- Alex Hand
Eagles Remain Perfect Against Jets Despite Glaring Issues
After securing their first win of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles had also solidified their dominance against the New York Jets by remaining undefeated in a record of 10-0. However, the Eagles still have plenty to prove, such as if they can consistently have the offense fire on all eight and that the defense can be capable of winning games by itself.
Right tackle Lane Johnson pointed out during the week that this game against the Jets was a must win and despite the cliché, it was certainly true. The Atlanta Falcons dismantled the Eagles’ offense during the first half of their matchup, and the Dallas Cowboys shut down the entire offense in the previous week. With Chip Kelly’s emphasis on the problem being execution and not talent, the fact that he kept the o-line intact coupled with DeMarco Murray’s tweaked hamstring made the possibility for an established run game all the more questionable.
Ryan Mathews became the lead back on game day and popped off for 108-yards on the ground and 20-yards through the air with a touchdown. This was all accomplished with the same offensive line that was not able to secure a single block in the first two weeks. To make matters both better and worse, right guard Andrew Gardner injured his foot and was replaced by Matt Tobin, after which the Eagles were still capable of running the ball off the right side. So despite an injury on the opposite side of Jason Peters, production did not cease.
Despite the turnaround for offense, the Eagles were forced to punt multiple times as they attempted to drain the clock to secure a win. Chip Kelly later explained in the press conference that this issue was a result of the Jets placing extra defenders in the box in order to stuff the run, as well as bad play calling on his behalf. This is something that will need to be addressed heavily if the Birds plan on competing with teams such as the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.
On the defensive side of the ball, the reserves were not afraid to rise to the occasion. With Cedric Thornton, Taylor Hart, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and Chris Maragos out due to injury, the backups came in not looking like deer caught in headlights. Defensive end Brandon Bair, who hadn’t dressed for the first two games, accounted for three batted passes and three tackles. Rookie DB Eric Rowe was plugged into action after safety Maragos has exited the game early and racked up an interception, a tackle, and two deflected passes. Rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks blossomed by recording 9 tackles, plus an interception.
Jets receiver Brandon Marshall was held to 109 yards, which is still too much given that Eric Decker was absent due to injury, rookie Devin Smith was just entering his first regular season football game, and cornerback Byron Maxwell is being paid “shut-down corner” money. By the same token, the entire Philadelphia secondary has been, and is still being, revamped so only time will tell as to whether the right moves have been made in building a shut-down secondary, as displayed by the Jets.
In all, the Eagles found a way to run the ball and get the ‘W’, and as every Eagle that had a post-game press conference said, “it was ugly”. There were many mistakes, errors, and missed opportunities from both a coaching and player standpoint. The Eagles will face Washington next Sunday at 1PM, and if the thoughts of missed playoffs opportunities are still in the heads of players who were here last season, this game will also be labeled as a must win.