The Eagles’ 31-6 Week 5 win over the New York Jets could be sponsored by the that word, and no one would bat an eye or lose a wink of sleep. But what, or how much, exactly can we take away from the Eagles’ win over a supremely inferior Jets’ team? Does an asterisk get used when speaking about this win? How much clout does this win give the Eagles, especially the team’s defense? Do you take this game with a grain of salt?
The cliches are endless, but the message is the same: the Eagles comfortably beat a really, really bad football team. So what positives hold water against a winless football team?
First, the defense was spectacular. Jim Schwartz dialed up a tremendous gameplan, seemingly blitzing at the perfect time, every time. For a defensive coordinator that has been hesitant to blitz in the past, Schwartz put pressure on Luke Falk, who was making just his third career start, all afternoon long. The Eagles sacked Falk ten times, including three sacks from Brandon Graham alone. The three sacks are a career high for Graham. The ten sacks were tied for the second most in franchise history, just one shy of the record 11 set in 1991.
The ten sacks, for the time being, jumped the Eagles from 32nd in the league, last in the NFL, with three, up to a top-ten defense, amassing 13 sacks through five weeks.
Falk was hit an additional six times on the afternoon, totaling 16 quarterback hits. He was intercepted twice and fumbled once. The Eagles defense scored touchdowns on two of those three plays.
The Jets came into the game going scoreless on 21 consecutive offensive drives. The Eagles drove that number up to 31 straight before the special team’s blunder led to a late New York touchdown. Is that more telling of a successful Eagles’ defense, holding the Jets scoreless for 13 of 14 offensive possessions today, or that the Jets’ offense is anemic, having no success moving the football? I’d venture a guess to say a little bit of both
With all of this being said, there was certainly an err of caution in Head Coach Doug Pederson after the win in his press conference. Pederson’s word amounted to little more than, “It’s the Jets,” without saying those words verbatim. The wariness in Pederson’s voice led to a belief that this team is far from perfect, and was not perfect today in a 25 point victory.
The Eagles were charged with nine penalties on the afternoon, giving up 76 yards in the process. Many of those pushed offensive drives backwards, stalling them after setting up second and third-and-long situations.
The team paired these penalties with certain lapses on offense, including four consecutive drives without any points, and five of six, spanning the end of the second quarter and early into the third quarter.
The game wasn’t perfect, but the outcome was. In fact, it feels like we’re nitpicking a bit. But these are the kind of complaints that fans of a Super Bowl contender can make when their team beats a cellar-dweller by 25 points. The effort got the job done, and the Eagles are now 3-2 after five weeks.
One stat worth note: the Eagles continue an unbeaten streak against the Jets in the matchup’s history. The Eagles are now 11-0 all time against New York since the first meeting in 1973. It’s the second longest streak in NFL history to begin a matchup between two particular teams. The next time these two teams will play, barring a Super Bowl run or a changing of conferences,will be in 2023.