NFC East Reporter
PHILADELPHIA — It has been a month because the Philadelphia Eagles actually appeared like themselves. For the previous few weeks they have been sloppy, sluggish and maddeningly inconsistent.
So on Sunday evening, they turned to Jalen Hurts to make them proper.
Their star quarterback and MVP candidate did simply that, carrying the Eagles by one other shaky efficiency by operating 17 instances for a career-high 157 yards and finishing 16 of 28 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. On an evening when the Eagles’ protection struggled, their particular groups was a multitude, and their high receiver, A.J. Brown, had hassle holding onto the ball, Hurts did all of it in a wild, 40-33 win over the Inexperienced Bay Packers, prepared to the Eagles to their tenth win of the season.
“He had a particular sport tonight,” mentioned Eagles coach Nick Sirianni. “A extremely particular sport.”
He certain did. And thanks largely to Hurts’ particular efficiency, the Eagles flexed their speeding sport muscle tissues once more, operating for a ridiculous 363 yards — the second-highest whole in franchise historical past. Hurts and operating again Miles Sanders (21 carries, 143 yards) grew to become the primary teammates in Eagles franchise historical past to every high 130 speeding yards in the identical sport.
That wasn’t a coincidence, both. That is who the Eagles are speculated to be — an influence operating group led by an influence operating quarterback. They have not appeared very similar to themselves since they got here off their bye week, though they’d received three of their 4 video games since. The final three particularly had been struggles, with powerful wins over the Texans (29-17) and Colts (17-16) sandwiched round their solely lack of the 12 months (32-21 to the Commanders).
They had been sloppy and turnover-prone and struggled to deal with in all of these video games, and it was extra of the identical in opposition to the Packers. The distinction this time was that Hurts, their unquestioned chief, took management.
And when he does that, every thing is healthier, particularly on the offensive aspect of the ball.
“He opened it up right now, sure he did,” Sanders mentioned. “It is good to have a quarterback like him, the place he can simply drop again and if he would not see nothing and it seems to be cloudy, he can take off and get 20 yards a (rush). That is going to kill a protection and make them change their play-calling. It makes all of them discombobulated.”
Hurts did that proper from the start of the sport, peeling off 24 and 28 yards on “off schedule” quarterback attracts, as Sirianni described them, on the Eagles’ opening landing drive. He additionally had a 42-yarder later within the first quarter that arrange a 2-yard Sanders landing run.
Altogether, Hurts had by no means run fairly like this earlier than. His solely earlier 100-yard sport was his very first begin, two years in the past, when he rushed for 106 yards in opposition to the New Orleans Saints. He blew previous that by halfway by the second quarter. He had 10 carries for 126 yards by halftime. He had 5 runs of 10 yards or extra in all.
How did he do it? “I do not know methods to reply that query,” Hurts mentioned. “I ran and so they could not get me.”
And due to that, the Packers protection discovered it onerous to cease anybody. They surrendered 500 whole yards within the sport.
“You get the linebackers and D-ends guessing,” Sanders mentioned. “As a result of they do not know if we will run it up the center and get 5-10 yards or he will pull it and achieve 10-20. It places the protection in a tricky spot.”
And that retains the go rush on its heels and opens issues up within the passing sport, which helped Hurts have the time to throw a picture-perfect, back-shoulder go to Quez Watkins for a 30-yard landing late within the first half. He added a 6-yard landing go to Brown on the primary drive of the second half, too.
They usually wanted each little bit of it. The Packers managed to search out the identical holes within the Eagles’ protection that so many others have discovered this season, choosing them aside with 106 speeding yards and making them pay for missed tackles within the passing sport. Inexperienced Bay’s backup quarterback, Jordan Love, threw a 63-yard landing go to a wide-open Christian Watson within the fourth quarter, on his third drive after Aaron Rodgers left with an indirect harm. The Packers additionally obtained assist from Brown, who had a expensive first-half fumble that was returned 63 yards by Packers linebacker Quay Walker to arrange a landing go from Rodgers to Aaron Jones. Brown dropped one other go, too.
And that wasn’t all. The Eagles’ kickoff protection group gave up returns of 38, 52, and 53 yards to Keisean Nixon. And kicker Jake Elliott missed an additional level.
None of that is uncommon anymore in Philadelphia. The Eagles have appeared off like that for a lot of the final month.
Which is why they wanted Hurts to remind everybody that he is nonetheless an MVP candidate, and nonetheless able to carrying his group after they want it. For some cause, the Eagles had barely used Hurts within the speeding sport over the previous 4 video games, when he ran simply 26 instances for 88 yards. It is as if Sirianni forgot that Hurts is their greatest participant, that they are at their greatest when the ball is in his arms. As a result of when he is going like that, he opens issues up for everybody.
That’s who the Eagles are.
“If the run sport is working, we’re not going to draw back from it,” Sanders mentioned. “We have been dominant each time we keep on with the run sport.”
They’ve. They usually’re much more dominant when Hurts is a giant a part of that. He has a singular capacity to maintain defenses off steadiness and knock them off their sport when he runs.
“That is what Jalen does,” Sirianni mentioned. “That is the place he is actually particular, when he could make these performs along with his toes.”
That is a giant a part of why the Eagles lead the NFC with a 10-1 file, and why they’ve appeared just like the group to beat within the convention all season lengthy. Hurts has been the engine for the offense — perhaps for the whole group. And if the Eagles are actually going to make a run on the Tremendous Bowl this season, they are not simply going to do it on his shoulders. They will need to do it on his legs, too.
They obtained away from that a little bit an excessive amount of over the previous month. However his efficiency on Sunday evening reminded everybody how particular he’s.
“Jalen, he is enjoying out of his thoughts this 12 months,” Sanders mentioned. “We’re successful due to him.”
Learn extra Week 12 protection:
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, protecting the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years protecting the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years protecting the Giants and the NFL for the New York Day by day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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Publish date: 2022-11-28 11:50:23
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