Football Team

Eagles coach tried to explain why he pulled Hurts but Philly media wasn't having it

Football Team

With his team down three points to Washington entering the fourth quarter, Doug Pederson decided to pull quarterback Jalen Hurts and insert backup Nate Sudfeld, who hadn't seen the field in two years. 

Hurts had kept his team close against a stout Washington defense up to that point, but after Sudfeld came in, the Eagles' offense collapsed. Sudfeld committed two turnovers in his first five snaps on the field, all but giving the game, and the NFC East title, to Washington. 

Since the Eagles were already eliminated from playoff contention, the move sparked controversy as to whether Pederson and the Eagles were actually trying to win the game. Afterward, Pederson assured his intention was to beat Ron Rivera and dash Washington's playoff hopes. 

"Yes I was coaching to win, yes that was my decision solely," Pederson told reporters after the game. "Nate has been here for four years, I thought he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps. If there's anything out there that thinks I was not trying to win the game, [Zach] Ertz is out there, Brandon Graham's out there, Darius Slay's out there, all our top guys are still on the field at the end."

One reporter didn't buy that answer though, and he doubled down on the notion that Philadelphia did, in fact, tank the game for whatever reason. 

"Doug you pulled your quarterback when you were down three at the beginning of the fourth quarter," the reporter said. "I don't think anyone thinks that you weren't trying to do something in terms of tanking the game. My question to you then is, why would you do that? Is it just for the draft picks?"

 

"Pretty simple," Pederson said in response. "I wanted to get Nate some time and I felt it was the time to get him in the game."

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This season hasn't been the easiest for the Super Bowl-winning head coach. He saw his franchise quarterback regress to the point where he had to bench him, win one game against a starting quarterback (three against backups) and has recently had to answer questions about his job security. 

Potentially tanking a game at the end of the year is quite the capper to a disastrous 2020 campaign. As Philadelphia awaits the fate of its head coach, quarterback and front office executives, one thing is for certain. They have the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft thanks to tonight's result.