Eagles Rout Hapless Jets
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - In the compartmentalized world of the NFL, Sunday was about taking care of business for the Philadelphia Eagles.
And you can cue up Bachman Turner Overdrive because the Eagles used the woeful New York Jets as a speed-bump on Sunday en route to an easy 31-6 win that put the team above .500 at 3-2 in advance of a rare three-game road swing which will take the Eagles to Minnesota, Dallas, and Buffalo, three potential playoff contenders.
It would have hardly been a surprise if human nature took over and the Eagles took a Jets team minus its top two quarterbacks -- starter Sam Darnold and backup Trevor Siemian, as well as its best defensive player, linebacker C.J. Mosely -- a little lightly before talent took over but this one was essentially over 10 minutes into the game with a quick one-two punch, a 1-yard Jordan Howard touchdown on Philadelphia's first offensive possession quickly followed by a 51-yard pick-six by Nate Gerry on a badly telegraphed throw by the overmatched Luke Falk.
"Once I saw [Jets RB Le'Veon Bell] take off I knew where the ball was going," Gerry explained of his reaction while racing out to the flat. "... we knew they were going to attack us shirt yardage especially on third and fourth down. We knew how they were going to try to attack and attack us so we just found a play. We had a blitz call and just made a play on the ball."
The Jets were simply putrid offensively unable to take advantage of the Eagles being down five of their projected six-top cornerbacks and carrying three at the position -- Craig James, Orlando Scandrick, and Ryan Lewis -- who've been on the 53-man roster for less than two weeks.
New York finished with 128 yards of total offense while the Eagles defense scored twice, the Gerry INT and a Scandrick strip-sack and fumble return for a TD, while also piling up 10 sacks after managing just a total of three in the first four games of the season. Brandon Graham led the way with three of the sacks.
Offensively, Philadelphia was pedestrian with Carson Wentz throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown to Zach Ertz. On the ground, Howard was impressive again with 62 yards on 13 carries while the top receiving threats were Ertz (5-57-1), Alshon Jeffery (6-52) and Miles Sanders (4-49).
EAGLES WEEK 5 STOCK MARKET:
-CB Orlando Scandrick - The veteran was unemployed for the first four weeks of the NFL season and got the call back for Philadelphia when Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones got banged-up in Green Bay in Week 4. Because he spent all of training camp with the Eagles and has played a ton of football in Dallas and Kansas City, there was no ramp-up period needed and Jim Schwartz unleashed Scandrick as a blitzer from the slot against the overmatched LukeFalk. Scandrick responded with two strip-sacks including the fourth quarter where he ripped the ball from the Jets QB and returned it 44 yards for a TD.
"I was just finishing the play and not being satisfied with the sack," Scandrick said of his TD. "I wanted to finish it and the first thing toward 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. It was a humbling experience just being at home for those for weeks. I'm just happy we won."
-The Pass Rush - Statistically the Eagles pass rush had been top 10 in the league from a pressure standpoint for the first quarter of the season but that didn't result in sacks, just three in four games. With a QB unsure of himself Sunday the tide turned and Philadelphia put up 10, including three from Brandon Graham and two from Scandrick. Others who got in the sack party included Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Hassan Ridgeway and Daeshon Hall.
"It felt good," Graham admitted. "I'm just happy we all went out there and had one of those games we've been dreaming about as a defensive line. We're coming together at the right time, especially after all the emotional games we have played. We need one like this."
-RB Jordan Howard - Howard continued to show he's the Eagles best runner easily outpacing Miles Sanders with 62 yards on 13 carries versus just 15 yards on nine carries for the rookie. Howard also found the end zone for the fifth time in three games.
"I felt like we got it going early," Howard said of the running game. "Then they kind of bigged us down a bit with some of the stuff they were doing. Some of the things I was doing needs to get better but I feel like we picked it back up."
-NFL Overlegisaltion - There were 18 accepted penalties on Sunday -- nine on both sides -- as the NFL product continues to be overlegislated to a degree that has made the game unappealing to anyone without skin in the game -- i.e. fans of a particular team, gamblers or fantasy football players.
-RB Corey Clement - After Darren Sproles left with a quad injury Clement was next up as punt returner and he muffed on thinking the football hit Ryan Lewis. The Jets recovered deep in Philadelphia territory and that's how they got their only TD of the afternoon. Nelson Agholor was then inserted as the PR.
-Miles Sanders as a Runner - Sanders was really good as a pass receiver out of the backfield and snared a beautiful 36-yard wheel route among his four catches but he continues to be indecisive when running the football.
-Graham's three sacks were a career-best and he now has 45 1/2 in his career, sixth-most in franchise history. Meanwhile, the last time an Eagles player had three sacks in a single game was Fletcher Cox in Week 17 at Washington last season.
-Right before he injured his quad Sproles passed Tim Brown (19,682) for the fifth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history:
23,546 - Jerry Rice
23,330 - Brian Mitchell
21,803 - Walter Payton
21,564 - Emmitt Smith
19,683 - Darren Sproles
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen