Coming off their ugliest loss of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles were in desperate need of a bounce back performance against the New York Jets — a franchise the Eagles have never lost to.
With Jalen Hurts out with injury, Gardner Minshew got his first start as an Eagle and didn’t disappoint. He led the Eagles offense to 33 points and carved the Jets secondary up throughout the contest. The defense in turn pitched a second half shutout, and the Eagles walked out of the New Meadowlands with a 33-18 victory.
Here are our final thoughts on the matchup.
Minshew Mania — Here to stay?
The Eagles passing game looked the best it’s looked all season in their Week 13 contest — thanks in large part to Minshew. He finished the day with just five incompletions on 25 attempts, while throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
His 133.7 passer rating was the highest of any Eagles quarterback since another pretty famous backup, Nick Foles in the 2017-’18 NFC Championship Game.
Nick Sirianni was asked about a potential quarterback change at the post-game presser and gave a pretty straight forward response.
While it’s not totally surprising for Sirianni to give the keys back to Jalen Hurts, we shouldn’t be shocked if over the next two weeks he has a change of heart.
The offense was more versatile under Minshew than it was under Hurts, which typically isn’t the case when you’re talking about going from a running quarterback to a more traditional pocket passer. But Minshew is just so much better at throwing the football that it allowed Sirianni to confidently take down field shots early and often. Sirianni can call more than 20 passing plays without worrying about putting too much on his quarterback’s plate.
As an offensive play caller, having more optionality is always better. And it’s pretty obvious — even after just one start — that Minshew provides that for this offense.
Regardless of what happens at the QB position, I’m sure the Philly fanbase will handle it very well and not overreact in any way shape or form.
Dallas Goedert had his best game as a pro on Sunday, hauling in six receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns on six targets. Talent-wise, Goedert has been a top-10 tight end in the NFL all season, so it was nice to finally see the production line up accordingly.
The Eagles don’t have many legitimate weapons on the outside, but Goedert has proven to be a focal point of the team’s passing attack. Regardless of who’s playing quarterback moving forward, having a big bodied tight end like Goedert who can get open, make contested catches, and provide run after the catch is an invaluable luxury to have.
If the Eagles are going to continue to open up the passing game a bit, Goedert should continue to be the most targeted pass catcher on the team.
Miles Sanders and Eagles offensive line dominate the ground game (again)
The Eagles dominating on the ground is a headline I’ll never get tired of writing.
For the first time in his career, Miles Sanders got over 20 rushing attempts in a game. And in turn, he had his first 100-yard outing of the season, finishing Sunday’s game with 120 yards on 24 attempts (5.0 YPC).
Kenny Gainwell salted the game away in the end, rushing for 54 yards on 12 attempts and one touchdown. Both running backs were a force in this contest. Sanders posted an average of 4.38 yards after contact per attempt, while Gainwell recorded 3.67 yards after contact per attempt.
But as we all know by now, the real MVP of this Eagles rushing attack is their offensive line. The big guys showed up in this one again, opening up holes for the Eagles rushers all game long. The line may also get some reinforcements following the bye week, with Brandon Brooks potentially coming back from injury.
The Eagles key to success all season has been their rushing attack. As long as they run the ball effectively, they’ll have a chance to win any ball game.
Gannon’s defense makes adjustments in the second half
Although Jonathan Gannon’s defense only allowed 18 points by game’s end, they got off to a pretty rocky start. The unit allowed three touchdowns on New York’s first three drives, providing little resistance to Zach Wilson and Co.
But after those three initial drives, the Eagles defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way. Once they started to get some pressure on Wilson, it was clear the rookie quarterback got antsy. He started air mailing throws, with one of them resulting in an interception.
The defense continued their recent dominance against the run as well, allowing just 70 yards on the ground. They’ve given up 100 yards on the ground just one time over the past six weeks, after giving up at least 100 rushing yards in each of their first seven games.
Gannon’s unit still has their shortcomings, but it’s clear now that they’ve found the best nucleus of players to play week in and week out.
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