Eagles at Jets preseason score, takeaways: New York completes last-second Hail Mary to set up 31-31 tie game

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The Eagles and Jets are both starting over in 2021: New coaches, new starting quarterbacks and new expectations. On Friday night, they had another big similarity in their final preseason game of the year: The same score! Squaring off roughly three months before their scheduled regular-season matchup, Philadelphia and New York played to a 31-31 tie (preseason games no longer go to overtime), capped by a bomb of a last-minute Hail Mary touchdown pass by Jets backup James Morgan.

Here are some takeaways from Friday night's preseason finale for the Eagles and Jets:

Why the Eagles tied

Let's start with the good: Joe Flacco was sharp and steady behind good protection, finishing 13-of-16 for 188 yards and two touchdowns starting in place of the resting Jalen Hurts. He had little trouble getting the ball out quickly against his 2020 team, and rookie running back Kenny Gainwell (59 yards, 1 TD) was a big help as a multipurpose weapon. Veterans Boston Scott and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside also contributed big plays to help the Eagles go up 14 at one point. Now, the bad: Reserve cornerback Michael Jacquet stood out when he forced a fumble and scooped it and scored himself, but right afterward, he allowed Jets tight end Kenny Yeboah to reel in a game-tying Hail Mary. He was victimized earlier, too, as James Morgan let it rip in the second half. Philly also struggled to contain the run down the stretch, allowing Josh Adams, Ty Johnson and Jeff Smith to break off big gains.

Why the Jets tied

Again, let's go with the good stuff first: James Morgan, for all his unnecessary throws, did not give up and showcased his cannon of an arm, putting a laser on the Hail Mary TD to Yeboah. Early on, veteran journeyman Josh Johnson was efficient in limited action, going 7-of-8 for 73 yards and a TD as the official starter, with Zach Wilson and backup Mike White resting. On the ground, Adams and Johnson both looked worthy of roster spots, combining for 115 yards. The bad? Morgan was wildly inaccurate and/or risky for much of his time vying for the No. 3 QB job, going 13-of-23 through the air with a pick. Hardly any receivers stood out. And the defense was at least a step behind the Eagles' backups to open the game, despite Robert Saleh's supervision. With a more aggressive start to the game, or a more reliable finish, they could've easily stolen the victory.

Turning point

In a tie game, how can it not be the moment James Morgan's rocket-armed bullet to the end zone somehow ended in Yeboah's arms, amid a cluster of Jets and Eagles bodies? It didn't seal the final score; New York still had to execute a two-point try. But it certainly confirmed that the Jets were not out of the mix. Good for them carrying some momentum, real or not, into the real games.

Play of the game

We'll give you two, because we know you're dying to soak up preseason highlights. First, Morgan's game-changing Hail Mary:

And then, just as proof that Joe Flacco is, in fact, still employed as an NFL QB, this beauty of a roll-out TD to Arcega-Whiteside:

What's next

The Eagles will open their 2021 regular season by visiting the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 12. The Jets, meanwhile, will open their season the same day by visiting the Carolina Panthers (and old friend Sam Darnold) that afternoon.

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FRI 7:30 P
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NYJ -4, O/U 33

Season Leaders

passing
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J. Hurts 1480 YD, 8 TDS, 4 INTS
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J. Hurts 1480 YD, 8 TDS, 4 INTS
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Z. Wilson 1117 YD, 4 TDS, 9 INTS
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Z. Wilson 1117 YD, 4 TDS, 9 INTS
rushing
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J. Hurts 53 ATT, 300 YD, 5 TDS
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J. Hurts 53 ATT, 300 YD, 5 TDS
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M. Carter 47 ATT, 165 YD, 2 TDS
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M. Carter 47 ATT, 165 YD, 2 TDS
receiving
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D. Smith 27 REC, 345 YD, 1 TD
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D. Smith 27 REC, 345 YD, 1 TD
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C. Davis 20 REC, 302 YD, 3 TDS
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C. Davis 20 REC, 302 YD, 3 TDS
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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 3:15 AM
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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 3:04 AM
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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 3:01 AM
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Excellent effort from Eagles cornerback Michael Jacquet to get the late strip and then recover his own forced fumble, returning it all the way for six. That's probably a wrap and a Philly "W," and a sour way to go out if you're the New York offense.

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The Jets' James Morgan sure likes to sling it. But still not sure he's making a great case to stick as the team's No. 3. Yeah, the arm talent is there, but he's also throwing against third- and fourth-string corners and still struggling to hit on the deep/risky shots he likes to take. Completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes deep into the fourth quarter here.

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@Eagles via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:37 AM
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@Eagles via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:27 AM
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@Eagles via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:20 AM
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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:15 AM
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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:06 AM
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Ty Johnson emerging as the star of the Jets' second half here, adding a touchdown to an increasingly impressive night and pulling New York within one score as we enter the fourth quarter. The 23-year-old reserve running back is up to 53 yards on 13 carries, far and away the leader in the backfield for Gang Green tonight against the Eagles. Also has 12 yards as a receiver.

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@nyjets via Twitter
August 28, 2021, 2:02 AM
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Jets now trail by 14 after Jake Elliott connects on the field goal. Nick Mullens never looked fully comfortable on that scoring drive, but Elijah Holyfield helped do some of the heavy lifting out of the backfield, making a couple of nice gains on short catches. Let's see if James Morgan can find any kind of rhythm for New York as he looks to secure a job as the club's No. 3 QB. Josh Johnson getting the first reps tonight would seem to indicate Morgan is on the outside looking in behind Zach Wilson and Mike White.

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Former 49ers backup Nick Mullens now in the game at QB for the Eagles. He's struggled mightily in the preseason thus far. This is his last chance to prove he belongs as the No. 3 behind Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco, but don't count on Philly reserving a spot for him.

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