PHILADELPHIA – So we’ve learned that there’s nothing linear in the game of football.
Jalen Hurts was harassed in the first half against the Washington Commanders, unable to run and throw deep. Yes, he heard boos from the Lincoln Financial faithful after Washington’s commanders trapped him behind the line of scrimmage.
why not? The Eagles gave Hurts a contract extension worth up to $255 million, and this is no longer the Jalen Hurts of last season, when he was the MVP runner-up and seemed to have the answer to everything.
In the final minutes of the first half, with the Eagles trailing the Commanders by 10 points, Hurts seemed to have no answer.
That’s when wide receiver AJ Brown noticed something different.
“That fire,” Brown said. “He’s kind of woken up. It gives everyone a boost… He’s going to mature, but the Flames showed that desire today.”
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So Sunday, after leading the Eagles to what might be the ugliest game-winning field goal you’ve ever seen in overtime, hurt. Hurts’ touchdown on second down was deemed intentional, leading to a 54-yard field goal by Jake Elliott that sealed a hard-fought 34-31 victory over the Washington Commanders.
It doesn’t matter. Hurt gets the job done. Just like in the later stages of regulation. With 3 minutes left in the game and the game tied at 24-24, Hurts led the Eagles’ frontcourt offense and combined with Brown’s 28-yard touchdown run to take a 7-point lead with 1:43 left in the game.
Washington tied the game again on the final play of the game. The commander then got the ball to enter overtime, and the defense forced a punt.
Hurts is outstanding in many ways. He completed 25 of 37 passes for a season-high 319 yards. He threw two touchdown passes to Brown, advancing 59 yards and 28 yards respectively.
He’s terrible. When Hurts tried to run, he often couldn’t escape Washington defenders. He seemed slow, indecisive and confused by reports. Hurts rushed for 34 yards on nine carries. But he had a 24-yard rush in the second half, while Hurts gained 10 yards on eight other carries.
“My whole career has been a roller coaster of different, unique, unprecedented moments, you name it stress, storms and fire,” Hurts said. “This is the environment I was born into. In this There’s a unique feeling to those situations because you work so hard, you prepare so hard, you go through a lot to put yourself in a comfortable position in those moments.”
This also means a few things. The Eagles are 21-1 in Hurts’ past 22 regular-season starts heading into the 2021 season. Since 1950, only quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Jim McMahon, Joe Montana and Darryl Lamonica have been able to do so. Tied that record in 22 games.
Not a bad company.
After the first half, left tackle Jordan Mailata felt the fire from Hurts and center Jason Kelce. Mailata said it wasn’t anything they said at halftime. It’s more of a feeling of being on the court.
“You could tell after the first half that we didn’t play our best football,” Mailata said. “That lit a fire inside (Hurts and Kelce). I’m just happy to be with them because they brought me out of the darkness of the first half, and it was inspiring.”
It wasn’t meant to hurt what he had to say, nor was it a shout-out to his teammates.
“Jalen doesn’t get angry,” Mailata said. “If anything, Jay is more angry with himself than he is with anyone else. He doesn’t take it out on anyone else.”
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into it.
Hurts’ messy game was also a microcosm of the Eagles’ defense.
They were torn apart early by commanding quarterback Sam Howell, who was sacked nine times and threw four interceptions in a 37-3 loss to Buffalo last week . The Eagles didn’t take a hit on Howell, however, until Nicholas Morrow sacked him midway through the second quarter, at which point the quarterbacks had scored 75 yards on each of their first two possessions.
It was the first of Morrow’s career-high three sacks in the game. Haason Reddick, who ranked second in the league with 16 sacks last season, picked up his first sack of the season in the fourth quarter.
However, Howell got the ball back for a touchdown with 1:36 left. I converted fourth-and-2 at midfield. He passed on the sideline to Terry McLaurin, who went out of bounds at the Eagles’ 10 with 5 seconds left. With 2 seconds left in the game, he had another chance, hitting a corner kick in the Dason area at the end of the game to send the game into overtime.
Then in overtime, safety Reed Blankenship pushed McLaurin out of bounds on third down, forcing a punt.
Hurts’ game-winning performance wasn’t pretty either. But Hurts scored a fourth-and-1 from midfield. After an intentional touchdown (Brown stopped the run when Hurts threw deep), the Eagles got third-and-17 from the Commander’s 45, with Hurts completing a 9-yard pass to Devonta Smith.
That was enough for Elliott’s game-winning goal. For the Eagles and Hurts, that’s the only thing that matters.
“I thought he played a key role, just a key role,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “I think that’s the best way to put it. Whether it was the offense in overtime or the offense where we scored with just over a minute left. We didn’t have a lot of possession in the first half, but we needed it at halftime (shooting) can start.
“Clutch. I think that’s the best way to put it.”
So what did Hurts learn from his time in those pressure-filled moments leading the Eagles to another hard-fought victory?
“Nothing,” he said. “This is me. That’s it.”
Please contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow X @Mfranknfl.