PHILADELPHIA — The Jets returned from their bye week telling everyone they were refreshed and that it was a new season. But their first game back looked so much like their last one, and the one before that.
Adam Gase’s offense again was pitiful and the game was out of reach early. This is not the identity the winless Jets want, but it’s becoming theirs under Gase.
The Jets looked totally overmatched and were manhandled in a 31-6 loss to the Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles busted through the Jets’ made-over offensive line for 10 sacks. They overwhelmed starting quarterback Luke Falk. He was sacked nine times and committed three turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
At 0-4 and with their next two games against the Cowboys and Patriots, things can get a lot worse for the Jets if the offense doesn’t get immeasurably better.
“We all know what group needs to play better,” Gase said. “That’s on me. I told those guys in there that I’ll get it fixed. It’s on me, it’s on nobody else. That’s what we’re going to do.”
The Jets hoped to have Sam Darnold back for this game, but he was not cleared as he continues to recover from mononucleosis.
He took all of the first-team reps in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but the Jets learned Thursday night that his enlarged spleen hadn’t reduced enough for him to play, so Falk began taking first-team reps Friday.
When Darnold returns, he could provide a boost, but the Jets’ troubles go beyond one player.
Gase made changes to the offensive line, inserting two new starters, rookie Chuma Edoga and Alex Lewis. That move proved to be a fix for the Eagles. Philadelphia had only three sacks in the first four games but more than tripled that against the Jets as Falk had to run for his life.
He left late in the game to be checked for a concussion, although Gase said he was cleared. David Fales, who was signed Friday, played one series and was sacked once.
Falk was 15-for-26 for 120 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and one fumble. He threw a 51-yard pick-6 to Nathan Gerry in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, Orlando Scandrick ripped the ball out of Falk’s hands and took it 44 yards for the score.
But the Jets scored their first offensive touchdown since Week 1 — and second all season — with big help from their special teams.
After Trenton Cannon recovered a muffed punt at the Eagles’ 19-yard line, Vyncint Smith took a reverse 19 yards for the Jets’ first offensive touchdown in 40 possessions. After a failed two-point try, the Eagles led 24-6 with 14:32 left. The Jets had only 89 yards of offense before that play and 20 after it.
“We’ll get turned around,” said Le’Veon Bell, who had 88 yards of total offense. “I don’t know what day or what game or what month it’s going to be and what’s going to do it. I know we’re going to find some way to get the ship sailing in the right direction.”
The Jets trailed 14-0 before the first quarter ended. They gave up a touchdown on Philadelphia’s first series — a 1-yard run by Jordan Howard — and then Falk gave one to the Eagles when he
was picked off on fourth-and-1 on a poorly designed play.
Falk faked a jet sweep but there was no one there, and when he tried to hit Bell in the flat, the Eagles weren’t fooled. Gerry stepped in front of Bell and put the Jets in a two-touchdown hole.
“Once I saw Bell take off, I knew that’s where the ball was going,” Gerry said.
It wasn’t tough to read the Jets — again.
In the first quarter, Bell touched the ball on nine of their 11 offensive plays. The other two were an incomplete pass and the interception. The first-half total was Bell 15 touches and the rest of the Jets three.
They had 14 series. Six were three-and-outs, three ended in turnovers and one ended with a missed 55-yard field-goal attempt by Sam Ficken that wasn’t even close.
But the Jets say they will stick together and figure this out.
“We’re going to continue to fight for each other,” left tackle Kelvin Beachum said. “We love one another. We love the guys in this locker room. These guys are tight. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not quitting. We’re not throwing in the towel. We’re not pointing fingers. We’re going to find a way to fix this thing.”