EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - You can't expect your defense to force five turnovers every game and when the defense doesn't cause five turnovers the offense needs to pull their own weight. The Jets offense did the exact opposite today as they turned the ball over four times (three interceptions from Ryan Fitzpatrick and one incredibly boneheaded fumble from Brandon Marshall) and struggled to get into any type of rhythm.
That was all the Eagles needed as those turnovers, and an 89 yard punt return, was enough for the Eagles to overcome their own struggles.
"We turned the ball over and we didn't take advantage of plays. There were a bunch of things," Todd Bowles said. "That we didn't get our run fits right in the first half. We just didn't make enough plays. We gave up a special teams touchdown."
After losing their first two games you'll likely see a bunch of stories about how the Eagles are back but the reality is the Eagles didn't play very well at all, the Jets just played much worse.
The Jets defense actually played fairly well, they gave up a few too many big running plays and the one 23 yard wheel-route to Ryan Mathews but otherwise the defense played a solid game. The Eagles weren't able to find much success through the air as Sam Bradford went 14-28 for only 118 yards and one touchdown and even though the Jets gave up 123 rushing yards the problem wasn't so much that the Eagles had success running the ball, it was that the Eagles were able to keep running the ball. The Eagles ran the ball 39 times, meanwhile the Jets had 58 passing attempts, for only 3.2 yards per carry.
"In the first half especially, they creased us a few times. Guys misfit," Bowles said. "We missed some things we shouldn't have misfit that we corrected in the second half but it was too late."
Four turnovers to one, 58 passing attempts to the Eagles 39 rushing attempts and a punt return for a touchdown is a recipe for disaster and disaster is exactly what the Jets got. They were actually lucky that they were able to only lose by seven points. The Eagles were able to jump out to a 24-0 lead, while not looking impressive at all, and they were able to hold the Jets off, despite failing to score in the second half, because the Jets were just that awful.
With Chris Ivory active the Jets decided not to test his injury and the running game couldn't get anything going as they ran for a paltry 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 yards per carry). Bilal Powell ran the ball 10 times for only 31 yards (3.1 yards per carry), Fitzpatrick picked up 13 yards on four carries (3.3 yards per carry) and Zac Stacy ran it twice for three yards. The Jets won't win many, if any games, if they run the ball that poorly.
As bad as the rushing attack was for the Jets the passing game was even worse. Fitzpatrick finished the game 35-58 for 283 yards, two touchdowns but it was the three interceptions that killed them, especially the third pick. After Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley, to cut the Eagles lead to 24-14, David Harris forced a fumble by Mathews (recovered by DeMario Davis) to set the Jets up with the ball on the Eagles 41 yard line with over seven minutes left in the game but just three plays later Fitzpatrick gave it right back to the Eagles.
"It was tough," Fitzpatrick said. "Like I said, we can't give them the ball and I thought we had plenty of chances there in the fourth quarter, especially after the turnover created by our defense, to kind of go out there and maybe continue the momentum and who knows what happens there. Yeah, the two interceptions, they hurt us."
That pass was intended for Marshall and sailed far too high but Marshall still should have been able to come down with the catch, but like everything else from the Jets today somehow Marshall managed to make a much worse play than that.
With just under five minutes to go in the first half, the Jets trailing 17-0, Marshall simply tried to do to much as he made "probably the worst play in NFL history." Those are Marshall's words and sure it sounds hyperbolic but he might not actually be wrong. It really was that bad and when you make plays like that you deserve to lose, reagrdless of how bad the other team played.
"Wrong time to gamble. I was pressing trying to make a play, but you can't do that," Marshall said. "That was probably the worst play in NFL history... You can't do that. The damage outweighs the reward so much... I think we were down 17-0 at that point and that might have been the first real catch. I saw (Jeff) Cumberland sitting there. It was too late to do it. If I was going to do it, I should've done it a little eariler. But you can't do that, that's backyard football. It was a boneheaded play."
Ivory was active but the Jets decided not to play him a single snap.
"He warmed up and said he could play. He missed a lot of practice time during the week," Bowles said. "We thought it would be better to go with the other two guys to make sure he was full speed next week.
Darrelle Revis wasn't in for the Jets as they tried to make one last stop on the Eagles final drive. Bowles said Revis tweaked his hamstring but Revis didn't think it was anything serious. At least that was what it sounded like when he answered the first three questions he was asked with, "I'll be fine."
Willie Colon also left the game with a knee injury, Brian Winters came in for him. Bowles didn't have any information on the severity of the injury and Colon wasn't in the locker room so we will have to wait for an update.