Jalen Hurts sat there elbows on knees in dazed disbelief on the Eagles bench. His eyes were fixed at half-mast, after throwing three interceptions and holding the ignominious distinction of being the first Eagles’ quarterback to ever lose to the New York Jets.
This was bound to happen. With the depletion of the offensive line, due to injuries to Lane Johnson and Cam Jurgens, a depleted secondary without cornerback Darius Slay and losing safety Reed Blankenship during the course of the game, the sputtering offense, and Hurts running for his life on Sunday at MetLife Stadium led to the Eagles’ 20-14 loss.
“I didn’t have to say much,” Eagles’ coach Nick Sirianni said. “I didn’t have to say anything. As soon as we got in (the locker room), our guys talked and different guys said different things. That’s what you want out of your team. That part was a big positive.
“They’re holding each other accountable. They’re holding themselves accountable. I’m holding myself accountable. I really didn’t have to say anything. The leaders of the football team did.”
Going into the game, the Eagles were 12-0 as a franchise against the Jets. It looked like that was heading to 13-0 and being the only undefeated team left in the NFL.
But that changed dramatically when Hurts tried squeezing a pass in between two Jet defenders looking for Dallas Goedert and the pass instead found New York safety Tony Adams with 1:46 left to play.
The Eagles outgained New York by over 100 yards, 348 to 244, and held the Jets to just 2 of 11 on third-down conversions and 0 for three in the Red Zone, before Hurts’ third interception.
The Eagles were supposed to be 6-0 after their first six games. There were no teams that were truly going to threaten the Eagles, and certainly not the New York Jets without Aaron Rodgers, but four turnovers and a pass-heavy, one-dimensional offense contributed to this loss—and being shutout in the second half.
Entering the game, the Jets were ranked No. 29 in the NFL overall against the run, giving up an average of 146.2 yards a game—and an average of 166.7 over their previous three games, 157 in a loss to New England, 204 in a loss to Kansas City and 139 against Denver.
The Eagles ran the ball 22 times and threw 45 times.
The Eagles drop to 5-1 at a fortunate time. After being upset by Cleveland, the San Francisco 49ers fell 5-1, so there was no ground lost in the overall NFC playoff picture. Also, the Eagles can go away and hide this week as Philadelphia’s demanding fanbase shifts its focus on the Phillies in the National League championship series, while the Eagles prepare for the speedy Miami Dolphins.
There was some good, some bad and piles of ugly in the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the New York Jets.
Linebacker/edge rusher Haason Reddick and defensive tackle Milton Williams combining for a six-yard sack with 4:43 to play on a third-and-seven at the Jets’ 35. In what was an ongoing theme the entire game, it was a huge defensive play following an Eagles’ offensive miscue. Reddick had 2.5 sacks and four solo tackles for the game. The sack gave him 5.5 sacks in Reddick’s last three games.
A.J. Brown’s amazing over-the-shoulder, fourth-quarter catch on third-and-six at the Jets’ 42. The catch put Brown over 125 yards in receptions, making him the first Eagles’ receiver in franchise history to have 125 yards receiving or more in four-straight games.
Defensive end Josh Sweat’s six-yard sack on a first-and-10 at the New York 32, coming with 13:04 left to play—and more importantly, the first play following a Hurts’ interception. It was a great momentum change.
Hurts’ scramble to get the ball downfield to DeVonta Smith for a 22-yard reception from the 25 to the Eagles’ 47 on the last play of the third quarter. It was an important play to get the dormant Eagles’ second-half offense going, missing right tackle Lane Johnson and already without right guard Cam Jurgens. On that same drive, Hurts ran for six yards on a third-and-five at the Jets’ 42.
The Eagles’ first half defense. They were going against the suddenly acclaimed Zach Wilson, who is often confused with Joe Montana, though they did hold the anemic Jets to zero-for-five on third-down conversions, and zero-for-one on fourth-down conversions. The Jets were zero-for-two in the Red Zone and 145 yards of total offense.
The Eagles’ mammoth 19-play, 91-yard, 9-minute, 54-second drive to open the game. The Eagles converted three of four third downs, a fourth down that resulted in Hurts’ three-yard touchdown run, and eight first downs total, five passing, two rushing, and one by penalty. Hurts was amazing. He prolonged the drive on a third-and-seven at the Eagles’ 24, stiff-arming Jets’ defensive back Michael Carter II to complete an eight-yard pass to A.J. Brown. He first eluded Carter II, broke away from defensive end Jermaine Johnson and found Brown down the sideline. Hurts literally held Carter II away as he completed the pass. Hurts completed nine of 12 on the drive for 66 yards, rushed seven times for 21 yards and spread the ball around to five different receivers. It marked the first 19-play scoring drive for the Eagles since Week 17 in 2018.
Reddick and defensive tackle Jordan Davis combining for a one-yard sack on a second-and-12 at the Eagles’ 47 with 9:56 left in the half. Reddick’s second sack of the game came in a big moment, on a second-and-five at the Eagles’ eight. Reddick just swarmed Zach Wilson at the Eagles’ 20, forcing another New York field goal.
Linebacker Zach Cunningham stopping tight end Tyler Conklin on fourth-and-five at the Eagles’ 40, holding the Jets a yard short of a first down with 8:32 left in the first half. The Eagles converted the stop into a 14-3 lead.
A.J. Brown’s 49-yard reception on a second-and-nine that brought the ball to the Jets’ three. It set up an Eagles’ 14-3 lead with 7:03 left in the half. By halftime, Brown had five catches on six targets for 89 yards.
D’Andre Swift’s six catches on seven targets for 35 yards and a touchdown in the first half. On a second-and-goal at the Jets’ nine, Hurts actually underthrew Swift, who reached back to catch the ball, then broke Jets’ safety Jordan Whitehead’s tackle at the two, and had comically Jet linebackers Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosley run into each other at the goal line.
Defensive end Brandon Graham and Davis combining for a six-yard sack on a third-and-10 at the Eagles’ 18. The Jets’ offense had found some confidence and were driving. Two Zach Wilson incompletions transformed Zach Wilson back into “Zach Wilson,” getting sacked at the 24 with 3:03 left in the first half. Wilson came up limping, and New York had to settle for a 42-yard field goal.
The very reliable Jake Elliott missing a 37-yard field goal that drifted wide right, only his second miss of the season, with 8:13 left to play. Elliott doubled over and hung his head immediately after the miss. Teammates tried consoling Elliott as he trotted off the field, knowing how clutch he has been this season.
With the Eagles’ secondary thinned by injuries, there may be a reason why cornerback Kelee Ringo is not in the regular secondary rotation. That surfaced when Ringo did not have the discipline to avoid running into Jets’ punt returner Randall Cobb for a 15-yard penalty. The call gave New York possession at the Eagles’ 36 to begin its second drive of the second half. The Eagles were fortunate enough to get out of it with yet another Jets’ field goal.
Right guard Sua Opeta getting beat inside by Jets’ tackle Quinton Jefferson, and right tackle Jack Driscoll, replacing the injured Lane Johnson, getting beat outside by Bryson Huff for an eight-yard sack on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half. The play followed an uncharacteristic DeVonta Smith drop, which followed an Eagles’ illegal shift penalty. It was not a good way to start the second half, after what was a very efficient first half.
Tight end Dallas Goedert not being able to hold on to the ball on a screen. In the Eagles’ second possession, on a third-and-nine at the Jets’ 47, Goedert caught a screen, Jermaine Johnson slapped the ball free of Goedert’s hands, the ball bounced off Goedert’s right thigh and into the hands of Jets’ sterling defensive tackle Quinnen Williams for a strange interception.
Swift fumbling the ball just inside two minutes of the first half, thanks to a Mosley punch, on a first-and-10 at the Jets’ 47. Quincy Williams was there to fall on it at the Jets’ three. It marked the first time this season that an opponent scored off an Eagles’ turnover.
Hurts’ third interception of the game came with 1:50 to play. Hurts tried to fit the ball between Jets’ linebacker Quincy Williams and safety Tony Adams. It was a reckless decision. Hurts looked right at Goedert, and threw it right to Adams, who stepped up and caught the ball in stride at the Jets’ 46 and returned it to the Eagles’ eight. One play later, the Jets scored the game-winning touchdown without hardly any effort by the Eagles to stop them.
With 13:42 left to play, Driscoll getting beat outside by Jermaine Johnson, who grabbed Hurts’ arm while throwing, the result being a Bryce Hall interception at the Jets’ 38.
In a very rare moment, receiver DeVonta Smith dropping a pass wide open in the middle of the field on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half on a first-and-15 at the Jets’ 28. Hurts stayed patient and stepped up in the pocket and the pass went right in the leaping Smith’s hands, and then uncharacteristically dropped.
The Eagles getting caught with too many men on the field on a critical third-and-one at the Philadelphia 28 early in the second quarter. Getting nailed with penalties on third down has been a problem this season for the Eagles, and it happened again here on the Jets’ second drive. It is the sixth game of the season, linebacker Zach Cunningham should know the personnel packages by now. Apparently, he did not on that play. He got caught running off the field.
Right tackle Lane Johnson going down with a right ankle injury after a Swift made a two-yard gain on second-and-one at the Jets’ 48 with 8:26 left in the first quarter. Johnson’s legs got caught up in the backwash of the play, grabbing his right ankle. He was replaced by Jack Driscoll.
Cornerback Josh Jobe, in place of the injured Darius Slay, getting hit for holding on the first series of the game. The flag came on a third-and-eight at the Jets’ 27 when Jobe held Xavier Gipson, extending the Jets’ opening drive. Jobe made up for it quickly later the same drive, defending a pass on third-and-five at the Jets’ 37. Jobe was later the victim of a 33-yard reception as Garrett Wilson climbed over him for a 33-yard reception on the Jets’ first play of the second half. The catch got the Jets out of the hole at their seven. Jobe had earlier problems with Garrett Wilson, as do many NFL corners, called for pass interference with :56 left in the first half at the Eagles’ 27.
Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.