Jalen Hurts enjoyed another poised performance as he accounted for 401 total yards and four touchdowns. He continued to provide that spark that forced Carson Wentz to the bench. However, Doug Pederson wouldn’t commit to him for the rest of the year.
The Philadelphia Eagles head coach refused to name Hurts next week’s starter following his team’s 33-26 loss in Week 15. Pederson told reporters he needed to “get through this one” first before making any rash decisions. He was keenly aware of a damaging report saying that Wentz was unhappy with the current quarterback situation. The one-time franchise quarterback has been a consummate professional ever since being benched, according to Pederson.
“Carson’s a pro. He’s done everything we have asked him to do,” Pederson said. “Look, I get it. It’s a frustrating situation for him but I see him engaging and helping Jalen — and helping this team, and that’s what he’s doing.”
Carson Wentz didn't have to have his agent leak a story about how he's unhappy. Alex Smith was playing way, way better than Wentz when he lost his job both to Colin Kaepernick and to Patrick Mahomes, and both times he took it with nothing but class. Wentz should do the same.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 20, 2020
Hurts finished 24-of-44 for 338 passing yards and three touchdowns, plus ran 11 times for 63 yards and another score. When asked about whether he deserved to be the permanent starter, the 22-year-old deflected that loaded question back to Pederson.
“I want to win, I just want to win,” Hurts said. “That’s something you got to ask Coach [Pederson]. Back to the drawing board I go and we go as a team.”
Pederson revealed he’ll announce his Week 16 starter in the next day or so. It seems obvious it will be Hurts, especially after hearing him praise the kid from Texas.
“I thought he had great poise out there, great leadership,” Pederson said. “Played physically tough, mentally tough, especially in the second half. Played well, played really well.”
"Carson has done everything we've asked him to do… He's engaging and helping Jalen."
Doug Pederson on the report that Carson Wentz is unhappy in this situation with the #Eagles. Syas he understands it's probably frustrating for Wentz, but sees him helping Hurts. pic.twitter.com/j5YWSs42eN
— Kristen Rodgers (@KristenERodgers) December 21, 2020
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Leaving ‘Money on the Table’
Hurts has introduced a new phrase into the Philly lexicon and it’s a good one. For the second straight week, he told reporters that the Eagles “left money on the table” despite putting up 26 points and 422 total yards of offense on the board.
But those numbers were shallow because they didn’t result in a win. Not good enough for anyone, least of all Hurts himself.
Jalen Hurts the first Eagle with 300 pass yards, 3 pass TD and 1 rush TD since Mike Vick in 2010 against Washington on Monday Night Football pic.twitter.com/1Rc4ye4ElT
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 21, 2020
“I think I hate losing more than I love to win,” Hurts said. “It’s not a great lesson but it’s a lesson. I get to reflect on it, got a nice little plane ride back to think about things, and then back to work.”
Much has been made of Hurts’ leadership and maturity as a fresh-faced rookie. Odd since he speaks like a sage old veteran. He took full blame for costing the Eagles valuable seconds at the end of the game by taking two unnecessary sacks during the two-minute drill. That’s on him, not his inexperience.
“I could care less to hear of the rookie stuff or second start stuff,” Hurts said. “We left money on the table. It all comes down to that E word: execution.”
Hurts Praises Wentz for Supporting Him
Reported cracks in the relationship between Wentz and Hurts are seeking to puncture the Eagles’ precious bubble, maybe tear down the whole building. That is the picture being painted by outsiders.
Meanwhile, Hurts has gone on record several times about Wentz being a great teammate, a supportive voice and a valuable resource. He doubled down after Sunday’s 33-26 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
“A lot of great input from him [Wentz],” Hurts said. “From Nate [Sudfeld], from Coach Press [Taylor], from Marty [Mornhinweg], Coach Doug — everyone is pushing forward and trying to help this team win. We’re a good enough team where we can control our own destiny.”
Eagles lose to drop to 4-9-1 and into last place in the NFC East. Need a win at Dallas next week and help from both Carolina and Baltimore if they're going to have shot at winning the division. Might be eliminated from playoff contention before even playing the Cowboys
— Pat Ralph (@Pat_Ralph) December 21, 2020
Hurts has a point. The Eagles dug themselves into a 16-0 hole in the first quarter, then came within two last-second Hail Mary heaves of potentially sending the game into overtime. While they didn’t get the win on Sunday, they are somehow miraculously still alive for the playoffs.
“Anything is possible,” said Pederson. “We have two football games left and we got to continue to work and that’s what we’re going to do.”
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