One week earlier, Jalen Hurts ran for 157 yards, part of a 363-yard effort for the Eagles, as the team stampeded all over the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, Hurts threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, combining a total control of the offense and making safe passes to keep the chains moving with the go-for-it-mentality that has defined the team's vertical passing game in 2022.
There are many ways to be an assassin, and in his second full season as the Eagles' starting quarterback, Hurts is hitting all the right cues.
His brilliance has again been recognized by the NFL as Hurts on Wednesday was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive game, becoming the first Eagle to accomplish the feat since Michael Vick in 2010. It is the seventh time the Eagles have been honored with Player of the Week honors – most by an Eagles team since 2004, also seven – and Hurts was also named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month in September.
The NFC's weekly honors: Special teams: CB Zech McPhearson (Week 1 at Lions), PK Cameron Dicker (Week 5 at Cardinals); Defensive: CB Darius Slay (Week 2 vs. Vikings), DE Brandon Graham (Week 3 at Washington), LB Haason Reddick (Week 4 vs. Jaguars); Offensive: Hurts (Week 12 vs. Packers, Week 13 vs. Titans).
What Hurts did on Sunday against Tennessee was just so lethal. He picked apart Tennessee's defense every which way and finished with those 380 passing yards and three scores on 29 of 39 passing. Hurts went downfield to inflict the most damage, using A.J. Brown (8 catches, 119, 2 TDs) and DeVonta Smith (5-102-1) to tear apart the coverage.
Hurts now has 20 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions, and he's been able to take chances throwing the ball down the field while minimizing the risk, a very difficult trick for a quarterback.
"I think that's what has been happening all year," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. "He has three interceptions on the year, so he's been pretty careful with the ball while still being aggressive. That's the art to it, right? Be aggressive and be able to create explosive plays while taking care of the football. That's why only so many people in this world can play the position that he plays. Because you want to be aggressive. You know explosive plays are key to your success on offense, but you also know turnovers can doom you as well. So, there is an art to that, and he's done a good job of that all year. Today particularly a lot of the throws were outside. When a lot of the throws are outside, there is usually only one guy that can get it. It's either our guy or their corner."
Two weeks. Two wins. Two huge games by Hurts in different ways that were both recognized by the league with an individual honor. To Hurts, of course, it's all about the team. He understands that the only way to have individual success is to have success as a team.
And that is what is happening for Hurts and the Eagles in 2022.
"I just think it's us trying to go out there and do our jobs individually and as a group. Nothing good ever gets done if every man doesn't do their job and dominate their box and that's what we strive to do," Hurts said after Sunday's win. "I come up here (to meet the media) and I give these analogies about steakhouses or whatever, but that's our reality. We work really hard and we prepare really hard, and sometimes it just looks different. Regardless of how we're attacking a defense, we just want to execute in whatever it is we're doing. We want to make the right plays, make the right decisions with the football, protect the football, and put points on the board. Early on in the game, we talk about the things that we can control, the self-inflicted wounds, the personal foul penalties, the holdings, the false starts.
"Those are things that we can control and those are things that we have to clean up after reflecting on today. We just want to continue to grow. It's the same old message with me. We just want to continue to grow, to continue to rise, to continue to learn from everything we do good and bad, and grow from it."