Eagles’ Jalen Hurts beats Lions 38-35, with legs, feet… and demeanor
DETROIT – Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts faced a wall of blue-clad Honolulu fans screaming from the end zone at Ford Field, trying to create a distraction that would send the Eagles offense into an error at most. deep in the Detroit Lions red zone.
Hurts looked around at the Lions defense, which was huddled around the line of scrimmage at fourth and on goal late in the first quarter. Hurts didn’t think about the stagnant start to the offense in which he missed his first five pitches and struggled to advance his receivers or think about the poor performance in the Wild Card game nearly eight months ago against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Instead, Hurts wanted to look to even the score. Taking the snap, Hurts faked a pass to running back Miles Sanders before firing the ball and speeding around the corner, earning the Eagles’ first touchdown of the season.
Hurts’ legs were the main reason the Eagles were able to turn things around offensively, helping the Eagles start the season with a 1-0 record after beating the Lions 38-35. However, the combination of his timely plays and his ability to stay unfazed despite a rowdy road crowd showed early signs that he is the player who could lead the Eagles to a deep run this season.
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Hurts finished the game with 243 passing yards, but his 90 rushing yards helped extend drives and changed the way the Lions played defense. Hurts tried to get through the air a lot, but the Lions were using the blitz to try and slow Hurts down, which led to rushing passes that missed the mark.
However, as if speaking to the media, Hurts appeared unfazed, speaking calmly into the group as the Lions took a 7-0 lead. Hurts has occasionally become the unofficial fourth running back on the roster, with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen seeming fine with using him on runs designed to slowly silence the Ford Field crowd. The Eagles even used Hurts on the game-ending quarterback.
The Lions became more aware of the effect Hurts had once he was on the outside, opening up midfield for running backs Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott to run. Hurts’ legs also forced the Lions’ seven defensemen to look into the backfield, opening up the secondary a bit more.
Hurts also showed his ability to make the right decisions, protecting himself by slipping when he saw that there were no more yards to gain. Hurts’ calm demeanor even earned the Eagles extra yards via penalties thanks to the frustration of the Lions, who were called for three personal fouls trying to stop Hurts. It also led to safety Tracy Walker being ejected for hitting Hurts late before hitting another Eagles player.
It’s still very early in the season, with 16 more regular season games to go. However, the atmosphere in Detroit is what Hurts will face in the playoffs, and he passed the test, even if they head to the playoffs.
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Chris Franklin can be reached at email@example.com.