PHILADELPHIA (AP)Jalen Hurts had been more grounded this season than he was a year ago, when he was an explosive runner in a breakout season that saw him lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
The big plays will come, he insisted.
Hurts finally broke free Sunday in a win against the Rams.
The Eagles led by three in the third quarter when they faced third-and-7 in their own territory. Maybe the Rams would have one more scoring drive in them should they stop the Eagles and force a punt.
Hurts instead dropped back, faced pressure and took off toward his right sideline and beat two defenders before bruising his way for a few more yards. Hurts got 17 yards on the run that kept the drive alive and ended with a field goal.
That was the Hurts the Eagles had waited for this season.
“There’s gonna be games he has to get freaky out there,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “I thought he did a really nice job of making some plays that only he can make.”
Hurts passed for 303 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 72 yards and another score in the 23-14 win over the Rams. His 15 rushing attempts were a season best, as were the yards.
Hurts easily had his best all-around game of the season, one reason the Eagles are 5-0 for only the fourth time in franchise history. The last time? Yes, last season behind Hurts, who was the NFL MVP runner-up. (Philly also started 5-0 in 1981 and 2004.)
He was clutch on third down. Hurts had eight carries for 45 yards on third down and was 6 of 8 for 67 yards with one passing TD on third down.
“This is a results-based business,” Hurts said. “You’re judged on what you do and the outcome of what you do. Nobody really cares about how you do it. They want to see if you win or you lose; if it works or if it doesn’t.”
Most parts of the game are working for the Eagles and in a “results-based business,” only San Francisco (5-0) can match them as the best in the NFL.
The Eagles are feeling sack-happy again this season.
Haason Reddick had back-to-back sacks on third and fourth down in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles possession on the Rams 28-yard line with 2:50 remaining.
Rookie Jalen Carter had two sacks and became the third Eagles player to have 3 1/2 total sacks in his first five games, joining Corey Simon (4 in 2000) and Reggie White (4 1/2 in 1985).
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Call it the “tush push,” the “Brotherly Shove” or whatever the secret name really is, the play works: Hurts scored a touchdown on the Eagles’ signature short-yardage play.
But what about when the play isn’t called? The Eagles were only 2 of 6 inside the 20, one reason why Jake Elliott kicked three field goals against the Rams.
The Eagles totaled 454 yards but failed to score at least 25 points for the first time this season. It’s hard to complain when their record is 5-0. But at some point, the Eagles could find an expected win turn into a loss because of their failure to finish drives with a TD. Still, the Eagles had 415-plus total yards in four consecutive games for the fifth time in team history (1953, 2011, 2013 and 2022).
Welcome back, Dallas Goedert.
The tight end hadn’t had his number called for much of the season and seemingly was lost in the shuffle while Brown and Smith had all the 100-yard receiving games.
Against the Rams, Goedert broke through. He finished with a season-high 117 receiving yards and a touchdown. He also had a 49-yard reception in the third quarter, the longest of Goedert’s career.
Yes, sideline arguments are part of the game, but the Eagles have had unusually high instances of bickering between plays this season.
Sirianni chewed out Hurts after an interception and wide receiver Quez Watkins after a failed screen on Sunday. Eagles center Jason Kelce had animated conversations with Sirianni and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
“I’m not going to get into it,” Kelce said. “I think that I love everybody in this building like a family, I’ve been here a very long time. I think I just got a little bit too heated. The red zone has been frustrating I think for everybody. We’ve left a lot of points on the board. And I let myself get too frustrated, too animated. And it wasn’t productive.”
Sirianni brushed off the heated exchanges, saying: “This is the way football is. There’s a lot of emotions in it.”
DT Fletcher Cox (back pain) missed his first game of the season.
11 – Bad news this week for the Eagles’ next opponent, the Jets? Hurts has won a team-record 11 consecutive road starts since 2021, the third-longest streak by an NFL QB since the 1970 merger. Only Joe Montana (18) and Tom Brady (13) had longer streaks. Patrick Mahomes also won 11 straight road games over the 2019-2020 seasons.
The Eagles have another road game Sunday against the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off a 31-21 win at Denver.
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