GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Philadelphia Eagles had a 10-point lead as Rihanna took center stage at halftime. In the second half, though, Philadelphia’s advantage evaporated in the desert air.
The Chiefs erased a 24-14 halftime deficit by scoring 24 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter to win 38-35 in a Super Bowl 57 thriller. Philadelphia went into Super Bowl 57 as the first team since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens to allow seven points or fewer in each of its playoff games, but it yielded 31 points to the Chiefs’ offense.
“Not up to our standards. I feel like we got a little uncharacteristic on a lot of things. I got to hand it to them, they did a good job. We just didn’t come up when it mattered. We had a shot,” Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat told USA TODAY Sports postgame.
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The Eagles offense picked the wrong time to have their first turnover of the postseason, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ fumble leading to a scoop-and-score by Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton. Philadelphia’s defense allowed a playoff-worst 340 total yards and the defense that was climbing the record books accumulating sacks had a goose egg in that department in Super Bowl 57.
“(We did) stuff that we don’t usually do,” Sweat said. “We don’t really get out of gaps. We don’t usually turn the ball over. It’s just everything. Defense did some things and offense did some things. Both sides.”
Aside from a costly fumble, Hurts had a stellar performance. He became the first player in NFL history to rush for three touchdowns and throw for another in a Super Bowl, per NFL Research. His 70 rushing yards also set an all-time Super Bowl record for a quarterback.
The Eagles quarterback was visibly disappointed following the defeat but vowed to use the loss as motivation.
“You either win or you learn, that’s how I feel. You either win or you learn. Win, lose, I always reflect on the things I could have done better, anything you could have done better to try and take that next step. That’ll be the same process I always have going on,” Hurts said. “We had a big-time goal at the end that we wanted to accomplish, and we came up short,” he later added. “Think the beautiful part about it is, everyone experiences different pains, everyone experiences different agonies of life, but you decide if you want to learn from it. You decide if you want to use that to be a teachable moment. I know what I’ll do.”
Hurts is eligible for a contract extension this offseason. He proved in his third year that he’s the Eagles’ quarterback of the present and future, leading the club to a franchise record 14 regular-season wins. His performance in Super Bowl 57 underscored his value.
“I’m proud of Jalen Hurts not just for the way he played tonight, but the way he played all year,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “He’s clearly changed the dynamic of this team and offense, and it’s pretty hard to defend right now because of him.”
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With Hurts under center, wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, outside linebacker Haason Reddick and other core pieces returning on defense, the Eagles have a solid foundation to build upon and should enter next season as the favorite in the NFC.
“We have a good nucleus of guys back to continue to build on,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “There’s a lot of good football this year. We did a lot of good things. As a team, this one stings and this one hurts. We will no doubt get better from it.”
The loss in Arizona in a game the Eagles did some “uncharacteristic” things is going to linger for a while. It’s going to be a long four-hour plane ride back to Philadelphia, but the trajectory of the franchise appears to being going in the right direction.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.