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Eagles News: “No person in the NFL had a bigger day” than Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/14/20.

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Week 14: The Beauty of Jalen Hurts; the Ugly Truth in Pittsburgh - FMIA
Offensive Player of the Week. Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Philadelphia. A few candidates here, with Derrick Henry rushing for 215 yards (this is getting absurd), and Mitchell Trubisky (I suppose) exorcising some sort of Deshaun Watson ghost with a strong game in beating Houston. But no person in the NFL had a bigger day, on offense, defense or special teams than the 53rd pick in the draft last April. Hurts was confident, decisive and productive in the season-saving win over New Orleans—and he won his first NFL start against the number one defense in the league. It is positively amazing the lift he gave this downtrodden team. The Eagles tried a thousand different ways after the game to say it was a team win and Hurts said every right thing. But let’s face it: Hurts gives the Eagles a better chance to win football games right now than the addled Carson Wentz.

Eagles vs. Saints Week 14: 11 winners, losers, and I dunnos - BGN
...and Hurts was the spark. That’s what he’s been called all week, and it proved an appropriate metaphor. As I wrote about last week when I advocated Hurts winning the starting job, it was clear that Hurts’ ability to escape pressure, scramble, buy time, and break tackles made the jobs of his teammates so much easier. With an offense that stayed ahead of the sticks and ate clock, the defense had to play fewer possessions, got more time to recover on the bench, and defended longer fields. It was complementary football. Hurts didn’t do anything spectacular as a passer, and was largely kept from running the base passing concepts that comprised the meat and potatoes of the Wentz passing game. Most of his explosive plays came as the result of scrambles against man coverage. It’s going to be tough to keep that going for the next few weeks with the same degree of success, but he showed accuracy when working the middle of the field — and that should encourage the Eagles’ coaching staff to put more on his plate next week.

The Kist & Solak Show #215: Hurts Leads Eagles to Win Over Saints - BGN Radio
Michael Kist & Benjamin Solak react to the Eagles 24-21 win over the Saints! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Early waiver wire targets for Week 15 fantasy football - Fake Teams
QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (17% rostered). Against a tough Saints defense, Hurts had a surprisingly solid day for the rookie’s first NFL start, throwing for 167 yards and a touchdown while also adding 106 yards on the ground. Oh and the Eagles won. Really makes you wonder why it took so long for Philly to shift away from Carson Wentz since he hasn’t put a good game together since... I mean, Week 6 against the Ravens of all teams? Hurts faces the Cardinals and Cowboys the next two weeks, both of whom offer favorable matchup to opposing quarterbacks.

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Saints game - PhillyVoice
As a passer, Hurts’ numbers weren’t flashy. He was 17 of 30 (56.7 percent) for 167 yards (5.6 YPA) and 1 TD. But he didn’t throw the ball to the other team, and he was very effective making plays with his legs. If his debut against the Packers a week ago was going to be any indication of what to expect going forward, it was that he was probably going to run a lot. And that he did, as he rushed 18 times for 106 yards. Doug Pederson would not answer whether Hurts will continue to start for the Eagles next Sunday against the Cardinals, but clearly he has earned that opportunity. There will be plenty to nitpick if you look closely at his day, and there were some obvious mistakes as well (his late-game fumble, for example), but on the whole, Hurts delivered a win, and in my view, exceeded expectations.

Funday - Iggles Blitz
The one thing we know is that Hurts did provide a spark for the whole team. There was a bounce in their step. Players played with energy and emotion. That will only continue if Hurts makes plays and avoids mistakes next week. I came away most impressed with Hurts from an intangibles standpoint. The moment wasn’t too big for him. Leading a bad team and struggling offense against the #1 defense in the league is quite a challenge. The Eagles scored their most points since October (yikes!) and broke a four-game losing streak. They never trailed in the game. The Eagles trailed by 10 or more points in 9 of the first 12 games of the season. That’s part of the reason they kept losing.

NFL Week 14 PFF ReFocused: Philadelphia Eagles 24, New Orleans Saints 21 - PFF
Hurts helped the Eagles move the ball against a stout Saints defense, giving them the early 17-0 lead. The offense sputtered in the second half, but the halftime lead was enough to secure the win. Philadelphia produced 0.23 expected points added (EPA) per play in the first half, their second-best mark in a first half this season. Hurts didn’t turn the ball over and threw for 129 yards, completing 12-of-21 passes and recording the first passing touchdown of his career in that half.

Oh, what a win! Hurts, Sanders, and gritty D lead to win - PE.com
It was breathtaking, really. The offensive design allowed Hurts to do damage with quick passes, easy completions, and some throws outside the pocket as well as plenty of run/pass options. The tempo was faster and there just seemed to be an abundance of energy from an Eagles offense that delivered 17 points on a Hurts-to-Alshon Jeffery touchdown pass, an 82-yard Miles Sanders run, and a Jake Elliott 44-yard field goal. All of that added up to a 17-0 lead and the Eagles could have had more had Elliott converted a simple 22-yard field goal as the half ended, but his kick clunked off the left upright and the momentum changed, as it has all season, right there. For whatever reason, the receivers created space, something in demand for much of the year. A short completion to Jalen Reagor running a crossing route turned into 39 yards. Jeffery caught a back-shoulder throw from Hurts for the touchdown. The balance was terrific as the Eagles accumulated 173 rushing yards to go along with 129 passing yards and, well, it was as perfect a half as the Eagles have played since whipping the woeful New York Jets in 2019, when the Eagles led 21-0? Or when the Eagles led Chicago 12-0 in Week 9 of last season? Whatever, it was electrifying.

Jalen Hurts Was Exactly What the Eagles Needed Against the Saints - The Ringer
When Eagles coach Doug Pederson named Jalen Hurts his starting quarterback this week, he made it clear that this wasn’t a long-term decision. Pederson specifically called Hurts the starter “this week against New Orleans,” and said he only hoped his second-round rookie could provide a “spark” for Philly’s stagnant offense. On Sunday, Hurts did exactly that. Hurts led the Eagles to a 24-21 win over the NFC-leading Saints, giving Philadelphia its most impressive performance of the season and keeping the squad’s longshot playoff hopes alive. And while Hurts’s final passing line—17-of-30 for 167 yards and a touchdown—doesn’t jump off the page, he was exactly the defibrillator the team needed. Hurts added 106 yards on the ground on 18 carries and led scoring drives on three of the team’s first five possessions. That Hurts did this against the no. 2 defense in the league and a squad that was in the pole position in the conference makes it all the more impressive, and should give Philly fans a sign of hope in an otherwise abysmal season.

How about Hurts? Roob’s observations after rookie helps lead upset over Saints - NBCSP
2. What does this performance mean for Wentz? It’s too early to say, but the plot definitely thickens. This was an auspicious debut for the 22-year-old rookie. He wasn’t perfect, but there were enough positives to really open your eyes. That juice we saw at the end of the Green Bay game we saw pretty much all the way through. I still believe Wentz will be here next year, but if Hurts keeps playing like this, and Hurts and Wentz are both here next year — which I fully expect — training camp next summer is going to be very interesting. If Hurts continues playing well, he’s going to deserve a fair shot at the starting job in 2021.

Jalen Hurts shines in Eagles’ upset — just don’t ask Doug Pederson to tell you - The Athletic
All Jalen Hurts did in his first career start was beat the NFL’s top-ranked defense, rush for the second-most yards by a quarterback this season, invigorate the Eagles and potentially save their season. Just don’t ask Doug Pederson to tell you any of that. The head coach was curiously tempered in his evaluation of Hurts after the Eagles’ 24-21 upset of the Saints. Pederson wouldn’t even commit to starting Hurts over Carson Wentz next week against the Arizona Cardinals, and that should have been Pederson’s easiest answer of the season. “It took everybody in uniform to win this game, not just one guy,” Pederson said. “And I’m going to repeat myself again that it takes a village to get this stuff done, and Jalen was a part of it, yes. But it took a team effort to win, honestly. I talked about the defense earlier, the plays that they made just time and time again. Again, Jalen was a part of it.”

By coaching Jalen Hurts so well, Doug Pederson has boxed himself and the Eagles into a corner - Inquirer
So where does that leave Pederson now? The Eagles can’t trade Wentz. It’s not the least bit practical. So if Pederson keeps shepherding Hurts to excellence through the Eagles’ next three games, he might save his job, but he’ll only complicate matters for himself and the franchise in the future. Joseph Heller would have a field day with this. Finally, as Pederson stood at the lectern in Lincoln Financial Field, the game long over, someone asked him: Your praise of Jalen seems tempered? Are you taking Carson’s feelings into consideration? “I have to take into consideration the entire football team,” he said. “Jalen played well. Obviously, we won the game. But there were a lot of good performances out there.” The coach’s included, to his own apparent consternation.

Jalen Hurts wins 1st QB start as Philadelphia Eagles stun New Orleans Saints - ESPN
Hurts and Sanders became the first Eagles quarterback/running back duo to each rush for 100-plus yards in a game since Donovan McNabb (107) and Duce Staley (126) in 2002 against the New York Giants. Hurts’ 106 rushing yards are the second most by a player in his first career start at QB since 1950, trailing only Lamar Jackson’s 119 yards in 2018, per Elias.

The state of the NFC East after all of Week 14’s action including a Dallas Cowboys win - Blogging The Boys
We have all made our jokes, but the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles took down the New Orleans Saints in Jalen Hurts’ debut is concerning to say the least. It was quite impressive. Overall much more data is necessary to properly evaluate who Hurts is going to be, but it’s possible that the Eagles are competitive in the future with him. Either way, their win helps boost the Cowboys’ draft pick odds so Dallas won in a number of ways on Sunday.

Giants-Cardinals ‘things I think’: Daniel Jones, not-so-special special teams, more - Big Blue View
I think Daniel Jones was a sitting duck. Coach Joe Judge talked for more than a week about not wanting quarterback Daniel Jones to play if he couldn’t defend himself in the pocket after injuring his hamstring against the Cincinnati Bengals. Judge played him because he felt he could, and defended the decision after the game. But, I disagree. The Giants’ quarterback was a statue in the pocket, the kind of “sitting duck” Judge said he didn’t want him to be. The zone read stuff the Giants had been using successfully before Jones was injured wasn’t even a consideration, taking a big weapon out of the Giants’ offensive arsenal. It’s absolutely fair to wonder if Judge should have gotten Jones out of the game much earlier, like at halftime. Or, in retrospect, if he should have played at all. It was apparent early on that he could throw, but he couldn’t really move.

Alex Smith suffers calf strain in Week 14, but x-rays negative - DraftKings Nation
UPDATE: Smith has a calf strain, but his x-rays were negative and the strain appears to be mild, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. His chances of playing next week against the Seahawks appear good.

11 winners, 2 losers from the Broncos 32-27 win over the Panthers - Mile High Report
Will Parks — The Broncos safety made his presence felt in his first game back. He was also over the field. Parks finished with six tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. Welcome back to Broncos Country, Parks.

Lock throws 4 touchdowns to lead banged-up Broncos past Carolina, 32-27 - 9News
Hamler had just two catches in the game — for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Carolina cornerback Rasul Douglas got burned on both. In fairness to Douglas, it looked like the safety came up on a shorter route and let Hamler free on the post. Douglas broke off his zone area and chased, to no avail. Still, Douglas also got whipped on a double-move by rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy for a 31-yard gain that set up an end-of-half touchdown to Vannett. “I noticed he kind of played a little flat-footed,’’ Hamler said from his film study of Douglas during the week. “Still a good player. I don’t think just because I scored, that doesn’t make him a bad player at all. It’s football. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. Just noticed he was a little flat-footed so just ... using my speed to my advantage was the best route for me.’’

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