NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 3 Game Recap: New York Jets 31, Philadelphia Eagles 31

Kenny Yeboah after catching a Hail Mary pass thrown by James Morgan to come within two points with no time left in the game. The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets played a 31-31 tie in their final preseason game played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on August 27, 2021. As The Philadelphia Eagles Played The New York Jets In Their Final Preseason Game Played At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford New Jersey On August 27 2021

What a night.

The Friday night preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets was in doubt for a bit due to the field conditions at MetLife Stadium, but the grounds crew came to the rescue and shortened the delay. Still, most starters remained on the sideline once the game did start because of the weather and the fact that the teams held joint practices leading up to the game. This gave executives and coaches a better look at the players on the roster bubble before the big cutdown deadline on Tuesday.

Jets quarterback James Morgan completed a Hail Mary heave to Kenny Yeboah as time expired, and the resulting two-point conversion tied the game. Here’s everything you need to know from this drama-packed affair.


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NEW YORK JETS

Quarterbacks

With rookie Zach Wilson on the sideline, NFL journeyman Josh Johnson got the nod at quarterback and led an ultra-efficient pass offense. He helped generate 0.59 expected points added (EPA) per pass play on his dropbacks. The lone incompletion he had on the night was a drop, and he was a perfect three-of-three for 34 yards and a score on 10-plus yard throws.

James Morgan came in for relief and had a volatile night. He showed off the velocity he can put on the ball and did have a couple of big-time throws, but he also had multiple turnover-worthy plays, and his accuracy was all over the map. Morgan finished 7-of-14 for 65 yards with a touchdown and interception from a clean pocket.

Running Backs

Rookie Michael Carter handled seven carries on the night but found no success. He was contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on four of those. Carter broke one tackle and had 11 of his 12 yards after contact.

Adams had a lot more success than Carter and had the best night of any running back on the ground. He broke five tackles on 12 carries and picked up a 5-plus yard gain on seven.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Vyncint Smith, a 2018 undrafted free agent, was the only Jets wide receiver to pick up an explosive reception of 15-plus yards in this game. Keelan Cole only saw one target on his eight routes, and Braxton Berrios didn’t see any on his six.

Lawrence Cager had a ball wrestled away from him that resulted in an interception. He did have a diving grab on a strike from Morgan, but it was still not enough to negate the loss from earlier.

Chris Herndon ran seven routes on the night and didn’t garner one target. Daniel Brown, Kenny Yeboah and Trevon Wesco all ran multiple routes after Herndon. Brown had one of the most disappointing moments of the night, as he had a reception ripped out of his hands that Michael Jacquet III of the Eagles took to the end zone for a score.

Jets receivers with 10-plus routes run
Player Routes 15+ Yard Rec. Yards per Route
WR Jeff Smith 23 0 0.70
WR DJ Montgomery 20 0 0
WR Lawrence Cager 20 0 1.05
WR Vyncint Smith 16 1 2.00
TE Kenny Yeboah 15 3 6.67
TE Daniel Brown 13 0 1.00

Yeboah, on the other hand, had the best moment of the night, answering the Hail Mary prayer from Morgan. He also had a couple of explosive receptions outside of that big-time grab. Yeboah ended up having the best performance of anyone in the game and finished with 6.25 yards per route run.

Offensive Line

To no surprise, it was a lackluster night for the Jets’ reserve linemen. Four offensive linemen gave up a sack, one gave up a hit and another gave up four hurries. The two who didn’t lose a single rep were the two key players to watch in the entire game: George Fant and Morgan Moses.

Fant and Moses are in a battle for the right tackle spot upon Mekhi Becton’s return. The only mistake on a pass play from either of the two was Moses, as he had a false start penalty.

Defensive Line

It would have been great for head coach Robert Saleh if someone deep on the defensive line depth chart played out of their minds in this one to provide some hope with Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry out, but, alas, that did not occur.

The four edge defenders that played — Jeremiah Valoaga, Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Bryce Huff and Aaron Adeoye — combined for only four pass-rush wins.

Jets edge defenders

Player Pass-rushes Pressures Win Rate
Jeremiah Valoaga 25 1 4%
Hamilcar Rashed Jr. 21 1 9.5%
Bryce Huff 13 1 7.7%
Aaron Adeoye 8 0 0%

Interior defender Folorunso Fatukasi did pick up a sack and hurry on his four pass-rushes.

Linebackers

The safety-turned-linebackers — Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen — each had nights to forget. They both earned poor PFF grades upon first review. Sherwood missed a couple of tackles on the night, with one being the Boston Scott touchdown on the opening drive.

Blake Cashman, however, had a heck of a night. He picked up four defensive stops, matching the total of the rest of the Jets’ linebacker room combined.

Secondary

Starters Bryce Hall and Blessuan Austin both played nine coverage snaps. Austin gave up a catch and that ended up resulting in a 9-yard gain.

No corners on the Jets ended up making a play on the ball or recording a passing stop.

Safety Bennett Jackson was the lone player with a forced incompletion for his hit stick on tight end Jack Stoll.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts will finish the 2021 preseason with only a couple of drives under his belt. Veteran Joe Flacco got the start in his place, and he performed fairly well. The highlight of the night for the 36-year-old was an off-structure big-time throw to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that resulted in a touchdown. Flacco actually bailed on the pocket four times overall. He completed all three pass attempts he had for 11, 16 and 42 yards while taking off with the ball once for a 4-yard gain.

QBs when time-to-throw was 2.6 seconds or more
Att Comp Yds TD
Joe Flacco 6 5 103 1
Nick Mullens 2 2 11 0
James Morgan 13 6 89 1
Josh Johnson 2 2 25 0
Running Backs

Boston Scott had one of the highlights of the game on the opening drive. He turned a flare into a 49-yard touchdown and took a couple of souls in the process. One was a filthy move on J.T. Hassell. That ended up being Scott’s only significant play of the night, but it was an impactful one indeed.

Kenneth Gainwell had an impressive night on the receiving front as well. He generated 2.55 yards per route run after being targeted four times on 11 receiving snaps. One of those four resulted in an explosive pass play of 15-plus yards. Gainwell picked up 32 yards on five carries largely due to wide open lanes made by the offensive line. Only eight of those yards came after contact.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

No. 10 overall pick DeVonta Smith remained on the sidelines, but last year’s first-rounder Jalen Reagor got some run. He ran four routes on the night with his one reception being an impressive one. He converted that pass into a 19-yard gain after rolling over a defender and staying on his feet on a tackle attempt to churn out some extra yards.

Speedster Quez Watkins ran nine routes and didn’t see a single target.

Greg Ward Jr. saw the second-most receiving snaps (18) behind John Hightower (19). Ward’s night, however, was ruined by a pitch and catch drop and ended in 0.61 yards per route run.

Jack Stoll and Richard Rodgers were the two tight ends to see some action. Stoll was the one who got some targets, but he only turned one of his four into a first down. One was jarred loose by safety Bennett Jackson and fell incomplete. Stoll finished with 0.58 yards per route run on the night.

Offensive Line

Andre Dillard, Le’Raven Clark and Jack Driscoll put the clamps on New York’s inexperienced edge group while at tackle. Those three combined for only one loss, which didn’t result in any pressure (it was on Dillard). It may have been weak competition, but Dillard impressed in his return to the field after missing the first two weeks of preseason.

Brett Toth was the leader of the interior and perhaps the best performing pass-protector in Philly’s lineup. He played more pass-block snaps (29) than anyone and didn’t lose one.

Defensive Line

Milton Williams — the rookie that has everyone in Philly buzzing — only played six snaps. Another rookie got plenty of reps and had a stellar outing: Sixth-round pick Tarron Jackson was the most productive Eagles defensive lineman. He finished with four pressures on 25 rushes — one being a strip-sack — and came up with a tackle for loss against the run. T.Y. McGill did match him in total pressures with four but had more negatives against the run than the rookie.

Linebackers

Philadelphia gave four different linebackers 30-plus snaps: Rashad Smith, Shaun Bradley, Patrick Johnson and T.J. Edwards. Not a single one finished with a decent PFF grade upon first review.

Bradley had three run stops but also a multitude of missed reads that counteracted those positive plays.

Within all of the negatives, Johnson did pick up a hurry on the quarterback on one of his two pass-rushes.

Secondary

Michael Jacquet III made up for his six receptions allowed for 61 yards and a touchdown with a forced fumble returned for a touchdown. It looked like closing time after that play, but then the Hail Mary happened.

Safety JaCoby Stevens impressed with three passing stops on the night. Upon first review, he was by far Philadelphia’s highest-graded safety in coverage in this one.

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