Doug Pederson said he benched Carson Wentz and went with Jalen Hurts in the third quarter on Sunday because the Eagles needed a spark.
Hurts provided that spark.
But when asked who his quarterback will be next Sunday against the Saints, Pederson dodged the question and didn’t give a definitive answer.
“You’ve gotta let me get through this game,” Pederson said.
“You just heard me say we needed a spark in this game to try to get some things going. I’ve gotta get through injuries, I’ve gotta get through the tape. There’s a lot of things that I’m going to consider and evaluate before anything’s decided.”
Hurts took over on the Eagles’ second possession of the second half in the Eagles’ 30-16 loss to the Packers. It was the Eagles’ sixth offensive possession of the day and the rookie immediately provided a boost.
“I just felt like where we were as an offense, we needed a spark,” Pederson said. “We needed something to kind of go our way and so I decided to put Jalen into the game.”
With Wentz as the QB, the Eagles picked up 127 yards of offense on 36 plays (3.5 yards per play). With Hurts, the Eagles gained 151 yards on 24 plays (6.3).
Hurts averaged 9.1 passing yards per attempt today; Wentz averaged 5.3.
Sure, Hurts was playing from behind and that very likely played a big role in his success. But it was pretty clear the offense seemed to find a rhythm with Hurts that it was simply missing with Wentz. Hurts was under some pressure but stayed calm in the pocket and navigated his way out of trouble a few times, something Wentz struggled to do on Sunday.
Pederson said that when he made the decision to make a QB switch, he told Wentz and Hurts that Hurts was coming out for the next series.
“Obviously, Carson was very supportive and helped Jalen on the sideline as we were, as coaches, trying to communicate with Jalen on the next series,” Pederson said. “That was it."
Wentz said that was all that was communicated to him, that Hurts was coming on for the next series. He said it was “frustrating” as a competitor to get pulled.
While the Eagles were forced to punt on Hurts’ first series of the game, he threw his first touchdown pass on the second. Hurts capped off an 83-yard scoring drive with a beautiful 32-yard touchdown strike to Greg Ward on 4th-and-18 in the fourth quarter.
After Jalen Reagor returned a punt for a touchdown, the Eagles had cut the score to a touchdown. But then the offense sputtered and Green Bay added an insurance score on a 77-yard run from Aaron Jones.
Still, it ended up being a pretty good day for Hurts even though the stat line wasn’t incredible. Hurts completed 5 of 12 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown and a late interception. He also had five carries for 29 yards.
Hurts finished with a passer rating of 67.7, while Wentz had a passer rating of 57.4.
Earlier this season, Hurts had been in games sporadically but hadn’t gotten a chance to really play quarterback. Before Sunday’s game he had attempted just three passes.
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