PHILADELPHIA (AP) — All Jalen Hurts did on an injured left knee was throw for 319 yards and four touchdowns and led the Philadelphia Eagles to another win.
Hurts even failed to throw an interception for the first time in four games. To top off his list of accomplishments, Hurts rallied the Eagles back from a halftime deficit to beat the Washington Commanders 38-31 and make them the only 7-1 team in the NFL.
How much better could Hurts have played on two healthy legs?
Just how much his banged-up left knee is really bothering him, well, Hurts won’t say. He’s downplayed the severity of the injury — though clearly it has made him reluctant to run — and remained focused on staying in the lineup and keeping the Eagles tops in the NFL.
“I told you guys I really don’t wanna speak on it anymore,” Hurts said.
He'll let his numbers do the talking instead.
Hurts became the 6th player in NFL history to record 300-plus total yards and at least two total touchdowns in six straight games.
His ability to play through pain is certainly an admirable trait inside the locker room. His performance in the pocket might have been a surprise when he was drafted in 2020. But Hurts has long shown that he is more than just a running quarterback who can throw when needed. His passing is on point and it certainly helps him when his legs — the ones that made him one of the most dynamic players in the NFL — are too banged up to truly go on a breakout run.
Still, the concern over his health is real, and Hurts has the Eagles in a bit of a precarious position headed into the teeth of their schedule. There are games ahead against Dallas, Kansas City and San Francisco. Should Hurts take one wrong hit, make one wrong twist of that knee, the Eagles would be in serious trouble without their franchise QB. Keeping Hurts healthy is clearly as important as winning even regular-season games over the final two months of the season.
“I don’t think there’s a point we will arrive as a team,” Hurts said. “Obviously, there’s one stop we’d like to make in the end, but it’s just a journey."
The Eagles won’t get there without Hurts.
The passing game. Hurt was fantastic in rallying the Eagles from behind and A.J. Brown had another 125-yard receiving game. DeVonta Smith had seven catches for 99 yards. Smith had a clutch 17-yard grab on fourth down in the third quarter. Well, at least on the stat sheet. Commanders coach Ron Rivera did not challenge Smith’s catch, which replays showed should have been incomplete.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The run game. D’Andre Swift did grind out a touchdown against Washington but was otherwise held to 57 yards rushing. Swift rushed for a combined 305 yards in consecutive games against Minnesota and Tampa Bay but has just 263 yards over the last five games. The Eagles have failed to rush for 100 yards in three straight games, their longest drought since 2016. Hurts fumbled at the Washington 1-yard line, one of two Philadelphia turnovers inside the 5. Running back Kenneth Gainwell lost a fumble at the 4 in the first half.
Brown. In his first two seasons with the Eagles, Brown has wedged himself into contention as — not just the best Eagles wideout since Terrell Owens — but in the running for best receiver in team history. Brown had eight catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first player in NFL history with 125-plus yards receiving in six consecutive games. Brown made a terrific one-handed grab on his first touchdown and caught the ball through double coverage on his second. Brown also became the first NFL player with 100-plus receiving yards in six consecutive games since new teammate Julio Jones did it with Atlanta in 2018.
Gainwell. The fumble came at a brutal spot and the Eagles could consider giving Boston Scott or even Rashaad Penny more touches. Penny was a healthy scratch against the Commanders. Coach Nick Sirianni likes to dress just three running backs, leaving the veteran Penny the odd back out. He could get a chance to play after Gainwell finished with just two carries and went minus-4 yards against Washington.
Gainwell's rough day got worse when he was caught responding in a direct message to someone on social media who blasted the running back for his fumble.
Sirianni said Monday he talked to Gainwell about his mistake and said it would not happen again.
“These guys have some time away from us when we get into the locker room,” Sirianni said. “They sit down at their locker, they do whatever is going to take their mind and just calm it. No, he shouldn’t respond to that guy or girl at all. Yes, of course we talked to him about that, to be locked in, be focused and not worry about outside noise.”
Rookie DT Jalen Carter left in the third quarter with a back injury. ... TE Grant Calcaterra was concussed in the first half. ... CB Bradley Roby missed a second consecutive game with a shoulder injury.
9 — The Eagles are 7-1 for the ninth time in franchise history, joining 1949, 1960, 1961, 1980, 1981, 2004, 2017 and 2022.
Host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.
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