Jalen Hurts

How Jalen Hurts figured out a new way to win

Hurts turned in one of the best performances of his career without relying on his legs

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A recap of the Eagles’ Week 8 victory over the Washington Commanders.

Ever wondered what Jalen Hurts’ game would look like if you removed running from his arsenal?

Turns out it looks pretty incredible.

Hobbled by a knee injury of unknown seriousness or origin, Hurts had just one rushing attempt Sunday – not including a keeper at the goal-line where he never even got the ball and two kneel downs at the end of the game – and his six rushing yards are his fewest ever in a game he started.

Transformed into a pure pocket passer, Hurts turned in one of the finest performances of his young career, completing 76 percent of his passes, throwing for 319 yards with four TDs and no interceptions and leading the Eagles to a 38-31 win over the Commanders at FedEx Field.

He's had a lot of brilliant passing performances the last couple years, but never one where his running game was a non-factor. 

“I know he’s tough and I’m not going to always know (how much he’s hurting) because he’s not going to tell me how he feels because he always wants it on him,” Nick Sirianni said. 

“That’s what you want from your quarterback, your leader. He played outstanding, completely outstanding. I think what you’re seeing is how good he is playing in the pocket where maybe he’s not feeling the best he can feel and can’t run or isn’t running as much that he’s playing outstanding football. I thought he played lights out.”

Hurts joined Donovan McNabb in 2005 vs. the 49ers and in 2007 vs. the Lions and Nick Foles in 2013 vs. the Raiders as only the third quarterback in franchise history to complete 75 percent of his passes and throw for 300 yards with at least four TDs and no interceptions.

His 135.7 passer rating was the 2nd-highest of his career – he had a 140.6 in a blowout win over the Steelers last year at the Linc – and was highest by an Eagles quarterback in a road game since Foles’ 149.3 vs. the Packers at Lambeau in 2013.

It was the highest passer rating by an opposing QB at FedEx Field since Josh McCown of all people had a 137.5 for the Bucs in a win in 2014 – one of McCown’s six road wins in his 18-year career.

Turns out Hurts doesn’t need to run to be effective. He doesn’t even need the threat of running to be effective.

“He’s a warrior,” De’Andre Swift said. “All I saw was him doing what he needs to do to get the win and making plays that he always does. He’s tough.”

On the heels of his performance against the Dolphins – 74 percent, 279 yards, two TDs – Hurts became the second QB in Eagles history with back-to-back games at 70 percent, 275 yards and two passes. Carson Wentz did it four weeks in a row in 2018.

Hurts is now completing 68.4 percent of his passes, on pace for 4,547 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing TDs. It hasn’t always been pretty, but he’s having a historic season and is on pace to break franchise records for passing yards and total touchdowns for the team with the best record in the NFL.

Hurts was so accurate Sunday he targeted A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith a total of 15 times, and they caught all 15 for 229 yards and three touchdowns.

Brown set an NFL record with his sixth straight game with at least 125 yards, and Smith caught seven passes for 99 yards.

With his 21st win in his last 23 starts, Hurts improved to 30-12 in his career as a starter and 29-9 under Sirianni.

The only quarterbacks in NFL history with more wins in their first 42 starts are Daryle Lamonica (36), Kurt Warner (34), Patrick Mahomes (34), Lamar Jackson (34), Dan Marino (33), Ken Stabler (32) and Ben Roethlisberger (31).

I don’t want to speak for him,” Brown said. “I don’t even want to say that he’s injured or whatever. But he played a great game today. He was hitting us in stride, just controlling the game, controlling the huddle.

“You know, as always.”

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