Opportunistic Eagles use 4 turnovers to top Jets 24-17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles flipped the script on the New York Jets.
Chip Kelly’s defense caused four turnovers and helped the Eagles to their first win of the season, 24-17 on Sunday.
“They beat us at our own game,” said New York coach Todd Bowles, whose team had 10 takeaways in the first two games and only one Sunday.
Darren Sproles sparked the Eagles with an 89-yard punt return for a score and added a 1-yard touchdown run, and Sam Bradford threw a TD pass to Ryan Mathews, who also rushed for 108 yards on 25 carries while starting in place of the injured DeMarco Murray.
“I thought it was gritty,” Kelly said. “We knew going in that this was just going to be one of those, to use a boxing analogy, where two guys were going to stand in the middle of the ring and just start swinging at each other.
“And that’s just what happened.”
The Eagles (1-2) were the ones left standing — thanks in large part to some opportunistic defense.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Kerley, but was intercepted three times. The last one, by Walter Thurmond with 3:28 left, helped seal the victory over the Jets (2-1), who held the Eagles scoreless after halftime.
Nick Folk kicked a 53-yard field goal with 2:34 remaining, but Seyi Ajirotutu recovered the onside kick and the Eagles ran out the clock to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1999.
“I feel like we were all pressing a little bit,” said Bradford, who was 14 of 28 for 118 yards. “It’s just nice to get that first one. Now that pressure’s gone.”
The Eagles improved to 10-0 all-time against the Jets, who were coming off a victory at Indianapolis last Monday night.
“Now we know we’re not going to go undefeated this year,” Fitzpatrick said.
Some other things to know from the Eagles’ win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium:
BONEHEADED BRANDON: With the Jets trailing 17-0, Brandon Marshall caught a 15-yard pass — and then tried to get off a backward pass to Jeff Cumberland. But the ball hit an Eagles defender and was recovered by Jordan Hicks. A video review confirmed the call, and the Eagles made the Jets pay for what Marshall called “a bonehead play.”
Sproles scored moments later, running straight ahead for a 1-yard TD that gave Philadelphia a 24-0 lead with 2:11 remaining in the half.
“Wrong time to gamble,” Marshall said. “I was pressing trying to make a play, but you can’t do that. That was probably the worst play in NFL history.”
SUPER SPROLES: The speedy Sproles put the Eagles up 10-0 with his spectacular punt return early in the second quarter, dodging at least four would-be Jets tacklers.
It was the second-longest punt return score in Eagles history, behind only Demaris Johnson’s 98-yarder against Dallas in 2012. It was also the longest punt return for a TD — and sixth overall — of Sproles’ career. He’s the only player in NFL history with 15-plus rushing TDs (18), 25-plus receiving TDs (27) and 5-plus punt return TDs (six).
NO MURRAY, NO PROBLEM: With Murray sitting out with a hamstring injury after giving it a try before the game, Mathews stepped in and had a productive game.
Philadelphia finished with 123 yards rushing after having just 70 in the first two games.
“We really just kind of went back to basics,” Kelly said.
STICK WITH FITZ: The Jets had their issues on offense in the first half, managing just 63 yards before a 79-yard drive that was capped by Marshall’s 16-yard touchdown grab with 6 seconds left.
Fitzpatrick was 35 of 58 for 283 yards and the three INTs, but Bowles declared that he’s the Jets starter as the team heads to London to play the Dolphins next Sunday.
Geno Smith was active as Fitzpatrick’s backup for the first time this season after having his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali on Aug. 11.
INJURY REPORT: The Jets played without running back Chris Ivory (quadriceps), who was active but didn’t play — although he said he could have. Wide receiver Eric Decker (sprained knee) also sat out. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was questionable with a groin injury, tweaked a hamstring late but said he was “fine.” Right guard Willie Colon left in the third quarter with a knee injury.
Eagles right guard Andrew Gardner (right foot) and safety/special teams ace Chris Maragos (bruised left knee) left and didn’t return.
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