Slated to face a fierce, veteran Saints defense in his first NFL start, expectations were modest at best for rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. Entering into Sunday’s contest against Philly, the Saints’ defense had been incredibly stingy in all facets. The impressive unit was surrendering the fifth-fewest passing yards per game and second-fewest rushing yards per game, respectively. The vaunted defense was also allowing a meager 20.1 PPG, which reflects just how few flaws they carried.
On the other hand, the Eagles had been a disaster offensively for what feels like all season. Stunted drives, lack of explosion and creativity, and costly turnovers have plagued an offense that no longer strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents.
After Sunday’s game, though, defensive coordinators may ruminate over the Eagles offense a bit more than they anticipated.
With dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts under center, the Eagles offense got the spark they needed. Following long stretches of lackluster productivity, the team broke out in a big way, especially on the ground. Against a Saints defense that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2017(!), the Eagles posted a whopping 246 rushing yards on New Orleans. In the process, the Eagles finished with not just one but two 100-yard rushers in Hurts (106) and Miles Sanders (115).
The offense was far from perfect, but it’s hard not to be impressed or at the very least encouraged by what took place Sunday evening. It’s been discussed at length already but the Eagles offense has been a complete dud under Carson Wentz all season. Finally seeing the offense find its mojo was a breath of fresh air and the rookie Hurts deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround.
Against a veteran Saints defense, Jalen Hurts never got overwhelmed or out of the moment. All game he extended plays with his legs, turning nothing into something like a magician. He also showed toughness by absorbing a big hit on a touchdown strike to Alshon Jeffery.
“We got this win, but is it up to our standard of play? No. So that’s why I say we have so much to build on and so much more to work for,” the former Alabama and Oklahoma standout stated. “[We] have to continue to build, continue to learn. Every game is an opportunity to learn and we need to use it to our advantage moving forward.”
The talented rookie expanded on how the offense could improve even further, citing missed opportunities left on the field.
“One thing when I look back on this game, a lot of money [was] left on the table for us. A lot of money on the table we left out there. We’re very excited. We’re happy we got a ‘W’ against a really good team. But we’re going to go back to work. We have a 24-hour rule on this thing, we clearly understand that. A lot to work on, a lot to build on. I’m excited to get back to practice, honestly, and get ready for the next game.”
Again, he wasn’t spectacular in his debut, but his ability to make the routine throws and open the run game up impressed the coaching staff enough to give him the starting nod against Arizona this Sunday.
In that matchup, Hurts will be afforded the chance to cash-in on some of the money he claims the offense left on the field against the Saints.
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