Eagles had no chance to lose Sunday’s non-conference matchup.
By the end of the first quarter, it was apparent to everyone inside Lincoln Financial Field, including the New York Jets, that the Philadelphia Eagles had no chance to lose Sunday’s non-conference matchup.
By halftime, it was ostensibly over.
Now that it actually is, here are some immediate observations and takeaways from what turned out to be a 31-6 Eagles victory:
The Jets are bad
Former Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, hired as the Jets’ general manager in June, has his work cut out. In addition to having to decide whether coach Adam Gase stays, he must get pieces that fit together better.
The Jets had no answers for an Eagles squad that was far from its best. In fact, the Eagles were penalized five times for 50 yards in the first half alone in being held to nine first downs and 123 yards of offense. Yet they led 21-0 at the break.
This was because the Jets, forced to plug in third-team quarterback Luke Falk as the starter because of starter Sam Darnold being out with mononucleosis and backup Trevor Siemian sidelined for the year, had just four first downs and 70 yards themselves at intermission.
By the end, the Jets had turned the ball over three times (two interceptions, one fumble) while gaining just 128 yards and nine first downs.
On fourth-and-1 from the Eagles’ 47-yard line, the hapless Jets really had no chance but to go for it.
In retrospect, they should have punted.
Falk tried to float a pass to Le’Veon Bell in the right flat that linebacker Nate Gerry seemed to sniff perfectly, intercepted and returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
Afterward, Gerry admitted that he didn’t sniff it perfectly. He didn’t even sniff it at all until a split second before it happened.
“I was running for my life for a good 30 seconds,” Gerry said, “and then once I knew I was close to [Bell], I just looked for the ball. I had the running back all the way, so I just ran with him.”
Gerry, who was a safety at Nebraska before the Eagles converted him to linebacker, hadn’t scored since high school.
“I had 15 [interceptions] in college and never scored on one of them,” he said, “so it was nice to finally get one in the end zone.”
Veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick, playing in his first game as an Eagle, contributed two sacks, including one in which he stripped Falk and returned the fumble 44 yards for a touchdown.
Scandrick was on the street when the Eagles played their previous game.
“I was just finishing the play and not being satisfied with the sack,” he said “I wanted to finish it, and the first thing towards finishing the play is forcing the fumble. Then once the fumble is out, just to put points on the board as a defense.
“I’m so happy to be back. Like I said, it was humbling experience just being at home those [first] four weeks [of the season. I’m just happy we won.”
They come in bunches
Looks like defensive end Brandon Graham was right. Sacks do come in bunches, like he reiterated moments after a Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions in which the Eagles failed to get enough pressure on Lions quarterback Matt Stafford.
The 10-year veteran had a career-high three in this game to run his career total to 45½. Graham only had four sacks all of last season, so Sunday’s effort was memorable, to say the least.
Teammates Scandrick (two), Derek Barnett (one) Daeshon Hall (one), Josh Sweat (one), Hassan Ridgeway (one) and Vinny Curry (one) also had sacks as the Eagles finished with 10.
Their season total through four games was three coming in.
Their 10 sacks were the second most in franchise history and tied for the most they’ve ever recorded in this stadium.
The Eagles were able to achieve a healthy pass-run balance for a second straight game, with 31 called passes and 28 called runs.
They finished with 265 yards, but more than enough points, thanks in part to the two defensive scores.
Quarterback Carson Wentz didn’t have a great game, but he also didn’t turn the ball over. And in a game like this, just taking care of the ball is often enough.
Despite the lopsided win, coach Doug Pederson was not especially pleased with the offense.
“Well, one, the penalties,” he said. “You saw on offense how sort of average we played. We would take, for instance, a first down for eight or nine [yards] and we’d have a holding or a pass and either give up a sack or a holding. The penalties [nine, for 76 yards] just put us in too many long situations today — second-and-long, third-and-long.
“... 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 didn’t play good enough to — we have to make some corrections.”