Oh, What a Night! Outside of the playoff game last year, this may have been the biggest game of Jalen Hurts Eagles’ career. The eyes of the nation were on him. And when the stadium lights went on in Philly for Monday Night Football, Hurts shined brighter than any of them. No one is going to argue this was the most impressive Hurts has looked in an Eagles uniform. Not just with his legs, but with his arm. He played like a true star. His efforts carried the Eagles to an easy 24-7 win on Monday Night Football.
From the first drive, he was locked in. He took them right down the field, completing 6 passes to 5 different receivers before taking them into the end zone himself. Two drives later he heaved a deep pass right on the money into the waiting hands of Quez Watkins. And two drives after that he had what was maybe the most impressive scramble of his short career to take it 26 yards into the end zone. He didn’t have an incompletion until 12 throws in. And that completion was a laser accurate pass to Goedert, he just could finish the catch through contact.
Hurts finished with 333 yards, completing 26 of 31 passes, for one TD and an INT. But those numbers don’t begin to tell the tale of how impressive he was. It was a career night for him. Hurts’ career has been defined by criticism, both fair and at times unfair. But there should be none tonight. He looked the part. Not as a running QB. But as an NFL QB, who happens to be great at running the ball too. Nearly every pass he made tonight was perfect, or at least near to it. The one blemish on his stat line was an interception that went off the hands of Kenny Gainwell.
Does this mean all the issues are fixed? No, but it is a damn good start. Many people, myself included, were down on Hurts before the season. But once the Eagles didn’t trade to acquire Russell Wilson or any other QB, it was necessary for us all to embrace him as the Eagles QB. He did enough last year to earn that chance. The Eagles went out and gave him everything a young QB could want. And two games in, he is showing it has paid off.
Everything about him off the field is easy to love. He is an undisputed leader of this team. Plus he is incredibly easy to like. And if the start to this season is any indication, he may just be super talented as well.
Oh and let’s not forget the defense. Jonathan Gannon is the only member of this team apart from Hurts with a claim to most criticized person in Philadelphia. And his defense showed up huge tonight. Not just holding them to 7 points, but making multiple big stops in chances when the Vikings had a chance to swing momentum. They forced 3 turnovers in the 2nd half.
To open the 2nd half the Vikings were driving. A Touchdown may have changed the course of the game. But then Slay picked off Cousins in the Red Zone. And then the Vikings blocked an Eagles FG and returned all the way close to the Red Zone. The defense prevented a momentum shift again with an interception, this time by James Bradberry. And then after the lone Jalen Hurts interception, the Vikings found themselves in the Red Zone a third time in the half. And for the third time, the Eagles forced a turnover. Again by Slay.
The big questions coming into this game, and this season, were Jalen Hurts, and Jonathan Gannon’s defense. It is hard to imagine either of them giving a stronger answer to those questions than they did tonight.