All Jalen Hurts could do was watch.
While Hurts was quick to take ownership for his mistakes in the Eagles’ 27-24 loss to the Chargers, he still put his team in a good position at the end of the game. He led the Eagles on a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24 apiece.
Then he watched as his defense gave away the game.
“It hurts to see another team go out there and it not be in your hands at the end of the game to go out there and win it,” Hurts said. “That’s why you play the game, that’s why you play this position – to have it in your hands to go win it in the end.
“We put ourselves in a good situation, a good position, to obviously go tie and continue to keep it in the game. Ultimately, in the end we didn’t get the ball back and didn’t get an opportunity to go out there and score.”
After Hurts hit DeVonta Smith on a 28-yard touchdown play to tie it, the Chargers got the ball back on their own 25-yard line with 6:07 remaining in the game. Then they slowly squeezed the life out of the Eagles’ defense, winding down the clock before kicking a game-winning field goal with seconds left.
When the Eagles’ defense desperately needed a stop, it couldn’t get one.
The Chargers marched down the field on 15 plays, happy to bleed the clock, before Dustin Hopkins hit a 29-yard field goal to win the game.
“You just want to get a stop in that scenario and give the ball back to the offense,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “That's the name of the game and that's what you want to happen.”
On that game-winning drive, the Chargers converted on two 4th-and-1s. The first came from the Eagles’ 39-yard line; Austin Ekeler ran for 2 yards. The second came from the Eagles’ 28-yard line; Justin Herbert sneaked it for a yard to move the chains.
Two chances to force a turnover on downs and give Hurts a chance to be a hero. And they just couldn’t make it happen.
“At first, I thought we had it,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said of the QB sneak from Herbert. “We got such good push. When you have Fletch (Cox)and (Javon) Hargrave and all the big dudes up there, they are hard to move. It was so close. That is how it went most of the game. We didn’t make the play to stop the drive and things like that. Obviously, it is disappointing.”
After Herbert converted that 4th-and-1, Ekeler broke free for a 16-yard gain up the middle to turn a long field goal into a chip shot. And that was that.
The Eagles’ defense did get some stops in this game; the Chargers were just 3-for-6 in the red zone. But Herbert completed 84.2% of his passes as Jonathan Gannon reverted to an all-too-familiar passive scheme.
The Chargers scored on all four of their second half possessions. Punter Ty Long had a relaxing afternoon off.
Despite all that, if the Eagles would have just stopped them once on the final drive of the game, they might have pulled out a win. But we’ll never know.
“I definitely feel like we had some chances, especially on 4th-and-1 to come up big,” Hargrave said, “but we didn’t get the job done.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: