Magnificent Jalen Hurts goes down swinging in Eagles’ Super Bowl loss | Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts made one mistake in Super Bowl LVII, as Kansas City and Philadelphia were trading blows early in the second quarter in Glendale, Arizona. Facing third and five from his 49-yard line, the Eagles star fielded a shotgun snap and lunged forward in an obvious quarterback draw play, only to immediately find himself under pressure from the Chiefs’ pass rush. As Hurts staggered to his right to avoid incoming Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, the ball slipped out and tumbled backward on to the turf. Without breaking stride, Bolton scooped it up at the 36-yard line and, with a three-man Chiefs convoy, sprinted into the endzone to tie the game at 14-14.

It was the kind of play that could have dented Hurts’s confidence, given that the last time he stumbled on a stage this big was when he was leading Alabama in the 2018 college national championship game. This time, however, a back-up wasn’t trotting on to the field to replace Hurts, because his error didn’t permanently halt the Eagles momentum. But it didn’t spare them from a 38-35 defeat either. In the end Kansas City were simply the more resilient team thanks to their Michael Jordan in cleats, Patrick Mahomes. The official record should reflect that, but for a play here or there, it could have easily been Hurts basking in MVP glory after leading his team to victory.

Certainly there was no shame in Hurts’s final 2022 postseason game. Altogether he accounted for four touchdowns, a record-tying three of them on the ground. His second-quarter touchdown throw to AJ Brown, a 45-yard heave that put Philly ahead 14-7, was a thing of absolute beauty, literally on the nose as he hit the Pro Bowl receiver on the beak of the eagle head painted in the endzone. Hurts also ran in the two-point conversion that tied the game at 35-35 in the fourth quarter, before Mahomes worked his magic to lead the Chiefs to victory.

Hurts led the Eagles with 70 yards rushing (a record for a quarterback in a Super Bowl) and 304 yards passing, completing 71% of his throws on 38 attempts, one shy of his season high – and a fair few of his incompletions were intentional throwaways. Even his dicey pass attempts into double coverage hit his Eagles receivers dead on-target.

The two sacks against him? At least one was technicality. The result of him coming up a yard short of the line of scrimmage as the Chiefs’ Khalen Saunders, a 325lbs defensive tackle who had a career-high 3.5 sacks this season, gave chase. Besides that? There was no touching Hurts on Sunday. He made all the right moves, his fumble excluded, while piloting the Eagles offense and dominating the clock.

If Hurts appeared to stagger at any point, it was late in the second quarter, after ripping off a 28-yard run on 4th-and-5 to put the Eagles in scoring position. His head hit the grass hard at the end of the play and, for a moment, he looked dazed while reaching for a hand to help him up. But once back on his feet, Hurts picked up where he left off, right back in the zone. Apart from one three-and-out possession early in the fourth, all Hurts incompletions, the Eagles offense kept soaring.

Patrick Mahomes cherishes Chiefs’ Super Bowl win ‘because of the failures’ – video

In the pantheon of great Super Bowl performances it was a different kind of Philly special, with Hurts barely eclipsed by the quarterback who beat him. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said it was Hurts’s best game in the two years they have been together, adding “he was in complete control.” Mahomes himself called Hurts’s performance outstanding.

Not surprisingly, none of this consoled Hurts. After the game he would choose his words carefully while recalling the fumble – more to give himself grace than to shirk responsibility. “It did hurt us,” he said. “You never know what [kind of] play it could be.”

It bears reminding that Hurts, starting in a Super Bowl in his third pro season, is a baby – just 24, an age where quarterbacks are forgiven for wilting under the bright lights. Dan Marino and Jared Goff revealed their inexperience on that same stage. Russell Wilson was just good enough to deliver a Seahawks victory in his first Super Bowl appearance. Ben Roethlisberger set a new low for QB rating during his first championship run – it was a wide receiver, Antwaan Randle El, who made the game’s signature throw to Hines Ward. Until this game only Tom Brady and Mahomes were celebrated as the cool kids at a Super Bowl, the young QBs who were born to shine on the big stage.

But Hurts didn’t just prove that he deserves to be in their company. He kept right on emboldening the Eagles’ fearlessness on late downs, helping them make 11 of 18 third-down tries while converting both their fourth-down attempts himself. (You could probably credit him with a third successful fourth-down conversion on a Chiefs neutral-zone infraction that came midway through the second quarter.) More to the point: he kept showing up for the Eagles on a night when their vaunted pass rush was nowhere in evidence.

On a Super Bowl Sunday that began with Philly fans suffering a cable TV outage after they had lined up in front of local bars that morning to sit vigil over the game, you’d think that Hurts would be the first person that they would tear into for ruining their night. Instead, they are clobbering the refs for citing Eagles cornerback James Bradberry for holding the Chiefs’ JuJu Smith-Schuster, a penalty that could have gone either way on a night where the few big calls in the game were dubious. That says everything.

When it really mattered, when the stakes were higher than a pregnant Rihanna’s floating platform during the half-time show, Hurts came through over and over – and more than likely would have come through once again if Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon had taken the easy go-ahead score instead of stopping just short of the endzone to kill the clock and set up Harrison Butker’s winning field goal. Given the payday ahead for Hurts, time will tell if Eagles GM Howie Roseman can keep this Philly roster competitive and exploit the quarterback’s prime.

In a moment that he could have easily backed down from, Hurts didn’t just keep swinging; he kept landing blows. Only his last throw at the very end of the game, a hail mary that fizzled out 20 yards short of the end zone, looked desperate.

#Magnificent #Jalen #Hurts #swinging #Eagles #Super #Bowl #loss #Philadelphia #Eagles

Leave a Comment