Jalen Hurts Earns His First Win as a Starter in Upset Victory Over the New Orleans Saints
The Philadelphia Eagles rookie Quarterback Jalen Hurts saw his first action in replacement of a struggling Carson Wentz in week 13 against the Green Bay Packers. Discussion of Wentz being benched for Hurts has been the talk of the Eagles for weeks, Hurts was subbed in the 2nd half and gave Eagles life on offense. Driving down the field and nailing Wideout Greg Ward to close in on the Packers’ lead. The Eagles fell short of victory but Hurts' performance was enough to convince Head Coach Doug Peterson to start against the 10-2 New Orleans Saints. As Peterson has been on the hot seat recently with continuous mediocre losses with Wentz starting.
Coming into the Eagles’ matchup with the Saints, the New Orleans defense was ranked 2nd best in the entire league. The fierce defense that has not given up more than 20 points to their opponents in their last five games. The Saints’ D is also top five in fewest yards allowed per game and is tied for the third-most interceptions (13) this season. The Saints are fresh off of a nine-game winning streak, even in Drew Brees’ absence. A tough matchup for any Quarterback, especially the rookie’s first start.
Despite the odds, Jalen Hurts prevailed going 17-for-30 for 167 yards and a touchdown in the air, along with 18 rushes for 106 yards on his feet. Finishing with a passer rating of 83.6. Hurts became the first player to rush for 100 yards against the Saints in 56 games, the longest streak in the Super Bowl era. An impressive performance, a dual-threat attack pushed the Eagles to a 17-0 lead at halftime. Eagles Running Back Miles Sanders had an incredible performance as well, with 14 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles’ running game was dominated with the Hurts and Sanders duo, becoming the first Eagles’ Quarterback and Running Back to reach 100 yards rushing in one game since Donovan McNabb and Duce Staley in 2002 against the Giants.
The Eagles reached their first victory since Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, more than likely saving Peterson’s coaching job. With this win, the Eagles improve to 4-8 and in contention for the NFC East title, keeping their playoff hopes alive. With two back-to-back 100-yard passing performances with a touchdown, Hurts looks to continue his success as the likely starter for the rest of the season. In the past two games, Hurts has shown to be more effective than Wentz, and Hurts’ performances are deserving of the starting role. As the Eagles finish out the year at Arizona, at Dallas, and home against Washington to close the season.