Everything that could go wrong for the Philadelphia Eagles did go wrong for three-plus quarters. They were sleep-walking with no alarm clock to snap them out of it. Somehow, miraculously, they found themselves in a position to score a go-ahead touchdown with 1:20 left in the game.
Jalen Hurts took the snap from the 7-yard line and ran untouched up the middle. Jason Kelce sprinted out right on the play, fooling the defense and making them think that Hurts would split out wide. Nope. Hurts raced straight ahead for the end zone where the Indianapolis Colts mascot was waiting for him. His touchdown secured a 17-16 win for the Eagles.
“It was in the bag and then we pulled it out,” Hurts said of the game-winning play. “And I think we pulled it out at the right time, at the right game, and we worked really hard to try and get on the same page, go out there and execute. One, knowing how we’re going to execute it and knowing why we’re going to execute the play. Hell of a call by coach, hell of an execution by the offensive linemen, and we found a way.”
The Eagles went 75 yards in 11 plays and burned 3:17 off the clock on the game-winning drive, aided by a huge interference penalty on a pass intended for Miles Sanders. Hurts never wavered and preached a calming message in the huddle. The MVP candidate was determined to fulfill the promise he made to Nick Sirianni before the drive started.
“He was just telling me to be who I am. I said, ‘I got you.’ Really simple,” Hurts said. “I feel like there’s never a doubt. I feel like there was never a doubt. Even when you lose there’s never a doubt.”
Hurts Flips Game Ball to Emotional Nick Sirianni
Nick Sirianni appeared a bit emotional after beating the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. He clenched his cheeks and kept his head down while he was walking off the field before embracing Howie Roseman outside the visitor’s locker room.
He also pounded his chest and shouted at some Eagles fans seated behind the bench. This one meant a lot to Sirianni who spent three years in Indianapolis as an assistant coach. Hurts made sure to flip him the game ball after the dub.
“Great homecoming for him and I’m glad we were able to get the win for him,” Hurts said. “I know as he walked off the field, I hear he got a little emotional, and I guess that didn’t help when I tossed him the ball.
“Coach doesn’t get enough credit for what he does and what he’s been for us. He does a great job. I’m happy he got the win. And we’re always in each other’s ear about the mentality we want the team to have and the approach we want to have.”
Sirianni also voiced his support for Frank Reich, his mentor and friend. The Colts fired Reich on November 7 and replaced him with Jeff Saturday.
“I love Frank Reich,” Sirianni said. “He’s one of the best damn football coaches I’ve ever been around. You don’t want to know what I think, if he should be here or not, you guys can probably imagine what I really think.”
Why Not Chase the Golden Standard?
Hurts has talked about “playing to the standard” after every single game this season. Win or lose, no performance has lived up to his high expectations or those of his teammates. Sunday’s victory over Indianapolis was no different. The Eagles are 9-1 but it wasn’t good enough.
“It’s a special feeling because I look back after every game and I assess it honestly, about what could we have done better to put ourselves in a better position,” Hurts told reporters. “Of course, to win but to play to the standard that we strive to. We put a lot of work in every day. We put so much work in every day to try and play this game a certain type of way and perfection is something that will never be caught, but why not chase it?
“Why not chase the standard? Why not chase that golden standard of doing stuff the right way? Executing with the right details, having the right fundamentals – that’s something that we chase every day … so, we never wavered throughout the game. I think there were things that did not go our way, in terms of our execution, and we put ourselves in a bad position, but we were never out of the fight.”