Eagles Playmaker Suffered Grade 2 Left Shoulder Sprain

DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins

Getty Eagles receivers Quez Watkins and DeVonta Smith celebrate a big play against the Minnesota Vikings.

There were a lot of almosts and what-ifs in Super Bowl LVII. For example, Quez Watkins dropped a huge ball late in the third quarter on a dime from Jalen Hurts. The pass would have gone for about 40 yards down the field, and maybe, just maybe, he could have snuck into the end zone with his momentum.

Instead, the ball landed with a thud on the Kansas City 5-yard line. Incomplete. Watkins finished with one catch for eight yards on two total targets. The speedy slot receiver blamed his drop on a failure to use late hands on the play, a favorite trick of Pro Bowler A.J. Brown. 

“I should’ve used late hands,” Watkins told reporters, “and I didn’t and it caused me to have a drop with a DB on my back.”

The argument could be made that Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie tugged on his jersey and held him up, although Watkins wasn’t going to go there. He did reveal that he had been playing scared since Week 13 after suffering a Grade 2 sprain in his left shoulder. He wasn’t the same player down the stretch and in the postseason.

“After the Tennessee game, I suffered a Grade 2 sprain,” Watkins said. “I’ve been playing on it for the last six to eight weeks, and honestly, it kind of like deteriorated my confidence. I wasn’t able to play at my best ability.”

Watkins wasn’t trying to use his injury as an excuse. It was more a mental hurdle than a physical one.

“For me, I didn’t play my brand of football all year,” Watkins said. “Mental, honestly, that’s all it is. You just gotta play through all circumstances on and off the field. I should have just played ball instead of worrying about it.”

Jordan Mailata Focused on the Future

Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata took a few days to deal with his emotions from Sunday. Wearing a sweatshirt embroidered with the Super Bowl LVII logo, the monstrous Aussie seemed at peace as he spoke of the team carrying a collective chip on their shoulders heading into the 2023 campaign.

They weren’t going to forget the way they felt at State Farm Stadium, but Mailata wasn’t about to think back on what could have happened in the game. If that flag for holding wasn’t thrown on James Bradberry … oh, never mind.

“Shoulda, coulda, woulda. That’s how the game falls,” Mailata told reporters. “You look at the time of possession, we basically controlled the first half and in the second half, KC did a great job of controlling the ball there. It would be nice to have more time on the clock but the reality is that’s just how the game is. And whatever you’re given, you gotta make use of what you’re given.”

Jason Kelce Proud of All His Teammates, Momma Kelce

Jason Kelce was brought to tears on his “New Heights” podcast as he reflected on the Eagles’ 38-35 loss. It may have looked like he was crying tears of sadness, but they were tears of joy. He had a great week hanging out with his brother Travis and watching his mom shine in the national spotlight. He was ready to move on despite a frustrating loss.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” Kelce said. “I’m still proud of all the guys. I’m proud of all my teammates. It’s close, whenever you’re playing in this game it’s usually going to be close when you’re playing good teams. We just didn’t get it done. Hats off obviously to the Chiefs. It’s frustrating not to win, but it is what it is. You’ve got to move on.”

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