Here are some thoughts from the game.
1 - The Eagles have bounced back
The Eagles were 1-2 after losing to the Detroit Lions at home two weeks ago. This team was staring 1-3 in the face with a road trip to play the Green Bay Packers. Making matters worse was that the Dallas Cowboys were 3-0. There was talk that the Cowboys might run away with the NFC East.
And yet, here we are. The Eagles are now 3-2 after winning their last two games. The Cowboys are also now 3-2 after losing their last two games.
The Eagles are very much alive. If the season ended today, in fact, they’d be the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Good on the Birds for surviving a slow start. Not like they have any experience with that.
2 - The Eagles own the Jets
The Eagles are now 11-0 in 11 all-time games against the Jets. Those 11 wins are the most without a loss by any current NFL team against a single opponent.
Nice thing to have in your back pocket should you somehow ever hear crap from a Jets fan.
3 - The defense was historically dominant!
Jim Schwartz’s defense made NFL history on Sunday.
The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to record 10+ sacks, a fumble recovery TD, and an INT-TD in the same game.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 6, 2019
The Eagles’ defense was obviously aided by the fact the Jets’ offense is a disaster. Adam Gase isn’t a good coach, Luke Falk is arguably the worst quarterback to start in the NFL this year, and New York’s offensive line is hot garbage.
Still, it’s not like the Eagles merely turned in a good defensive performance. It was an historical effort. Kudos.
4 - Perhaps there’s hope for the pass rush
After only logging three sacks through their first four games, the Eagles racked up 10 against the Jets.
Here are all 10 of the Eagles sacks from Sunday's win over the Jets. A LOT of inside pressure as the Eagles just teed off. pic.twitter.com/I3veQntEpO— Tyler Jackson (@TjackRH) October 7, 2019
Again, the Jets’ offense being terrible clearly helped the Eagles achieve that figure. But 10 sacks isn’t anything to scoff at, regardless of the opponent.
With that being said, the Eagles’ pass rush isn’t as regularly dominant as today’s 10 sack performance would make one believe. But it’s also fair to suggest the pass rush is better than it got credit for through the first four games. We had previously seen that Eagles’ pressure rate hadn’t been as bad as their low sack total would indicate.
Will this performance serve as a turning point for the pass rush? That remains to be seen.
5 - The offense needs to be better
The Eagles’ offense only managed 17 points and 265 yards in this game. Doug Pederson was rightfully not pleased with this performance.
Q. Do you feel like you guys played well?
DOUG PEDERSON: No, no.
Q. What were the biggest issues?
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, one, the penalties. You saw on offense how sort of average we played. We would take, for instance, a first down run for eight or nine [yards] and we’d have a holding [penalty], or a pass and either give up a sack or a holding [penalty]. The penalties just put us in too many long situations today, second and long, third and long. I haven’t looked at the stat book yet, but I bet you many of those were second-and-long and third-and-long plays that it’s hard to overcome in this league. And that’s a good defense, now, don’t get me wrong, that’s a good defense. That’s a good front. But no, we offensively didn’t play good enough to -- we have to look at it and make corrections.
Penalties were a big issue.
The Eagles’ third drive got knocked back to 1st-and-18 thanks to a Lane Johnson holding penalty. The offense couldn’t convert.
The Eagles’ fifth drive got knocked back to 2nd-and-25 after a Darren Sproles chop block. The offense couldn’t convert.
The Eagles’ ninth drive got knocked back to 3rd-and-18 after Johnson committed a false start. The offense couldn’t convert.
This is something the Eagles need to clean up moving forward.
I do think some of the consternation I’ve seen about the Eagles’ offense is a little overboard. There seems to be dissatisfaction that the Eagles didn’t absolutely annihilate the Jets’ defense.
I don’t think that was a totally reasonable expectation. The Jets’ defense isn’t nearly as abysmal as their offense. New York ranked 12th in defensive DVOA heading into this game. The way the Eagles performed against them isn’t totally out of line with how other teams have thus far.
OFFENSIVE POINTS AGAINST JETS
QUARTERBACKS AGAINST JETS
The Eagles coaching staff put an excellent game plan together when they needed to beat the Packers in Week 4. Do you really think Pederson was going to waste his best plays on a Jets team that could easily be beaten? I don’t think so. A conservative game plan was fine enough to get the win.
The feeling here is that the level of concern with the Eagles’ offense shouldn’t be very high. For now, at least.
6 - The Eagles should continue to feed Jordan Howard
Jordan Howard’s rushing stats through five games: 53 carries, 248 yards (4.7 average), 4 TD, 0 fumbles.
Miles Sanders’ rushing stats through five games: 54 carries, 193 yards (3.6 average), 0 TD, 2 fumbles.
Sanders is the more dynamic talent but Howard is clearly the more polished and reliable running back. Howard should continue to be the 1A in the Eagles’ rotation. Pederson needs to get him some more carries.
While Sanders has struggled as a runner, it’s been encouraging to see him have success as a pass catcher. He’s been looking mighty fine on the wheel route. This stat helps to put his big play ability in perspective:
Miles Sanders’ three 30+ yard receptions are the most by an NFL rookie running back through 5 games since at least 1991. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 6, 2019
7 - Nelson Agholor continues to frustrate
Agholor’s sole reception of the day was punched out of his control. He’s fortunate it went out of bounds this time unlike his Week 3 fumble against the Lions.
Agholor had two opportunities for deep receptions but couldn’t come up with either. He was held on at least one of them, yes, but can we really say he did a great job of tracking those Wentz passes?
With one reception for 20 yards in his last 117 snaps played, he’s just not coming close to justifying that $9.4 million salary.
On a related note, the Eagles could really use DeSean Jackson back. He makes those plays that Agholor didn’t against the Jets.
8 - Darren Sproles makes history
Congrats to Sproles, who moved into fifth place on the career all-purpose yards list.
Jerry Rice — 23,546 yards
Brian Mitchell — 23,330 yards
Walter Payton — 21,803 yards
Emmitt Smith — 21,546 yards
Darren Sproles — 19,683 yards
I don’t think Sproles will end up being a Hall of Famer but there’s no denying he owns a special place in NFL history. He’s had heck of a career.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t Sproles’ best game. His three carries only went for four yards. He dropped a would-be first down prior to Wentz throwing an incompletion on fourth down. Sproles then had to leave the game with a quad injury.
Might be worth giving Corey Clement some of Sproles’ offensive touches. Speak of the devil ...
9 - Corey Clement shouldn’t be back on return duty
Clement’s muffed punt return prevented the Eagles from pitching a shutout in this game.
In fairness to Clement, it was a tough situation. He thought the ball went off Ryan Lewis’ foot and he had to get the ball.
Still, Clement now has three muffed punt returns on seven career attempts. (Clement also fumbled a kickoff return in Week 2.) He can’t be trusted to be back there. The Eagles learned their lesson and replaced Clement with Agholor on the Jets’ next punt.
10 - Orlando Scandrick = Patrick Robinson?
It’s only slightly too early to make this comparison but, seriously, great effort by Scandrick on Sunday. The veteran defender logged three solo tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, and one defensive touchdown against the Jets. There was a little unrest after the Jets cut the Eagles’ lead to 24-6 but Scandrick killed New York’s hopes of an improbable comeback.
Putting Scandrick’s performance in perspective:
- He’s just the fifth NFL defensive back since 1993 to record 2.0+ sacks and 2.0+ FFs in a single game, joining Brandon Meriweather (10/27/14 at Dallas with Washington), Drew Coleman (12/19/10 at Pittsburgh with N.Y. Jets), Kerry Rhodes (9/24/06 at Buffalo with N.Y. Jets) and John Lynch (12/31/05 at San Diego with Denver).
- He’s just the fifth defensive back in Eagles history to post 2.0 sacks in a single game, joining Brian Dawkins (11/19/00 vs. Arizona), Bobby Taylor (9/15/97 at Dallas), Wes Hopkins (10/6/91 at Tampa Bay) and Ray Ellis (12/8/85 vs. Washington).
I’m not sure Scandrick will even be on this team in several weeks when Jalen Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc will potentially be able to return. Certainly can’t hurt his case with a game like this one, though.
11 - Time to put some respect on Nathan Gerry’s name
Gerry has earned a lot of ire from Eagles fans and it hasn’t been totally undeserved. He’s struggled defensively at times. But Gerry now has two big interceptions this season. His first came on a Matt Ryan throw into the end zone in Week 2. That play took Falcons points off the board. This week it was Gerry logging a pick-six to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead.
Some have previously questioned why Gerry is on the team. Well, I think he’s answered that question. Far from a flawless player but he’s at least earned his roster spot.
12 - Rodney McLeod continues to play well
I quickly touched on McLeod’s underrated contributions to this defense in last week’s postgame thoughts. I want to highlight McLeod more properly this time. His efforts shouldn’t got unnoticed. McLeod did a real nice job of keeping Le’Veon Bell in check. He also came up with an interception. The Eagles definitely missed having him around in 2018.
13 - Jake Elliott remains perfect
I know I’m jinxing him by mentioning this — not unlike how BGN clearly jinxed the Eagles into losing to the Jets — but Elliott is perfect on all kicks through five games this season.
The Eagles’ kicker is 5/5 on field goal tries with makes from 22, 25, 28, 34, and 41. He is also 14/14 on extra point attempts.
Elliott’s hardly had to try a bunch of toughs kick yet but it’s the easy ones that have tripped him up at times in the past. Good to see that hasn’t been an issue so far.
14 - Derek Barnett really needs to start playing smarter
Barnett was fortunate this unnecessary penalty didn’t negate Gerry’s pick six. Check out the 0:14 mark in the video below:
Barnett had a very dumb offside penalty in Week 1 that made a Washington field goal try easier. Barnett was fined for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Jamaal Williams in Week 4.
Barnett needs to start playing smarter.
15 - The real test is about to begin
The Eagles are 3-2 heading into the following three-game road stretch:
Week 6 - at Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
Week 7 - at Dallas Cowboys (3-2)
Week 8 - at Buffalo Bills (4-1)
Gonna be tough.
Beating the Cowboys is obviously most crucial. Regardless of what happens in Week 6, Philadelphia can take first in the NFC East with a win over Dallas.
The Eagles proved they can beat a tough opponent on the road by winning at Lambeau in Week 4. Now we’ll see if they can do it again ... multiple times in a row.