Eagles 31, Jets 6: Seven Takeaways from Confidence-Building Win

Eagles defense

Getty The Eagles defense recorded 10 sacks against the Jets, one shy of their all-time high mark.

The Eagles beat the Jets 31-6 Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. That makes back-to-back victories for a team still nursing their way back to full strength.

The offense seems to be a work in progress through the first five weeks. Yes, the Eagles scored 31 points against the lowly Jets, but two of those scores were defensive touchdowns. Running back Jordan Howard proved to be the star of the show for a second straight week with 13 carries for 62 yards. Head coach Doug Pederson remains high on rookie Miles Sanders as Howard continues to state his case to be the primary back in Philadelphia.

Carson Wentz went 17-of-29 for 189 yards and a touchdown in this one. It was a very efficient performance, to put it mildly. New York is a very bad football team and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz took full advantage as evidenced by their 10 sacks, the second-most in a single game in franchise history. The Eagles hit the road for a three-game stretch starting Sunday in Minnesota.

Eagles-Jets: Top 7 Takeaways from Victory

The Defensive Line Feasted Early and Often

It was clear early on that the defensive game plan was to attack and never let up. The Eagles’ pass-rush was relentless on the afternoon to the tune of 10 total sacks, including a personal-best three from Brandon Graham. The defensive ends came into the game with just one sack to their collective names. The Jets provided the perfect cure for that hangover with the NFL’s worst offensive line on their heels for three hours. In addition to Graham, six other Eagles recorded sacks: Derek Barnett (1), Vinny Curry (1), Orlando Scandrick (2), Daeshon Hall (1), Hassan Ridgeway (1), Josh Sweat (1).

Orlando Scandrick Deserves More Snaps

The wily veteran was signed off the street late last week and played a pivotal role in the 31-6 victory. Scandrick, the long-time Cowboys cornerback, was used primarily as the team’s nickel cornerback Sunday with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz bringing him on the blitz often. In the first quarter, he sacked Jets quarterback Luke Falk and stripped the ball away only to be recovered by New York. Scandrick would do it again later in the fourth quarter with the Eagles leading by 18 points and this time he got the strip-sack, recovered the fumble and returned it for a touchdown. He finished with 35 total snaps with two sacks and a touchdown. He clearly needs more burn.

Jordan Howard Should Be Feature Back

If it wasn’t apparent after last week’s win over the Packers, it should be now. The coaching staff can wax poetic about rookie Miles Sanders, but Howard has earned the feature back role in Philadelphia. His 13 touches for 62 yards don’t tell the whole story. Any time the Eagles needed a hard-to-get inch, Howard got two inches. They fed him on back-to-back totes on the opening drive and Lincoln Financial Field erupted when he took it in from the one-yard line to open the scoring party. Howard now has 149 yards and four touchdowns over the past two weeks. Keep feeding him.

Fletcher Cox Still Looks Injured

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows in South Philadelphia, although there was certainly no thunder clouds. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was unable to get in on the sack fest, a worrisome development considering the ease with which his linemates got to the quarterback. Cox paced the entire defensive line with 46 total snaps yet failed to register a sack. He was close to Luke Falk a few times and fought through several double teams. However, Cox needs to get going for this unit to be feared. Let’s hope the 10-sack performance wasn’t just smoke and mirrors.

Carson Wentz Holds the Ball Too Long

There has been a growing number of critics calling for Wentz to get rid of the ball quicker. His propensity for holding onto the ball too long was on full display against the Jets. Wentz took only one sack on the day — a meaningless one late in the game by Steve McLendon — but it was a bad one. The Eagles’ offensive line gave Wentz at least three full minutes to find a receiver and he couldn’t do it. Wentz was efficient, not great.

Eagles Linebackers Showed Up

One of the biggest weaknesses heading into the season was the Eagles’ linebacking corps. That was before Kamu Grugier-Hill returned. The young captain keeps showing how much he means to this team as both a leader and player. Grugier-Hill only played 20 total snaps, but they were big ones. None bigger than when he jumped into the backfield and tackled LeVeon Bell for a huge loss. But let’s give credit to the entire linebacking unit in this one. Zach Brown led everyone with five tackles, with Nigel Bradham contributing three tackles. The Eagles limited the Jets to 67 yards on the ground and now lead the entire NFL in rush defense at 62 yards per game.

No Deep Threat Without DeSean Jackson

The Eagles might be without DeSean Jackson until Oct. 20 — and that could become a huge problem. The offense has no other deep threat on the roster. Nelson Agholor still looks lost and may start getting phased out. Mack Hollins keeps seeing increased snaps, but he struggles at getting separation. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz remain the top two pass-catchers, but they don’t have wheels. Opposing defenses are going to start bringing safeties up in the box to shut down Jordan Howard and stop the dink-and-dunk passing stuff over the middle. The Eagles need to figure out a way to stretch the field.

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