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Spadaro: 11 takeaways from the Eagles' first loss of the season to the New York Jets

Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Eagles suffered their first loss of this 2023 season and they knew they had nobody to blame but themselves. Philadelphia turned the ball over four times, suffered a spate of injuries that sent players off the field, and couldn't hang on to a double-digit lead on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, losing to the New York Jets 20-14. Here are some takeaways from the defeat, which left the Eagles at 5-1 on the season ...

1. Quarterback Jalen Hurts started the game strong and then he and the offense faded. Losing right tackle Lane Johnson to an ankle injury in the first quarter didn't help at all, but there were all sorts of weird things happening with the offense. One of Hurts' three interceptions was just one of those crazy plays – tight end Dallas Goedert juggled a throw and had it bounce off his knee only to be intercepted by New York defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. The most costly giveaway came late in the game, with two minutes remaining on the clock and the Eagles facing a third-and-9 play at their 46-yard line. The Jets had no timeouts remaining and Head Coach Nick Sirianni wanted to gain a first down and end the game. Instead, Hurts looked left and threw for Goedert. Safety Tony Adams stepped in front of the throw, made the interception, and returned it 45 yards to the Philadelphia 8-yard line. One play later, the Jets scored to take their first lead of the game. Incredible.

"You turn the ball over four times, you can't expect to win," said quarterback Jalen Hurts, who addressed the team in the locker room after the game. "It's a tough one, for sure, but it's an opportunity to grow."

2. Philadelphia got the ball back with 1:46 remaining at their 25-yard line and failed to gain a first down – all four Hurts passes were incomplete – and the game was over and the winning streak ended.

3. Once again, the Eagles started the game fast and jumped out to a 7-0 lead. After the defense held New York on its first drive, the Eagles took possession at their 9-yard line and mounted an epic drive – 19 plays, 91 yards, 9 minutes and 47 seconds off the clock. The Eagles gained 8 first downs and mixed the run and pass effectively. There were some highlights – A.J. Brown toe-tapped on the sideline for 10 yards and then a great Hurts roll right and then, with a defender grabbing at his left arm, completion to Brown on the sideline for 8 yards to convert a third-and-7 play – but Hurts was the real standout.

He completed 9 of 12 passes for 66 yards and ran 4 times for 21 yards, including a lunging effort that got him into the end zone from 2 yards out. Hurts ran right on the play, was hit, appeared to have nowhere to go, and then reached his arm out toward the goal line. The initial ruling was that Hurts was tackled short of the end zone and that when he reached out and lost the football and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus recovered in the end zone, the recovery was nullified because, according to NFL rules, only the player who fumbles the ball on fourth down can recover it in the end zone. The Jets celebrated and there was a break in the action and all of a sudden the Eagles' kicking team came on the field and the officials announced that, upon further review, Hurts reached the end zone with his lunge. It was the team's fifth opening-drive score of the season and the third straight opening-drive touchdown by the offense.

4. The Eagles' defense came up with a really nice four-and-out stop after the freaky Hurts interception – his throw to tight end Dallas Goedert was on the money, but Goedert was hit and bobbled the ball and it eventually bounced off his knee and was intercepted – set the Jets up at Philadelphia 45-yard line. But the defense stepped up – Josh Sweat stopped running back Breece Hall for a 2-yard loss on first down, Haason Reddick sacked quarterback Zach Wilson for no gain, and then Wilson ran 7 yards on third down. On fourth down, linebacker Zach Cunningham made the play in coverage, limiting tight end Tyler Conklin to 4 yards on a sideline completion. Eagles ball.

5. And with that possession, the Eagles' offense did its job, a great display of what coaches call "complementary football." The Eagles drove 64 yards on six plays, the big one a catch and run by Brown that gained 49 yards. The touchdown play, a Hurts completion to D'Andre Swift – a nice catch by Swift on a ball thrown slightly behind him and then he broke a couple of tackles at the 2-yard line and got into the end zone – was the offense's second touchdown in as many opportunities in the red zone.

6. There was a second giveaway in the first half when Swift had the ball punched out after he made a catch, and the defense again stepped up, limiting the Jets to a field goal after New York took possession at its 49-yard line. Philadelphia had good pressure off the edges all game and Reddick, Sweat, and Brandon Graham repeatedly won at the line of scrimmage. Reddick had 2.5 quarterback sacks, Sweat had one, Graham, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams all had shares of a sack.

7. A huge penalty midway through the third quarter helped the Eagles as a 25-yard catch and run by wide receiver Garrett Wilson that ended at the Philadelphia 9-yard line was wiped out when New York wide receiver Allen Lazard was penalized for a blindside block on safety Reed Blankenship during Wilson's run. The penalty moved the Jets from what would have been a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line to a second-and-23 at the Philadelphia 49-yard line. The defense held and New York was forced to punt. Unfortunately, Blankenship suffered a ribs injury and was done for the game.

8. Third-and-6. Just over 11 minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles are clinging to a 14-12 lead. From their 22-yard line. What do the Eagles do? They load up and throw it down the field and Hurts put it in the perfect place over Brown's shoulder on the left sideline and Brown made a spectacular catch, got both feet down, and picked up a huge 36 yards to the New York 42-yard line. The play flipped field position and while the Eagles didn't capitalize on the scoreboard as Jake Elliott pushed a 37-yard field goal attempt right, the play got the offense out of a hole.

9. Brown, by the way, was again awesome. He went over 100 receiving yards for the fourth straight game – he had 7 receptions for 131 yards on 9 targets – and has been dominating in those games with a total of 31 receptions for 564 yards and two scores. Terrell Owens had five straight 100-yard plus receiving games in the 2004 season. Harold Jackson and Mike Quick are the only other Eagles receivers to have four straight 100-yard games. Rare company.

10. The Eagles gained 15 first downs and 193 total net yards in the first half, converting 4 of 6 third downs. They finished with 24 first downs and 348 total net yards and zero points in the second half.

11. The injuries are mounting: Safety Justin Evans and wide receiver Quez Watkins were placed on Injured Reserve on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Jalen Carter were out for the game along with defensive tackle Marlon Tuipolotu and rookie safety Sydney Brown and then the Eagles lost Johnson, Blankenship, and cornerbacks Eli Ricks (knee) and Bradley Roby (shoulder) during the game.

The Eagles are 12-0 all time against the New York Jets. Can they extend their unbeaten streak and improve to 6-0 on the season? Check out the gameday action photos from our team of photographers as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New York Jets on Sunday, October 15 in Week 6 of the 2023 season.

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