Ea­gles make it look easy against hideous op­po­nent

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Nick Fierro

PHILADEL­PHIA — 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 is, here are some im­me­di­ate ob­ser­va­tions 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 for him. 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. 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 start third-team quar­ter­back Luke Falk be­cause starter Sam Darnold is out with mononu­cle­o­sis and backup Trevor Siemian is out for the sea­son, 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.

Pick-6: On fourth-and-one from the Ea­gles’ 47-yard line, the hap­less Jets had no choice 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, a safety at Nebraska be­fore the Ea­gles turned him into a 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.”

Strip-sack-6: 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 quar­ter­back Matt Stafford.

The 10-year vet­eran had a ca­reer-high three in this game to run his ca­reer to­tal to 45½. Gra­ham had only four sacks all of last sea­son, so Sun­day’s ef­fort was mem­o­rable, to say the least.

Team­mates Or­lando 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 matches the se­cond most in a game in fran­chise his­tory (they had 11 vs. Dal­las in 1991 and 10 against Detroit in 2007) and tied for the most they’ve ever recorded in this sta­dium.

Bal­ance: 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 just 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.

Is­sues: 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.”

Fun facts: RB Dar­ren Spro­les passed Tim Brown to move into fifth place on the NFL’s ca­reer all-pur­pose yardage list, with 19,684. … Doug Ped­er­son’s 36-22 record (in­clud­ing play­offs) marks the high­est win­ning per­cent­age (.621) of any coach in Ea­gles his­tory. … The Ea­gles be­came the first team to record 10 sacks, a fum­ble re­turn for a TD and an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a TD in the same game.

MICHAEL PEREZ/AP

The Ea­gles’ Jor­dan Howard (24) is tack­led by the Jets’ Mar­cus Maye (20) in the se­cond half of Sun­day’s game in Philadel­phia, won by the Ea­gles.

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