Instant analysis: Jalen Hurts steals the show in narrow loss to Cardinals

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 18: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) celebrates after a two-point conversion in the second half during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles on October 18, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles fall short of a heroic comeback after dropping to a 16-0 deficit in the first quarter.

A hugely impressive effort from Jalen Hurts just wasn’t enough on the day. The Eagles gave it everything they had in what was a heartbreaking 33-26 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The game was filled with drama, injuries, brilliance, and heartbreak. Here’s everything you need to know.

Welcome to the Jalen Hurts show

There is no denying just how special Jalen Hurts is. The composure, the athleticism, and the confidence were all on show in what became a gut-wrenching loss. The Eagles went down 16-0 quickly, but a spirited effort from the rookie QB saw him rack up 338 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, and 63 rushing yards, as he completed 24/44 pass attempts. He also added a rushing touchdown to his resume, becoming the teams’ only ever rookie QB to score 4 touchdowns in one game.

He’s not perfect, but nobody is expecting him to be. For a rookie QB in his second NFL start, with the pressure being so high, Hurts did a phenomenal job (for the most part) of protecting the ball and giving his receivers a chance to make a play. There were some truly magnificent throws embedded in this loss along with some scintillating rushes on 3rd and 4th down that very few quarterbacks could make.

I don’t know what this means for the future, but it’s hard not to come away anything other than absolutely stunned at the unrelenting effort Hurts left on the field.

All things considered

The Cardinals have a lethal offense filled with terrifying playmakers, and a defense that’s topped to the brim with young talent. Considering how injury-ravaged the Eagles are in the secondary, this was a somewhat impressive effort.

The stat-line shows 406 passing yards for Kyler Murray, 169 receiving yards for DeAndre Hopkins, and another touchdown to Eagles killer Larry Fitzgerald, but the pass-rush played a solid game and outside of a few clear whiffs, the secondary did their best to bend and not break.

On the offensive side of things, Matt Pryor wasn’t as terrible as many would’ve assumed and while there was still a ton of pressure given up, the running-game coming to life was an invaluable addition that gave the team a fighting chance.

Schwartz and Pederson both called arguably their best game of the season and it almost ended with the Eagles upsetting a very dangerous Cardinals team. A loss should never be satisfying, but it’s hard to be disappointed with a game that a lot of people expected to end in a blowout.

More underdogs to steal our hearts

Marcus Epps turning into a baller overnight after a torrid start to his Eagles campaign, who’d have thought? Michael Jacquet III becoming the latest practice squad hero to steal the show, who saw that coming? Quez Watkins bursting down the sideline after a spin on a screen and breaking out for a 40-yard game? Destiny.

There always seems to be a late surge from the Eagles just as all hope fades. Underdogs rise, some upsets follow suit, and the team find an identity at the last possible second. Tonight was no exception.

For as much criticism as Howie Roseman endures, you’ve got to hand it to him when games like this occur and so much hope forms from the most unlikeliest of places.

A dagger in the heart

This loss was ultimately a tragic blow to take. The Eagles are now at the bottom of the NFC East and likely out of playoff contention barring an absolute miracle and a win against the WFT in week 17. To lose on the final play of the game after such a hard battle could well be the nail in the coffin this season, but it’s not all bad.

It does of course see them soar up the draft order temporarily. The Eagles would currently pick 7th overall in the first-round which is a favorable spot to be in. Is it time for one last rally to try and clinch a divisional crown, or instead an opportunity to focus on the bigger picture?

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire