While it's only three weeks into the season, it is safe to say this was a must-win for the Eagles if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. Luckily for the Eagles, not only did they pick up an important win, the Cowboys blew a game against the Falcons.
Let's take a look at just a few of the key takeaways from Sunday afternoon's win.
Credit the Eagles' defense with the win in this one. Though the Jets' defense comes highly touted, the best defense on the field today was that of the Eagles. The defense forced five 3-and-outs in the first half and allowed just five first downs compared to the Jets' defense, which allowed 13.
The defense would step up even more in the second half, as the offense all but disappeared.
With the Birds up 24-7, rookie Eric Rowe would pick off Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone to put an end to the Jets' drive. Fellow rookie Jordan Hicks would later come up with another big pick for the Eagles - adding to his fumble recovery from the first half.
Walter Thurmond would pick Fitzpatrick off on the Jets' very next possession, giving the Eagles' defense a total of four takeaways on the day.
The defense bent at times, but never broke, and were responsible for what may just be a season saving win.
Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews Step Up in DeMarco Murray's Absence
The Eagles' running game in the first two weeks of the season was nothing shy of abysmal. On Sunday morning, DeMarco Murray, the Eagles' key free agent signing of the offseason who had underperformed to the tune of just 11 rushing yards in two games, was ruled out.
With Murray out, Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews would be asked to step up, and step up they would.
At 32 years old, it is safe to say that Sproles has lost a step or two. Despite that, he is still fast as a hell and among the best in the game. With the Eagles leading 3-0, Sproles returned a punt 89 yards to the house, blowing by every Jets player.
Sproles would rush for a one-yard touchdown late in the first half, to become one of three players in Eagles history to record a rushing touchdown and punt return touchdown in the same game. In all, he would finish with just 17 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards, but would score two touchdowns, including the huge punt return touchdown.
Matthews had 10 carries for 67 yards to go with two catches for 20 yards and a receiving touchdown in the first half. He dropped what could've probably been a 70-yard+ touchdown with all the room he had behind him on one play in the first half, and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter (which the defense bailed him out on with an interception), but was otherwise solid, finishing with 108 rushing yards on 25 carries.
Brandon Marshall Is Kind of Stupid
Marshall made a 15-yard catch, but chose to try and lateral the ball back to a teammate while being tackled. The Eagles recovered the fumble, and after the play was reviewed, the call on field of a fumble was upheld. OK, there is a chance Marshall may have been down, but what the hell was he thinking?
Eagles Offense Still Has Quite a Bit of Work To Do
The Eagles may have won in the end, but it was largely due to the play of the defense and the key turnovers they created. Play calling remains a bit suspect, and the Eagles have way too many plays that are coming up with negative yardage.
The offensive line looked better on Sunday in pass protection, but Sam Bradford was still unable to do much with the additional time, going just 14-for-28 for 118 yards and a touchdown.
In all, the offense only amassed 231 yards on 68 plays, and was held scoreless in the second half. That is far from the offensive juggernaut many expected following the preseason.
Cody Parkey Is Still Scaring Me
After missing the Eagles' final two preseason games with a groin injury, Cody Parkey has been a bit concerning so far this season. In the season opener, Parkey missed a 44-yard field goal with an opportunity to take the lead late against the Falcons.
Parkey didn't make that massive of a mistake on Sunday against the Jets, but he did fail to reach the end zone on his second kickoff of the game and put the ball out of bounds, resulting in the Jets starting at the 40 yard line.
It's probably just me being a negative Nancy, but Parkey is giving me cause for concern so far this season.
By: Kyle Babcock
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