Three weeks ago Jalen Hurts ran for 157 yards. Two weeks ago he threw for 380 yards. A week ago he didn’t really need to do much to lead the team to a 48 point performance. So there’s only a few things left for his bucket list this season: catch a touchdown, which would be super cool but also potentially a dangerous risk; and have a game where he throws for 250+ and runs for 100+. He hasn’t had that yet, such a game would give his already strong MVP credentials a boost. By the way, the Bears have given up 149, 158, and 172 rushing yards in their previous three games.
Jalen Hurts is the New Next Big Thing
Josh Allen’s breakout third season in 2020 broke QB evaluations. In Allen’s first year he was quite simply awful. In year three, he was MVP caliber, and in between he was both improved and not very good. Now everyone can hope any QB will be great! Physically gifted QB who doesn’t have great performances in the draft (Anthony Richardson)? The potential next Josh Allen! Your second year QB is struggling (everyone from the 2021 draft)? Josh Allen did too! Your rookie QB playing like crap (everyone from the 2022 draft)? Wait until next year’s next year like the Bills did with Josh Allen! Entering this season, Jalen Hurts was one of those QB who was being compared to Allen. Even Jeffrey Lurie did it.
He was right, and now the tables have turned. Jalen Hurts is the new third year QB that others are using as a touchstone.
Can Justin Fields get to Jalen Hurts' level?— ESPN 1000 (@ESPN1000) December 12, 2022
"If Jalen Hurts can be the MVP given the right circumstances and the right help and the right surroundings, what does that mean for Justin Fields?"
Listen to the full convo with @WaddleandSilvy and @TWaddle87: https://t.co/EycN1q18kN pic.twitter.com/tu9BfYWwa9
Being the guy that others hope their lousy QB turns into is about as high a praise as you can get. No one hopes that their QB turns into Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, or Jimmy Garropolo. They want the next Patrick Mahomes, the next Josh Allen, and now, the next Jalen Hurts.
December Rain on the Parade
In November Dan Orlovsky said Justin Fields deserved MVP consideration after a four touchdown game. Chris Trapasso called him the best QB from the 2021 class after a different four touchdown game. Pay no attention to those games being losses, or that three of the eight touchdowns were on the ground. Or that he passed for only 123 and 167 yards. Justin Fields, a quarterback, was making plays with his legs! This guy is incredible!
Now it is December, and that party is over. The Bears are winless since October, and the Fields hype has thankfully dissipated. Fields has four INTs in his last three games, Fields may be a hell of a runner, but as a passer he’s got a long way to go.
If we’re using Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts as guides, both of them made serious improvements in their second year. Allen cut his interception rate in half and his passer rating by 18 points. Hurts improved his completion percentage by nearly 10 points, dramatically cut his fumble rate from 6 fumbles in 4 starts to 9 fumbles in 15 starts.
Fields has improved his touchdown rate this season, going from a pitiful 2.6% to 5.1%, but that’s pretty much it. Fields had the worst sack rate last season, and has it again this season by a large margin. He had the second worst completion percentage last year, and has the fifth worst this year. He had the worst interception rate last season, and has it again this year. Yes, the talent around him is poor and last year he had a bad coach. But the same was true of Trevor Lawrence, and while Lawrence too struggled last year, he was decidedly better last year and is this year. And it’s not like Allen, whose top two WRs were John Brown and Cole Beasley, or Hurts with Jalen Reagor, had an abundance of talent to work with in their second seasons.
More importantly, the Bears don’t trust him. They spent the offseason making moves as if he was a seat filler until they get a QB they want, and they barely let him pass in games. He attempted 17, 11, 17, 22, and 21 passes in the first five games of the season; his season high is 28 attempts. Last season Hurts, who also didn’t throw much in his second season, had seven games with more than 28 attempts. If you’re going to be a QB, at some point you have to start playing like one.
The kids are alright
This week Todd McShay found out the hard way how social media is changing the game. McShay claimed that Georgia’s Jalen Carter, a potential Eagles draft pick if the Saints can help out, will probably drop on draft day because of “character issues.”
Todd McShay says Jalen Carter has character issues that could hurt him in the draft…— Jon Tweets Sports ☠️ (@jontweetssports) December 14, 2022
while simultaneously projecting Jalen Carter to go to the Seahawks with the #2 overall pick.
Was McShay on the sauce during this episode? pic.twitter.com/uk14dBLBeb
Watch the whole clip, McShay comes back to it at the end, which is when one usually walks back their claim a little. Instead he doubles down. And the host’s physical reaction to McShay when he drops this is pretty funny.
These supposed character concerns were news to everyone who covers the Bulldogs, but that’s never really mattered. It wasn’t that long ago you could say something like this, be wrong about it, and get away with it. Everyone would just forget about it and move on with no repercussions or regrets.
Not any more. College players, now with the freedom of the transfer portal and NIL deals, also have the freedom to use social media to destroy ridiculous claims like McShay’s. And Carter’s teammates did. TE Ryland Goede tweeted “What’s he like in the locker room you ask? One of my favorite guys to be around. ALL-AROUND STUD as a player and as a friend.” DT Christen Miller called him “an all around great player and person.” WR Randon Jernigan called McShay’s claim “absolute bull and slander.”
Stat of the Week That May Only Interest Me
Matthew Stafford, having the worst season of his career, suffered what should be a season ending injury three weeks ago.
He still has more passing yards than the Bears do.
Top 5 Lines From Christmas Vacation
1. Shitter was full!
I pity the person who lights a match within ten yards of it.
2. THE BLESSING
I pledge allegiance to the flag…
3. Joy to the world…
Tell me you don’t do this when plugging in lights
4. It’s the people that make the difference. Little people like you.
5. I did it
Yes this line isn’t humorous, but after it finally all comes together for Clark, that’s what the holidays are about.