The Jets and the Eagles traded punch and counterpunch for six possessions with each offense accounting for three touchdowns. Despite a three-TD effort from QB Zach Wilson and an offense that found its groove early, the Jets dropped a 33-18 contest to Philadelphia (6-7) as the visitors scored on their first seven possessions with backup QB Gardner Minshew at the helm.
Wilson Finds Early Groove
Entering Week 13, Wilson hadn't led a first-quarter TD drive. He put an emphatic end to that on Sunday with a TD pass to fellow rookie Elijah Moore 2:18 into the game and followed that with a 1-yard sneak with 3:18 remaining in the opening stanza. He was 7-of-8 passing in the first quarter for 50 yards and then stayed hot early in the second, finishing a 9-play, 75-yard possession with a fourth-down touch pass to Ryan Griffin. It was Wilson's first three-TD day of his NFL career, but the Jets went into the break trailing for a 12th consecutive game.
Wilson and Moore's chemistry continues to grow as they combined 6 times for 77 yards on 12 targets. But Wilson missed an open Moore early in the fourth quarter and then misfired high on the next play as S Marcus Epps intercepted him. The Jets only had three plays of offense in the third quarter and were held scoreless in the second half. Wilson finished 22 of 38 for 225 yards.
"We just have to keep executing," Wilson said. "Just hitting that reset button every single play. I thought it was a not really good situation of not being on the field pretty much the whole third quarter. We got three plays in. We have to grow as a team in understanding that when that happens, how can we come out, execute and do well? Things were a little shaky from the fourth quarter once we finally did get our chance to go back on the field. I thought it was a good challenge for us to take that on. To have to sit on the sideline that long after doing some really good things in the first half, I think we're just going to get better from it."
HC Robert Saleh said of Wilson's performance: "I thought this was by far his best game in terms of just working progression and playing within the scheme. I wish we could have kept him in rhythm there the second half because I thought he was ready to have an explosive game overall."
The Eagles scored on all four of their first-half possessions, totaling 24 points and amassing 262 yards of offense. With starting QB Jalen Hurts, the leading rusher on the NFL's top ground attack, out with an ankle injury, the Birds soared with Minshew. The veteran backup went 14-of-15 passing for 188 yards and 2 TDs in the first half -- both scoring passes went to TE Dallas Goedert, who had 5 receptions for 98 yards in 30 minutes of work.
"We found out today that he (Hurts) wasn't going to play and that Garnder would be filling his role," said S Elijah Riley, a who was most recently with the Eagles before joining the Jets in November. "We still approached it no different if Jalen was playing and at the end of the day, we didn't get the outcome we wanted.
"You have to stop the run no matter what. They're the No. 1 rushing offense and we knew that coming into this game. We had prepared for it, we didn't execute the way we had wanted to, but going forward, we have to correct the mistakes we made and figure out how to get it corrected."
The visitors dominated time of possession in the third quarter as three official's rulings did not go the Jets' way. Cornerback Bryce Hall was called for a third-down pass-interference penalty on Goedert before a Jake Elliott 32-yard field goal and veteran LB C.J. Mosley was charged with encroachment before a fourth-and-4 snap on the ensuing possession. Four plays later, the Williams brothers, DT Quinnen and LB Quincy, appeared to stop Minshew for no gain on a fourth-and-1. But the Eagles challenged the call, the ruling was reversed and Philadelphia bled more clock before Elliott was true from 43 yards. The Eagles ran 24 plays in the third quarter and held the ball for 13:50 while the Jets ran three plays that took 1:10 off the clock.
Minshew was an efficient 20 of 25 for 242 yards with 2 TDs. Former Eagles S Elijah Riley came up with the Jets' lone sack and the Green & White were credited with three QB hits.
"The first half clearly wasn't good enough," Saleh said. "The second half I thought we came out and showed some fight, a lot of self-inflicted wounds on some of those third- and fourth-down calls that we need to be better at -- coaches, players, everybody. They were able to sustain drives in the second half, some to their credit and some self-inflicted."
See Best Images from the Game at MetLife Stadium
Up and Down on Teams
Braxton Berrios got the Jets going as his 79-yard kickoff return set up the Jets' first score — Wilson's 3-yarder to Moore. And while the Jets scored TDs on each of their first three possessions, Alex Kessman, who was signed from the practice squad to the activate roster Saturday, missed extra points after the first two TDs. Saleh kept his offense on the field when the Jets faced a fourth-and-goal from the 1 and then elected to go for 2 points after Wilson hit Griffin in the back of the end zone. Wilson's attempt was well-defended by the Eagles and the Jets, who got an excellent effort from their offense in the first two quarters, went into the locker room with 18 points as opposed to 21. They never scored again.
"The return team did an incredible job," Berrios said of his big return. "They took care of all the work, they did exactly what we were coached to do and my job is to hit it when it's there, and I did."
Saleh added of the kicking woes: "We got someone else in the building and we'll just keep going until something works."
The Jets inactives were DT Sheldon Rankins, TE Trevon Wesco, RB La'Mical Perine, OL Isaiah Williams, DE Tim Ward, S Jarrod Wilson and CB Rachad Wildgoose. … In the third quarter, CB Bryce Hall made a nice play 1-on-1 in coverage against rookie WR DeVonta Smith in the end zone, but Hall was flagged for pass interference on the next play on Dallas Goedert. … CB Michael Carter II exited the third quarter with a head injury and is in concussion protocol. Rookie CB Isaiah Dunn took his place in the lineup with Javelin Guidry, who started outside, shifted inside to nickel. … … RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif exited the third quarter with an ankle injury and Greg Van Roten, who started the first nine games this season at right guard, replaced him. … TE Ryan Griffin departed in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury after putting the Jets in Eagles territory with a 14-yard catch, but did return. … LB Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosley led the defense with 13 tackles apiece. … The Eagles, who had totaled 200+yards on the ground in three consecutive games, ran for 185 without their leading rusher Jalen Hurts. … Tevin Coleman led the Jets' rush attack with 58 yards on 11 carries. He also chipped in with 19 yards on 3 receptions.