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Eagles History Forever Marred By Loss To Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 15: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 15, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Every Eagles team that played the Jets before yesterday had beaten them. The Birds were 12-0 against the Jets before New York finally beat them on Sunday, 20-14, the first loss for Philly after starting the season 5-0.

Jalen Hurts did what so many other Eagles QBs could not. Two years ago Gardner Minshew stepped in and led (?) the Eagles to a 33-18 win. Carson Wentz and Sam Bradford beat the Jets before that. Michael Vick beat them before that, and Donovan McNabb’s 75-yard touchdown to Kevin Curtis was enough for the Eagles to beat the Jets in 2007. McNabb beat Vinny Testaverde and the Jets four years earlier. In 1997, the Eagles beat the Rich Kotite Jets, who’d finish 1-15 that year, after trailing 20-7 entering the fourth quarter. In the week leading up to the game, Ty Detmer said the Eagles would look like the “biggest idiots in the world” had they lost. They still looked like idiots despite the 21-20 win. The announced attendance at Giants Stadium was 29,178 for that one.

Rich Kotite himself beat the Jets in 1993, as the Eagles rallied from a three-touchdown deficit to win, 35-30. The key play, just like yesterday, was an interception return: Eric Allen ran back a Boomer Esiasion pick 95 yards for a score to complete the fourth-quarter comeback. Randall Cunningham started that one but got hurt; Bubby Bruster finished the game. The Eagles moved to 4-0 with that win, but with Brister and Ken O’Brien at QB for the next 12 games the Eagles finished 8-8. O’Brien went 4-12 for 36 yards and a pick in his final NFL game, a 7-3 loss to the Giants. He had two Pro Bowl seasons with the Jets before that.

Can I keep going? I can! In 1987 Randall Cunningham started and finished a victory over the Jets. In 1978 the Eagles beat the Jets 17-9 behind the quarterbacking of Ron Jaworski, now the only motivational speaker whose website offers weekly NFL picks. He had the Eagles winning yesterday’s game, 28-21.

In 1973, the first time the teams met, the Jets led the Eagles 17-0 in the second quarter. But Roman Gabriel, who’d win Comeback Player of the Year that season, quarterbacked the Eagles to a 24-23 win. He led the league in yards, completions, TDs, and interception percentage that year.

Harold Carmichael turned around and ran backwards the final five yards for his TD in this game. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” Carmichael said. “It’s been in my mind a long time. I never did it before because I never ran in a long one like that before.”

Jalen Hurts may go on to win an MVP like Gabriel did in 1969 with the Rams. But it will not be this year. He will not be leading the league in yards or touchdowns. He did throw 45 passes yesterday—Gabriel led the league in attempts with 460 in 1973—but he had by far the worst game of the season. His third interception was the worst play he’d made all year. He said he made the wrong read. Oh goodness. It was a pass right to Tony Adams, who returned the pick from midfield all the way to the eight. The Jets scored the next play for their first lead of the game, and for once it was Philly coughing up a double-digit lead in a game between the two teams. Jalen Hurts did what, uh, Roman Gabriel couldn’t.

Yes, things are better for the Eagles than they were after that first Eagles-Jets game, which came in the final month of a season where the Eagles went 5-8-1. Eagles fans might’ve even been happier after yesterday’s game. The big story after that game was that almost half the people who bought tickets did not show up. The big sellout crowd was because the Jets’ QB was Joe Namath. When he didn’t play in the rainy game due to a sore knee, fans chanted, “We want Joe! We want Joe!” They did not get their wish. “My God,” Frank Dolson wrote in the Inquirer. “Nearly 35,000 people had left their homes on a rotten day like this to see Al Woodall.” No one, it seems, had attended the game to see the Eagles.

This is not to put all of yesterday’s loss on Jalen Hurts. He threw three interceptions, but one wasn’t his fault: The pass bounced off Dallas Goedert’s hands. Jake Elliott missed a 29-yard field goal. DeVonta Smith dropped two passes. The Eagles’ run game was nonexistent. Time of possession was basically even. The defense played well, but the defense was also playing the Jets.

The Eagles will get a full house for next Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. The Eagles are 6-9 all-time against the Dolphins. If they play like they did yesterday, it’ll be 6-10. They are 5-1, but the Eagles stink!

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