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October 15, 2023

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Jets game

Giving out hardware after a loss to forget.

Eagles NFL
101523JalenHurts Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen hurts.

The Philadelphia Eagles are undefeated no more, after an ugly 20-14 loss to the injury-decimated New York Jets. As always, win, lose, or tie, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'We Hate Possessing the Football' Award 🚫🏈: The Eagles' offense

The Eagles turned the ball over four times. Let's recap each of them, shall we?

The first was a play in which Dallas Goedert kinda-sorta made a catch, had the ball ripped out, and the ball landed in the arms of Quinnen Williams. They called this an INT, but in my opinion it was a fumble. This is on Goedert.

The defense bailed out the offense after this turnover, when they forced a four-play turnover on downs.

The second was a fumble by D'Andre Swift, who had the ball punched out by Quincy Williams. 

That ended a drive in which the Eagles had already crossed midfield and led to a Jets field goal to end the first half.

The third was an INT after Jermaine Johnson beat Jack Driscoll and hit Jalen Hurts' arm while throwing. Driscoll had a rough game, but more on that in a bit.

Again, that killed a drive in which the Eagles had already crossed midfield. The defense bailed out the offense with a three-and-out.

And finally, there was the devastating INT that lost the game. Hurts simply made an awful decision. It's hard to figure what he saw on this play.

On the next play, the defense let the Jets score a TD, sacrificing the lead, but giving the offense an opportunity to go score a TD for the win.

As Hurts and Nick Sirianni both emphasized in their postgame press conferences, you can't expect to win many games when you turn the ball over four times.

2) The 'Second Guessing' Award 🤔: The offensive staff's decision to pass instead of bleeding clock

On the game-losing INT shown above, the Eagles faced a 3rd and 9 with 2:00 to go, and the Jets had no timeouts left. 

If the Eagles ran it, they presumably would not have picked up a first down, but would have bled the clock down to around 1:05 or so after punting it back to the Jets. Depending on how deep Braden Mann could have pinned them, the Jets would have then needed to drive 50-60 yards for a game-winning field goal, and they'd only have a minute to do it.

If the Eagles passed it, they could've ended the game by picking up a first down. If they had an incomplete pass, they'd punt and the Jets would still have had to drive 50-60 yards to kick a game-winning field goal, but they'd have closer to 1:45 or so to get it done.

The Eagles chose the latter, and, well, oops, a game-changing INT happened instead.

Personally, I thought the decision by the staff to try to get the first down was fine. Go win the game, and if you don't, go get a stop. The blame for that play should fall squarely on Hurts, who made what was easily his worst throw of the season.

3) The 'OH NO! Does He Suck Now?' Award 😱: Jalen Hurts

To be clear, no, Jalen Hurts is still a great quarterback. He made a bunch of impressive throws in this game, and made some plays with his legs. The offense sputtered all day, and whenever that happens the quarterback is going to shoulder the blame. And certainly, he made an awful decision on the game-changing INT, which is going to put him in the spotlight further, and rightfully so. But this was not a game I would pin on the quarterback. A.J. Brown aside, the Eagles' offense took this L as a group.

4) The 'Mmmmmmm Drrrrrrop' Award 🧈🖐️: DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith had a couple of very uncharacteristic drops. This one was huge:

The Eagles would have very likely gotten points on that drive had Smith made that catch. Instead, punt.

Earlier the game, Smith also had this drop:

That drive ended in the Quinnen Williams INT. Maybe if he makes that play, it doesn't end that way?

5) The 'Yeah, He's Kind of a Big Deal' Award 💁‍♂️: Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson left this game with a foot injury, and did not return. Since 2016, the Eagles are 10-22 when Lane Johnson is out of the lineup.

• 2016: 2-8
• 2017: 1-0
• 2018: 0-1
• 2019: 3-1 (0-1 in the playoffs)
• 2020: 2-7
• 2021: 1-3
• 2022: 1-1

We won't count this loss to the Jets toward that tally, since Johnson started the game, but we all saw what happened when he left, right? Jack Driscoll got wrecked all day by Jets edge rushers, and the offense simply didn't look the same.

Johnson sometimes isn't appreciated for what he means to this team until he's not in the lineup. To be determined how long he will be out, but Johnson is the best offensive lineman in the NFL, and an irreplaceable player.

6) The 'Luck Has Run Out' Award 🍀: The Eagles' unsustainable injury fortunes of a year ago

The Eagles had every starter available for the Super Bowl last season. That is insane, and irreplicable.

Now? They were missing eight starters in this game:

  1. RT Lane Johnson
  2. DT Jalen Carter
  3. CB Darius Slay
  4. S Reed Blankenship
  5. RG Cam Jurgens
  6. CB Avonte Maddox
  7. S Justin Evans
  8. WR Quez Watkins

Also, on the final play of the game, Grant Calcaterra was on the field, and Dallas Goedert was not. So, uh, is he injured, too?

Of course, the injuries are no excuse. The Jets' injury tally was worse. They were missing their starting quarterback (Aaron Rodgers), their All-Pro star CB (Sauce Gardner), their No. 2 CB (D.J. Reed), their best offensive lineman (Alijah Vera-Tucker), their starting LT (Duane Brown), and a bunch of other backup corners.

7) The 'No Flow' Award 🚰: Brian Johnson

Shane Steichen took over play calling duties for Nick Sirianni about halfway through the 2021 season, and he cooked. He found a way to score with a run-heavy offense in 2021, and he masterfully found an unstoppable flow with an abundance of talent in 2022. With Steichen having left to become the Colts' head coach, Brian Johnson stepped into the play caller seat, and Alex Tanney replaced Johnson as the quarterbacks coach.

Through six games, there just isn't that same rhythm and flow. It's worth noting that the Eagles' offense sputtered in 2018 after former OC Frank Reich left for the Colts' head coaching job and John DeFilippo left his position as the Eagles' quarterbacks coach to become the Vikings' offensive coordinator. Mike Groh became the offensive coordinator and Press Taylor became the quarterbacks coach, and the Eagles suffered from the "Peter Principle."

The Eagles had a great thing going with Steichen as the OC and Johnson as the quarterbacks coach. We know that that was a dynamic that worked. So far it's hard to make the argument that the new dynamic will be as good.

8) The 'Not You, Too!' Award 🙈: Jake Elliott

The always reliable Elliott missed a 37-yarder. If he makes that kick and the Eagles have a five-point lead instead of a two-point lead, they almost certainly run on 3rd and 9 and punt to make the Jets drive for a TD instead of trying to pass for a first down, right?

9) The 'It Wasn't All Bad' Award 🤷‍♂️: The defense

Even with the Eagles missing Carter, Slay, Blankenship, and Evans, the defense bailed out the offense all day. 

  1. They held the Jets to 17 first downs.
  2. They allowed just two third-down conversions on 11 attempts. 
  3. They allowed 4.1 yards per play.
  4. They sacked Zach Wilson five times. 
  5. They held Breece Hall to 3.3 yards per carry.
  6. The only touchdown they allowed was when they let the Jets score late in the game so they could get the ball back.

This loss was on the offense.

10) The 'At Least There's the Phillies' Award ⚾: The Phillies!

The 49ers, who looked like a juggernaut the first five weeks of the season, lost to a Browns team quarterbacked by P.J. Walker. The Eagles had a chance to stand alone atop the NFC at 6-0. Instead, they're now tied with the 49ers and Lions at 5-1, and they have to wait and see if they lose ground to the Cowboys, who play the Chargers on Monday night. Opportunity... squandered.

Luckily, Philly fans can turn their attention to baseball, as the Phils will have a chance to cure this hangover on Monday night in Game 1 of the NLCS.

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