Eagles continue to flash potential of a true NFC contender

NFL: SEP 12 Eagles at Falcons
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles during the 2021 Week 1 NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 12, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Yesterday’s surprise win over the Carolina Panthers was anything but pretty. In fact, it might be the ugliest win in quite some time. But the fact that the Eagles were able to not only hang in and finish the job, but do so in a way that flashed the potential that inspires real hope, has to be commended.

The opening three quarters of the game were disgusting on offense. Jalen Hurts had just 74 yards at halftime and it took a late surge to even reach that point. The rogue streaker who stormed the field probably had more yards than the offense did at that point. But in the second half, the sun started to rise.

Nick Sirianni started sprinkling in runs (both QB and RB) and taking the clock into consideration. The timeouts weren’t burned by the midpoint of the final quarter, unlike both of the team’s most recent games, and Jalen Hurts started to really thrive under the pressure. A deep bomb to Quez Watkins not only ensured that he remain atop the NFL in average yards per reception, but that the team went surging into enemy territory. This was a huge momentum swing after their three previous drives ended in a punt and two turnovers.

Hurts would then put the offense on his back after Shaun Bradley blocked a huge punt, sprinting into the endzone on an option play to push the Eagles ahead. What really shocked the world was the two-point conversion completion to DeVonta Smith that followed. Hurts was forced out of the pocket and threw a dart back across his body to find his collegiate teammate in the back of the endzone in remarkable fashion.

In a game where the defense put in a huge shift and there was a massive effort on special teams, including a 58-yarder from Jake Elliott, the big thing for the Eagles offense was that they found a way to score. It took an entire half and even then there were still errors, poor reads, and penalties abound, but they found a way. Nick Sirianni did change things up, and his young quarterback showed tremendous poise despite literally everything falling apart around him. He kept his team focused, the chains moving, and heads lifted.

The Eagles didn’t play brilliantly yesterday and they’ll be the first to admit that. But they found a way to overcome their own setbacks, fix their own mistakes, and do just enough to push themselves over the line. With some real flashes of elite potential along the way, it simply becomes a case of removing self inflicted wounds.

It won’t happen overnight, but it’s hard not to see how high this ceiling is for Jalen Hurts and the next generation of Philadelphia Eagles football.

Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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