Just when you start thinking, “Maybe Jalen Hurts just isn’t the guy,” he does something to make you think, “Maybe he is.”
First half Sunday, he missed a wide-open Dallas Goedert down the field while under heavy pressure, and then he missed DeVonta Smith in the end zone, although Smith claims he slipped.
Second half? Hurts was 7-for-8 for 108 yards, with five of the completions going for at least 19 yards, and he ran four times for 32 more yards, leading TD drives of 85 and 78 yards.
It was his work on the Eagles’ final possession that was truly impressive. With the Eagles trailing 24-17, he went 4-for-4, converted two 3rd downs with scrambles and capped the drive with a game-tying 28-yard TD pass to DeVonta Smith while under furious pressure with six minutes left.
The Chargers then drove down the field and won the game on a field goal with two seconds left.
And for Hurts, the loss overshadows all the positives from the second half.
“I think for me, I always look at it like, ‘What could I have done better to change the outcome of the game?’” he said. “That’s how I look at it all the time. Look at every opportunity you have and take advantage of every opportunity.”
But in the second half and on that final drive in particular, he showed why it’s still too early to conclude he’s not The Guy.
“Yeah, he was a stud,” Nick Sirianni said. “He was a big-time stud. … I think what was really, really impressive - obviously that (touchdown) throw was really unbelievable in the face of some pressure. … That's advanced football right there to be able to see what was going on and to be able to get the communication at the line of scrimmage and everybody be on the same page for a 28-yard score.
“He just was really unfazed by the scenario and just showed a lot of poise. Down seven, everything in his eyes said, ‘Put it on me and let's go. … And he made some unbelievable plays on third down. That play where he jumped over top and did the flip, I think if we had won that game, that would be a play they showed (in) Philly for a long time. He just was really composed in a tight situation. That's what you want out of your quarterbacks. That's what I've seen out of good quarterbacks in my past.”
What about the two first-half misses?
“I was expecting something else (on the Smith misfire) and ended up getting out the pocket and made a throw kind of back peddling,” he said. “Maybe I didn’t need to do that. I ended up leading him too much. It’s just a missed opportunity in my eyes.”
“And then I think about the opening drive to (Dallas) Goedert, I couldn’t really follow through with my throw and couldn’t finish through it. Maybe I could have gotten deeper in the pocket. It’s something I’m going to learn from, but I look at it as a missed opportunity for me regardless of (what happened) late in the game, what that looks like and putting us in a position to go in. It’s about what you didn’t do.”
Overall, Hurts was 11-for-17 for 162 yards, the one TD, no INTs for a third straight game and 62 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
It hasn’t all been pretty, and the consistency still isn’t there, but here we are nine weeks in, and Hurts is on pace to complete 62 percent of his passes for 3,742 yards with 21 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and 933 rushing yards with a 6.0 average.
“Sometimes I forget how young the dude is just because of how he has taken control of the team, taken control of the offense,” Boston Scott said. “Tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s an eraser, and what I mean by that is that when things aren’t right, he makes them right. So utmost respect for that guy and what he’s been able to do week in and week out. He’s a warrior. He’s a winner.”
Asked about the two 2nd-half touchdown drives, Hurts shook his head.
“It’s not about any of that,” he said. “I expect to do those things. I also expect to come out and start fast and do the things I need to do early in the game. We are looking at a potential 10-point differential in the game, maybe 14. So the stuff in the end, I expect that to happen. My coaches expect that to happen.
“‘What could I have done better from the jump? What are the opportunities that I didn’t take advantage of as the quarterback of this team?’
“Good, bad, or indifferent, I want to be better and I have to be better in the end. We have to be better as a group but I hold myself to a very high standard.”
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