The E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles! beat the J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! in Week 13. Time to hand out some winners, losers, and IDKs.
Minshew Mania arrived in the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles backup quarterback turned in a pretty good performance. By the numbers: 20/25 (80%), 242 yards (9.7 average), 2 TD, 0 INT, 133.7 passer rating. (1337!) That’s the highest passer rating posted by an Eagles quarterback since ... Nick Foles in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.
SO WHAT? IT WAS ONLY THE JETS!
An entirely fair point. The Jets’ passing defense is terrible! They’ve allowed the highest average passer rating this season.
And it’s not like Minshew was absolutely sensational out there. A few of his passes — including the touchdowns to Dallas Goedert — appeared to be underthrown. The Eagles weren’t exactly asking the world of him considering he had one of the lowest average depth of target marks from Week 13.
But, in fairness, Minshew hadn’t seen extensive game action in nearly a year. He also didn’t have the benefit of a full training camp with the Eagles considering they acquired him after their final preseason game.
Despite this, Minshew was incredibly efficient against the Jets.
Anecdotally, the passing attack looked more cohesive and functional with him under center. And there’s obviously data to support the idea he’s a better passer than Hurts.
Gardner Minshew career passer rating: 94.4— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 5, 2021
Jalen Hurts career passer rating: 82.0#Eagles
Even some notable former Eagles players were remarking about Minshew’s accuracy compared to Hurts.
That being said, a sole performance like this wasn’t so incredible that the Eagles must make him the new starter. Minshew likely is what he is at this stage in his career; a high-end back up and a low-level starter. He’s undoubtedly a fun and interesting player to root for. He’s not the answer as a franchise quarterback, though.
And Hurts very well might not be, either. But Hurts will continue to be the guy for the rest of this year, at the very least. Barring future injuries/struggles, that is.
Goedert was somehow only targeted three times in last week’s loss to the Giants. Nick Sirianni admitted he needed to do a better job of getting him involved and he backed up his words with action early on against the Jets. The Eagles targeted Goedert three times on their opening drive alone. The ascending tight end won in different ways. He picked up yards after the catch by breaking through tackles on some screens. He got open down the field for big plays, including his 36-yard touchdown reception.
That play tied DeVonta Smith’s touchdown against Patrick Surtain II in Denver as the longest passing score of the season. It was the longest touchdown by an Eagles tight end since Brent Celek’s 65-yard catch against the Giants in 2010 (who could forget that rumble in the Miracle at the Meadowlands II?).
Goedert finished the game by catching all six of his targets for 105 yards and two scores. Keep feeding him!
The offense scored 33 points and gained 418 yards despite starting a backup quarterback. They punted just once; on their final drive when the game was already decided.
Yes, it was only the Jets. And the Eagles could’ve scored even more if they didn’t only go 1/3 on red zone opportunities. At the end of the day, you’ll certainly take this performance by the head coach.
The Eagles were the No. 1 team in EPA per play from Week 13.
Sanders had a career game in terms of carries with 24. That mark surpassed his previous high of 20. He also finished with the second-most rushing yards of his career with 120, just three shy of setting a new record.
Sanders left the game in pain after re-aggravating the ankle injury he’s been dealing with. That he was available for a postgame press conference seems to be a positive sign for his upcoming availability, however.
The rookie running back logged the most touches of his career with 12 carries and five receptions. He was efficient as a runner; it was nice to see him break off that 18-yard rushing score. He also proved to be a reliable checkdown option for Minshew. Maybe Gainwell will see more touches moving forward instead of being phased out like he had been?
Sweat was due for a sack after having none since Week 8 and only 1.5 outside of that Detroit game all year. Sweat is now up to five sacks on the season, one shy of his career mark of six (set last season) with four games left to play. It would be nice to see him continue to step up down the stretch and not finish the year with just 1.5 sacks outside of the Lions and Jets games.
Hargrave has bounced back in the box score after going five weeks without a sack. He has 1.5 in his last two games, putting him at a team-high 7.5 on the season. Hargrave generated eight total pressures against the Jets, according to Pro Football Focus. Eight pressures on 26 pass rush snaps is pretty good.
The NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November is off to a good start in December. Elliott made all of his kicks against the Jets for 15 total points. In addition to three extra points, Elliott hit field goal attempts from 31, 32, 43, and 46.
Elliott is now up to 22/24 (91.7%) from field goal range and 33/33 on extra points this season. He’s making a case for his first Pro Bowl berth. Kudos to him for really turning it around after being on a downward trend following his rookie season.
Epps came up with a pick on a bad Wilson overthrow. Did you realize he has the same amount of interceptions (three) in 34 games (eight starts) with the Eagles as Rodney McLeod does in his last 42 games (42 starts)?
Epps saw an increase in playing time against the Jets, by the way, with McLeod seeing a season-low in snap percentage. Sign of more Epps to come?
WILD CARD FEVER
We already took a closer look at the Eagles’ playoff outlook in depth but we’ll mention it again here because, hey, why not! Always fun to talk about postseason hopes.
The Eagles’ playoff odds increased to 40.3% after Week 13, according to Football Outsiders. They have just a 1.9% chance of winning the division but a 38.4% chance of making a wild card spot. They have a 2.9% chance at the No. 5 seed, an 11.4% chance at the No. 6 seed, and a 24.1% chance at the No. 7 seed.
The Eagles need to take advantage of their bye, get some rest, and come back ready to beat the Washington Football Team in Week 15. Might not be easy considering Washington is currently enjoying a four-game win streak.
Reagor produced one carry for zero yards (ruled a lateral but was close to being a forward pass) and one reception for seven yards. This brings him up to seven catches for 43 receiving yards (6.1 average) and four carries for 13 rushing yards (3.25 average) in his last six games. Not a good football player.
Reagor’s ineptitude isn’t just limited to offense. He let a kickoff go over his head only to see it bounce at the 1-yard line and then be forced to field it to set the offense up at the 6-yard line. Reagor was rightfully replaced (by Boston Scott) on the Eagles’ next kick return opportunity.
Reagor also muffed a punt. It worked out for him since the Jets’ special teams coverage broke down ... but that was the case of a bad process leading to a good result.
Reagor continues to be a weak point of the team week in and week out.
I can’t say I knew a ton of Jets fans while growing up but I did know a few. And they would give me guff about being an Eagles fan.
That shouldn’t be happening anywhere anymore.
And I’m guessing it’s not considering the Jets have been the NFL’s worst team since 2017. They also own the longest playoff appearance drought with their last postseason berth coming in the 2010 season (January 2011). Every other team has made the playoffs at least once since the 2015 season.
Jets fans can’t pull the “No rings!” card since the Eagles also have one of those now. They also have no leg to stand on considering Philly is now 12-0 all-time against their green neighbors up I-95.
This is unrivaled dominance in today’s NFL. It’s the the most wins without a loss by any NFL franchise in a head-to-head series. Philadelphia (12-0 vs. NYJ; 5-0 vs. Houston) and Minnesota (5-0 vs. Houston) are the only NFL teams with undefeated records against active opponents.
So, in the rare event you do ever get chirped at by Jets fans, feel free to refer to the points made in this section to shut them up. :)
Some of those throws, such as his interception when he overthrew his target way high ... yeesh. Not hard to see why he has a league-low 66.2 passer rating. Admittedly, he’s a rookie and he’s not in the most ideal situation. We’ll see how his career develops but he’s certainly not off to an encouraging start. The Eagles may have dodged a big mistake by not trading up for him, despite their reported interest in doing so.
I DON’T KNOW
On the bright side, Hurts doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy of losing his starting job. When asked if he’s still QB1 moving forward, Nick Sirianni succinctly stated: “Yeah, of course.”
Hurts might benefit from taking a step back and getting to watch the offense. He’ll definitely benefit from resting his ankle on the bye week and getting to return to a team in position to make a playoff run.
On the not so bright side, missing this matchup was a missed opportunity for a “get right” game against his poor passing performance in Week 12. It was a missed opportunity to add a “stock up” performance to his resume.
One can also wonder if Hurts’ leash as the starter shortened on Sunday. How much patience will he be afforded if the passing struggles continue?
We won’t have to find out if he bounces back.
Things were way too easy for the Jets early on. It’s only fair to acknowledge their first scoring drive was set up by a 79-yard kick return. Still, it was troubling to see the Jets move the ball with ease and log three touchdowns on their first three drives. The Eagles were struggling to stop the worst starting quarterback in the NFL this year.
The defense ultimately settled in after halftime and only allowed 18 points on the day. So, hardly a disgraceful defensive performance. Just not ideal when Jets fans are leaving that game thinking of it as one of Wilson’s more encouraging outings.
There are still serious questions about Gannon’s defense going up against non-terrible quarterbacks. His unit hasn’t been tested in that regard since playing Justin Herbert in Week 9.
Speaking on Monday afternoon, Sirianni said the Eagles got positive news on Kelce. Good to hear. Still, wasn’t good to see Kelce crawling on the ground in pain late in the game. And then having to watch him slowly limp off the field. Kelce is incredibly tough, so it’s extremely hard to bet against him playing. But one might wonder if these continued injuries are going to eventually render him unavailable at some point down the stretch. Hopefully not!
Scott didn’t play much on Sunday; he didn’t log a single offensive touch. Had he not missed practice all of last week due to having the flu, he might’ve been RB2. It’s possible he’ll get back to being more involved after the bye. But with Gainwell stepping up and Jordan Howard potentially returning ... it’s possible Scott might get phased out. Something to watch.
He didn’t seem to be a liability starting in place of Jack Driscoll at right guard. Pro Football Focus graded him out favorably in pass protection but below average as a run blocker. But it was concerning to see him snap the ball over Minshew’s head for a 22-yard loss late in the game. While the play didn’t impact the outcome, it was hardly the first time we’ve seen a poor snap from Herbig. Not the most comforting thing to see with Kelce continuing to get banged up.