime edge.
Avery had a big night, finishing with seven catches for 141 yards.
Alex Henery’s 29-yard field goal was the only score of a sloppy third period and when Jamaal Charles surged around right end for a three-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Reid’s return was a rousing success.
Not even LeSean McCoy’s 41-yard touchdown run with 11:36 remaining could spoil that.