Hurts answered the bell in the NFC Divisional Round, carving up the New York Giants for 154 yards with a pair of passing touchdowns while adding 34 yards and another touchdown as the driving force behind the Eagles’ 38-7 victory clinching a berth in the NFC Championship Game.
Saturday marked Hurts’ first postseason victory, leading the Eagles two wins shy of hoisting the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy. But Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert isn’t surprised by Hurts’ effort in the divisional round, as his confidence in the 24-year-old quarterback has been building since Hurts’ debut in 2021.
“Jalen’s been playing well since he got here,” Goedert said following Saturday night’s game “The first day he stepped on the field in Green Bay, he was dialed in. I don’t know what everybody else outside the building have been looking at, but he’s been a dog since he got in here, I’ll tell you that.”
Beyond Hurts’ marked improvement throughout the season identifying defenses pre-snap, and orchestrating the Eagles’ scheme to near perfection on a weekly basis while posting a 15-1 record in games that he started this season, his emergence as a leader has been instrumental to Philadelphia’s success.
“It’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters. “He’s your leader. He’s your guy. That’s the biggest respect I can pay to him, comparing his ability to being on the field to a Michael Jordan type. This guy leads.”
Earlier this season, Hurts acknowledged studying Jordan and channeling his killer instinct into his mindset during a season that he launched an all out assault on the MVP award, before suffering a shoulder injury in Week 15 that sidelined him two games.
After getting past the Giants, Hurts looked and sounded like a man with work left to do.
“We’re not just hungry for it, we’re starving for growth,” Hurts said. “Getting better, and learning from our mistakes. That’s a beautiful thing and that was a little motivation as a team. We wanted to come out and play our best ball. Sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for.”
The Eagles Know They Have Work Left to Do
Saturday night inside a raucous Lincoln Financial Field, Goedert was one of Hurts’ favorite targets, catching all 5 of his targets for 61 yards, including a spectacular one-handed catch and run for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.
But even before Goedert found paydirt, Hurts erased any doubt about the health of his shoulder when he launched a 40-yard bomb down the field to DeVonta Smith that set the tone for Philadelphia’s offense.
“We knew Jalen was going to be back healthy,” Goedert said. “We put ourselves in a great position before he got hurt. We knew we needed to win one of the last three, and the dude’s ready to go today and [shoot], we were all ready to go.”
For Hurts, Goedert, Smith, and the rest of the Eagles, even in the immediate aftermath of a postseason victory the focus was on what lies ahead arther than savoring a playoff win over a division foe.
“It feels good,” Smith said. “But the job’s not done yet.” READ MORE.