With an energy that's been missing from this Eagles team for far too long, Jalen Hurts has rejuvenated both the team and the fan base this month. Hurts has brought a zest, a juice to Eagles football that had me more amped on Sunday than I had been all season, save for a little under two quarters way back in Week 1.
I had essentially a whole year's worth of passion built up watching Hurts battle Kyler Murray in Arizona. That's the problem more so than merely a loss to a playoff team in the Cardinals. The Eagles didn't have these vibes for the first 13 weeks of the season. Not only did the fan base miss out on watching Hurts' passes zip and the way he jukes linebackers, the Eagles themselves missed out on wins that would have had them sitting atop the NFC East standings with him in the lineup.
Not having Jalen Hurts as Carson Wentz's replacement sooner could ultimately cost this team its fourth-consecutive postseason appearance.
The way Wentz got benched mid-game against Green Bay back on December 6 should've actually happened five weeks prior. The Eagles were playing the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football on November 1, the last game before the team's Bye Week. Wentz was erratic with three first-half turnovers that had Birds down 9-7. They ultimately came back for the 23-9 win, but it was fool's gold.
Hurts could've found a rhythm against a poor Dallas secondary and then had an entire week off to prepare for his first career start. The Eagles dropped their next three games to the Giants, Browns and Seahawks where the Eagles scored exactly 17 points in each. New York won by 10, but the Cleveland and Seattle contests were one-score games. All three were winnable with simply competent quarterback play. The Eagles got less than that.
Winning that Giants game alone, one where the Eagles trailed by only four points entering the fourth quarter, would have the Eagles controlling their own destiny (forget what Chip Kelly has to say about fate and destiny for a second) the rest of the way in the NFC East even after that loss against Arizona.
Maybe Hurts has the Eagles steal one of those other games against playoff squads in Cleveland, Seattle or even Green Bay. The rookie signal-caller has proved he can hang with the big dogs the last two weeks, scoring 50 points total against two top-10 DVOA defenses.
Jalen Hurts' play has become the story of the season for Philadelphia. It could've been one of the stories of the season for the whole football world if the call to him came sooner.
The Eagles remain alive in the playoff hunt, but will need some luck to get there, much like they did in 2018. As that season wound down and as this one does too, Philadelphians are left wondering once again why the offense hasn't looked as good as it has in December all season.