The nightmare play that marred Hurts' Super Bowl performance


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nobody's ever done what Jalen Hurts did Sunday. Nobody's ever played like Hurts did. Nobody's ever put together a performance like this one.

Not on this stage. Not on any stage.

Hurts on Sunday became the first quarterback in NFL history -- in the regular season, postseason, Super Bowl, you name it -- to complete 70 percent of his passes, throw for 300 yards with no interceptions, rush for 70 yards and score three TDs.

It was a monster performance in any game, much less by a 24-year-old second-year starter in a Super Bowl.

But knowing Jalen Hurts, the one play he'll dwell on the most in the Eagles' 38-35 loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII Sunday won't be one of his big throws down the field to A.J. Brown or DeVonta Smith or one of his mighty 4th-down keepers or one of his electrifying touchdown runs.

It'll be the fumble.

The one blotch on his historic performance was Hurts' second-quarter fumble that Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton picked up on one bounce and returned 36 yards for a touchdown.

The play cost the Eagles seven points.

The Chiefs won by three.

No game comes down to one play, but that one really hurt.

"I always hold myself to a very high standard in everything that I do," Hurts said. "Obviously, I try and control the things that I can. I touch the ball every play, so I just try and protect it. 

"But it hurt us. You never know what play it will be, but it hurt us. You look back and reflect on some of the things that you could have done more, you could have tried and done something to change the outcome of the game."

Other than that one play? Hurts was masterful.

He completed 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards and a TD and ran 15 times for 70 yards and three TDs. That's 374 total yards, and the only quarterbacks to net more yards in a Super Bowl are Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.

Not bad company.

That's how good Hurts was.

"I mean, if there were any doubters left, there shouldn't be now," Patrick Mahomes said after his second Super Bowl MVP performance. "I mean, the way he stepped on this stage and ran, threw the ball, whatever it took for his team to win. I mean, that was a special performance and I don't want it to get lost in the loss that they had. 

"Even whenever we got all the momentum in that game, and we went up eight points in the fourth quarter for him to respond and move his team down the football field and run in himself in a two-point conversion, it was a special performance by him."

Hurts' three rushing touchdowns tied the Super Bowl record set by Hall of Famer Terrell Davis of the Broncos against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII after the 1997 season in San Diego.

His 103.4 passer rating isn't just the highest ever by a quarterback under 25 in a Super Bowl, it's 17 points higher than the previous high -- Brady's 86.2 against the Panthers in Houston after the 2003 season.

His four total touchdowns have been surpassed in a Super Bowl only by Montana and Steve Young and matched by Brady, Troy Aikman, Doug Williams and Terry Bradshaw. 

Hurts was in a typically philosophical mood after the game at State Farm Stadium.

"I don't do this to be loved, I don't do this to be hated, I don't do this to seek anyone else's approval," he said. "I do it for the guys in the locker room. I do it for all the time that we've invested into this. I do it for the love and thrill of growing that something and putting the work in and going out there and get it. You go out there and you make it happen.

"It is a tough feeling to come up short. It's a very tough feeling, but I know the direction is to rise and that will be the M.O. going forward, that will be the mentality going forward. That is the mentality."

It speaks volumes when a young player is able to raise his level in the biggest moments when the stakes are the highest.

Hurts has done that all year, but Sunday was a masterpiece.

Other than one play that he'll have a hard time forgetting.  

"To me, Jalen played the best game I've seen him play in the two years that we've been together," Nick Sirianni said. "He was outstanding. I really thought he was in complete control. He did things with his legs in the run game. He did things with his arm in the pass game, made some unbelievable throws, unbelievable reads. 

"I thought he played outstanding. And you know, you really look at the game and that was good for the NFL in the sense that the two best quarterbacks in the NFL played against each other on the biggest stage in the biggest lights. And Jalen played great."

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