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Good Enough

Posted: December 6th, 2021 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

The Eagles needed a bounce-back win on Sunday. Ideally, they would have played great and just dominated the hapless Jets. That didn’t happen. The Eagles played pretty well and won 33-18, but this was hardly a game that made you feel great about the team.

The Jets returned the opening kickoff 79 yards and then marched in for a short TD. They missed the extra point, but that beginning was a sign this game wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. The Jets led 6-0, 12-7 and 18-14 before the Eagles went ahead 21-18 and never trailed again.

The Eagles defense wasn’t sharp early so it is a good thing Gardner Minshew was. The coaches built a great gameplan for him and Minshew executed it really well. After three drives, he was 11-11-165 with a pair of TDs. You couldn’t ask anything more out of a backup QB.

Early on the attack was screens to RBs and TEs, mixed in with other short throws. RBs and TEs combined for 11 catches in the first half. The WRs only had 3. The Eagles had 24 points and 262 yards in the first half. Minshew led the offense up and down the field.

Before you get too excited, the Jets defense was terrible. There weren’t a whole lot of "wow” plays on Sunday. Superior talent and execution won the day.

It was impressive to see Minshew go 20-25-242 with a pair of TDs in his first start of the year. Any talk of him stealing away the starting job from Jalen Hurts is going too far, though. You could see Minshew’s limitations on Sunday. He underthrew Dallas Goedert on both TDs. A couple of his other throws were so slow they seemed to have hang time. Minshew looked very uncomfortable running RPOs. He didn’t seem sure of what to do.

There is a big difference in being a good backup QB and being a good starting QB. Minshew’s physical limitations should keep him as a backup. There is nothing wrong with that. Good backup QBs have real value. He’s a better player than Koy Detmer and Detmer lasted in the NFL for nine years.

It is fun to watch Minshew play and to see him deal with the media. He’s a funny guy and brings a lot of energy to whatever he’s doing. That personality isn’t going to help him when he’s got to drive the ball down the field or to the sideline. Minshew is good at small-ball, but that’s not a long term sustainable offense.

Small-ball worked on Sunday, in large part due to Goedert. He was outstanding as a receiver and blocker. Goedert finished the game 6-105-2, setting a personal high for receiving yards in a game. He didn’t get the ball last week and it hurt the offense. The coaches made sure to get him the ball this week.

There was some question about the run game. Would it be as effective without Hurts running and the threat of him as a runner? Yes and yes. Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell combined to go 36-174-1. The Eagles ran for 185 yards overall. The last time they were under 175 was back on Oct 24th. This run game really has become a thing of beauty.

After throwing a lot of praise at the offense, it is time to talk about the defense. Someone glancing at the box score would see the Jets with 281 yards and 18 points and think the Eagles played good defense. They were highly erratic. For most of the first half, they were embarrassing.

The Jets scored TDs on their first three possessions. They missed the extra point after the first two scores and then failed on a 2-point conversion. Those missed points help create separation for the Eagles and definitely affected the game. The Jets never scored again.

I haven’t studied the tape, but the Jets sure seemed to attack the edges early on. They were able to run and throw wide. Eagles LBs weren’t able to stop the plays. For a while, it felt like the Jets were targeting Alex Singleton over and over. He hasn’t had a good year overall, but really struggled on Sunday. Singleton is at his best when attacking. He’s just not doing a good job of  getting out wide and making stops this year.

I’m not sure if the Eagles changed schematically or if they just started getting off blocks. Whatever happened, it worked.

The Jets didn’t have a third down conversion in the second half. They only rushed for 13 yards. QB Zach Wilson only went 11-24. Certainly give some credit to the Eagles, but the Jets also didn’t execute well.

One of the X-factors in the game was the Eagles getting the best of the officiating. Every questionable call seemed to go their way, including some big ones. Jets coach Robert Saleh was raging on the sideline at some of the calls. I don’t blame him one bit.

The Eagles are now 6-7. They are 4-2 in the last six games and continue to run the ball extremely well. Up next is the bye week, which comes at a great time. Several Eagles got hurt in the game so the extra rest is crucial.

The Eagles control their fate heading into the last month of the season. There isn’t much more  you could ask for considering the team started the season 2-5 and looked pretty hopeless.


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I have to agree. In the end the team got the W but I didn't come away feeling all that good about them. Minshew was brilliant and Goedert was a beast. The offense played very well but left points out there and the defense is just horrible. 

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