It was a miserable first half for Jalen Hurts.
Going into halftime on Sunday at the Linc, Hurts had completed just 4 of 11 passes for a paltry 33 yards and an interception. He had a passer rating of 7.0.
And that’s what makes it so amazing that by the end of Sunday night, Hurts had put together a five-touchdown performance to lead the Eagles to an improbable 37-34 overtime win over the Bills, all while strengthening his MVP case in the process.
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Hurts is just clutch. There’s no other way to put it.
“That’s who he is, that’s what he does,” said Olamide Zaccheaus, who was on the receiving end of one of Hurts’ three second-half touchdown passes. “He’s shown that over and over and over again. A thing I always say: When someone shows you who they are, believe it. I believe that’s who Jalen is.”
The rest of the team and the city and the NFL believe it too. It’s impossible to ignore at this point.
Even if Hurts isn’t comfortable talking about himself in those terms.
“That’s not for me to concern or roll with,” Hurts said when asked about the “clutch” label. “I just try to go out there and play to the standard and be the best I can be for my team. There were times today I felt like I didn’t do that, but when it mattered most I felt like we did a good job of doing what we needed to do. We played team football, communicated well, and that’s all in the outcome of what happened.
“We really were on the same page when it mattered most and that’s all you can ask for. Anything else that I’m named or people want to roll with, I guess that’s for them to do so.”
By the end of Sunday’s game, Hurts had completed 18 of 31 passes for 200 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick. He also ran for 65 yards and 2 more scores, including the 12-yard walk-off in overtime.
It was the first five-TD performance of Hurts’ career.
And in the second half, Hurts completed 14 of 20 passes for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown in the second half.
“I think that it’s a Jalen performance,” Jason Kelce said. “There aren’t too many guys that I’ve played with, probably nobody I’ve played with, that’s been more clutch down the stretch. ... He’s been so good in crucial situations when things have to happen. That’s a trait not to take lightly. I think if you look at most of the best players, that is a trait that they have to have. It’s a big reason why we’ve won the last three weeks is his ability to really get it down down the stretch when it matters most.”
After the Eagles were able to hold the Bills to a field goal on the first drive in overtime, Hurts and the offense got the ball back at their own 25-yard line and had supreme confidence they were going to score.
They ended up needing just nine plays to go 75 yards and Hurts capped off the game-winning drive with a 12-yard keeper into the end zone to lift the Eagles to a 10-1 record.
It was Hurts’ fourth game-winning drive this season.
“They always talk about Tom Brady with the drives at the end,” Brandon Graham said. “I’m hoping Jalen starts getting that name. I’m happy that he went out there and just finished the deal. Had a game-winning drive. Keep them coming.”
Despite the awful offensive performance in the first half on Sunday, the Eagles still found a way to get another win. They now have a 27-2 record in their last 29 regular season games with Hurts at QB.
And Hurts has now won 14 straight games against teams with winning records, according to ESPN Stats & Info. That’s the longest streak in the NFL since 1950.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about Hurts is that the first half didn’t seem matter. He never wavered and simply fought back to lead the Eagles to another win.
There’s no doubting that clutch gene in Hurts. The special ones seem to have it and Hurts has it.
“You always want that trait, especially in the quarterback,” Kelce said. “Most of these games in the league are decided by less than a touchdown, right? So if you have a guy with that mentality to be able to play well down the stretch, I think that’s a good reason why we’ve won so many games the last two years.”