The 31-6 final score makes it look like the Eagles rolled over the Jets Sunday.
In truth, the Birds’ defense dominated, limiting hapless New York to 128 total yards, including only 61 passing, and registering 10 sacks.
The Jets are 0-4 and scored their first offensive touchdown in three weeks at the Linc after an Eagles’ turnover gave New York the ball at the Birds’ 19-yard line. Fill-in quarterback Luke Falk seems to lock into one passing target and throw to him.
To say the Jets’ offense is basic would be an understatement. Only two receivers regularly went out for pass patterns to give Falk as much protection as possible, which allowed the Eagles to go after him.
“I feel bad for quarterbacks who have to play our defense,” said Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz afterward.
The offense wasn’t nearly as effective, producing just two touchdowns and a field goal. The defense had two scores — linebacker Nathan Gerry’s 51-yard interception return in the first quarter and cornerback Orlando Scandrick’s 44-yard return after his strip sack of Falk in the fourth period.
The biggest reasons were because the Eagles didn’t run the ball nearly and they did 10 days earlier in a road win over the Packers and committed too many penalties.
After going 53 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead the first time the offense had the ball, Gerry’s score made it 14-0. Maybe Wentz and company got a little fat and happy at that point because they knew how poor the Jets’ offense though he denied that’s what happened.
“There’s things we can definitely execute and be better at, especially when we do get up on teams and not letting them hang around,” Wentz said. “And we want to put the pedal down in those situations.”
The Eagles’ first three possessions of the second quarter produced minus-23 yards and no first downs, thanks to 30 yards in penalties and a sack.
“It wasn’t good, man,” said right guard Brandon Brooks of that stretch. “There’s no excuse — it’s just poor execution. We’ll be better. We’re going to watch this tape just like we do every other week and go from there.”
The only other points of the half came after Rodney McLeod returned an interception 23 yards to the Jets’ 42-yard line. Wentz hit tight end Zach Ertz for the final 11 yards.
Despite leading 21-0 at intermission, the offense realized it wasn’t holding up its end.
Part of the issue was they faced too many second- and third-and-long predicaments, including a third-and-30 in the second period.
“We could’ve played a lot better, offensively, especially up front and in the run game,” said center Jason Kelce said.
The Eagles, led by Jordan Howard (13 carries for 62 yards), rushed for 98 yards on 29 attempts for a 2.9-yard average Sunday. That meant everybody other than Howard combined for just 36 yards on 16 carries.
During the 34-27 victory over the Packers, the Eagles accumulated 176 rushing yards on 33 attempts (5.3 average). What happened against a seemingly inferior defensive unit?
“Give the (Jets) defense and (defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams credit for calling the defense,” Brooks said. “We’re holding ourselves to a better standard than (that). Not satisfied, but we’ll figure it out and get it right.”
Wentz, as he tends to do, provided the play of the game in the third quarter when he ducked under New York defensive lineman Quinnen Williams to avoid a sack on third-and-5 and fired a strike to Ertz for 21 yards and a first down.
But the offense bogged down too many times, including on that drive, managing just a 28-yard Jake Elliott field goal in the second half.
“Offensively, (that was) not our best,” Wentz said. “It’s something that we definitely need to clean up.”
The 3-2 Eagles’ next three games are on the road — against the Vikings next Sunday, the Cowboys Oct. 20 Sunday Night Football and the Bills Oct. 27.
“We know we can be better,” Wentz said. “We’ve shown it.”
The next three weeks would be an excellent time for a refresher course.
Tom Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org; @TomMoorePhilly