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A Game of Time

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an old cliche that football is a game of inches. It’s also a game of time. A split second was the difference on Sunday between a potentially game changing play for the Eagles and an actual game changing play for the Jets.

On Bryce Hall’s interception, Jalen Hurts’ likely first read was open for a short gain right in front of him. Hurts was looking for something bigger, though, and he might have had it.

Down the field the Eagles had the potential for a big play. AJ Brown (red) was breaking in on an intermediate route, which drew the attention of Jordan Whitehead (purple). What Whitehead didn’t see was Devonta Smith (yellow) breaking into the vacated area.

Hurts sees this and is about to let the ball fly, but he’s hit as he throws it by Jermaine Johnson, leading to a wobbly pass that floats right to Hall.

I’m not saying this is a guaranteed big play. It’s a difficult pass to hit. Still, there was a window. If Johnson gets to Hurts just a fraction of a second later, there is a real chance this is completed for a big gain if not a touchdown. Instead the Jets got a key turnover in a game they eventually won by 6.

That’s how big of a difference a small amount of time can make in the NFL.