The last time the Jets began a season with three consecutive victories, it was six years ago, in Rex Ryan’s first season. That team bragged about its swagger and its defense, about its everything — or, the antithesis of the team under Todd Bowles, who demands excellence from his players but expects humility in return. And also perspective.
When asked last week about playing winless Philadelphia on Sunday, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said, “We’re not good enough to look past anybody.”
His remark was prescient. In their 24-17 victory at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles battered the Jets, who in a miserable first half self-destructed on special teams, sputtered on offense and buckled on defense. Unable to handle prosperity — and falling behind by 24 points — the Jets fell into second place behind New England in the A.F.C. East and dropped to 0-10 all time against Philadelphia.
After a week of absorbing praise for their shutdown of the Colts last Monday night, the Jets revealed how much they must improve. They missed tackles, generated little pressure and missed open receivers. If not for several drops by the Eagles’ running backs, the damage would have been far worse. After forcing turnovers at a record pace, with five in each of their first two games, the Jets produced only one takeaway — and then gave the ball right back.
Trailing by 24-7 at halftime, the Jets narrowed the deficit to 10 on a 7-yard catch by Jeremy Kerley with 9 minutes 37 seconds remaining, then regained possession after Demario Davis recovered a fumble. On the ensuing drive, Brandon Bair deflected Fitzpatrick’s pass at the line, and Jordan Hicks grabbed it for the interception.
Nick Folk’s 53-yarder with 2:34 left made it a one-possession game, but the Eagles recovered the subsequent onside kick and ran out the clock.
It was a valiant comeback from an offense that proved how difficult it is for the Jets to win without two critical players, running back Chris Ivory and receiver Eric Decker. The absence of a running game (47 yards on 16 rushes) forced Fitzpatrick to tie a career-high with 58 pass attempts, completing 35 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.