Exactly How Do You Stop Jalen Hurts And The Philadelphia Eagles?


In November 27’s 40-33 win over the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for only 180 yards. But he added 157 on the ground and earned NFC Player of the Week honors.

Fine, said the Tennessee Titans, we’ll control him on the ground. And they did, which limited Hurts to just 12 yards on five carries in Tennessee’s December 4 game in Philadelphia. The only problem was, Hurts threw for 380, and Philadelphia won what was supposed to be a fierce challenge, 35-10.

According to the Eagles, that made Philadelphia the first team to run for 350+ yards in one week, then pass for 350+ in the next week, since the 1987 Los Angeles Raiders. And let’s be clear — no offense to quarterback Marc Wilson, but a lot of that production came thanks to a backfield of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen.

Hurts has help, to be sure, but that yardage primarily came from his versatility itself. For head coach Nick Sirianni, it makes Hurts sui generis.

“He’s had two really good games in a row,” Sirianni said of Hurts to assembled media on Wednesday. “Like you said, it’s been really different of how he’s done that, right?… I know [former Chargers and Colts QB] Philip [Rivers] wasn’t running for all those yards like that. You talk about the good quarterbacks I’ve been around. Philip was more of a pocket passer. [Former Colts QB] Andrew [Luck] was a little bit more of a pocket passer, but had the ability to move and get out of things. But those were two more pocket passers.

“Again, Andrew could do some of those things. But [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is so dynamic as far as both the things he’s doing, right? You guys would know the stats better than I would, how many guys have actually thrown for that many yards after a game where they ran for that many yards? Setting a team record in rushing yards, then coming out and doing that. It’s pretty special. Obviously, you love that as a coach, to be able to work it both ways because you saw the effect it had on the defense. Without getting too much into it, there was a major effect.”


Not that his teammates aren’t taking advantage of it, of course. His backfield partner, Miles Sanders, stands at 924 yards rushing, just a stone’s throw from his first 1,000-yard season on the ground.

“He’s been really good this year as far as taking care of the football,” Sirianni said of Sanders. “He’s been really good this year of picking up pressures. He’s been really good this year of seeing the pressures and identifying it and everything.

“So those are things that — some of those things are not even about the yards. They’re about him and just the development of his game. He just keeps getting better and getting better and better. We all know how explosive he is and how good of a football player he is, but he’s just really taking advantage of all his opportunities. For example, yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities, but he took advantage of the ones he got. The week before there was a lot of opportunities for him and he took advantage of the ones he got.

“Miles has stayed healthy this year. I know he got dinged up a little bit last year. If he didn’t get dinged up last year, which is part of the game, we would be talking about how this is the second year in a row that he’s had a thousand yards. He’s done a nice job playing and doing all the little things right to help that room. And we look for him to continue to do all these things and I’ll be the first one to high five him when he hits that thousand yard mark and say, let’s go to the next one.”

But the extent to which the offensive skill position players work in tandem was never clearer than on A.J. Brown’s 41-yard touchdown catch against Tennessee. Watch as Sanders picks up the blitz, giving Hurts time to simply loft it into the air for Brown, who could have crawled into the end zone.

“I think the play of the game was the [WR] A.J. Brown catch, but it started up front with the protection part,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “They brought blitz and [RB] Miles [Sanders] picked up the blitz, we fanned out to the other guy and we got the one-on-one on the outside. It was a great team effort on that play.”

For the Giants, this game matters a great deal. For the Eagles, the question each week seems to be: how are we going to choose to beat you today?