In Philadelphia’s 24-8 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts showed he was just as capable of getting “freaky” — as he likes to say — through the air as he is with his legs.
“The work we put in in the offseason is supposed to show in times like this,” Hurts said. “The trust that we have in one another and being on the same page [and] to see it pan out now is great. But we know there’s more to it and it’s just the beginning.”
The Eagles’ passing effectiveness came in stark contrast to what they managed last season, when they made their bones by running the ball in Hurts’s first full season as a starter. Philadelphia exceeded 300 passing yards Sunday for the second straight game. With the Commanders intent on stopping Philadelphia’s potent ground game, Hurts dominated Washington through the air.
“That’s what good teams do, too: They don’t win the same way every week,” Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni said. “Last year, a lot of the time we put the game on the back of our offensive line, and today it was on Jalen.”
The Eagles found their footing late in the first quarter, when Hurts found wideout DeVonta Smith for a 45-yard gain to set up a field goal and a 3-0 lead. After the defense forced a Carson Wentz fumble on Washington’s ensuing drive, Hurts and tight end Dallas Goedert connected for a 23-yard touchdown.
Leading 10-0, the Eagles continued the aerial onslaught later in the second quarter with a 64-yard drive that consisted of five passing plays and just one rushing attempt. Hurts punctuated the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown with 2:56 remaining in the half.
“Jalen has really taken some major steps this season as a passer,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “If we had struggled to run the ball like this last season, I don’t know if he would have been able to seamlessly shift gears and make those passes. He’s just so confident and in command this season.”
With 1:57 left in the half and his team holding a 17-point advantage, Hurts orchestrated an 88-yard touchdown drive. After finding Smith for a 44-yard gain that moved the Eagles into the red zone, Hurts targeted him again for a two-yard touchdown pass on the half’s final play.
“That’s who I am,” Hurts said. “I try not to get too high or too low regardless of the situation and just make it work. Sometimes we kind of get caught up in, ‘Well, this is the perfect look for this.’ [But we should] just make the play work.”
After passing for 299 yards in the first half, Hurts was held to 41 in the second.
“We just have to execute,” he said. “There are a handful of plays in the second half where it can go the entire way if we just hit it.”
Smith finished with 169 yards on eight receptions, and Brown added five catches for 85 yards. Washington held Philadelphia to a season-low 72 yards on the ground, but that wasn’t close to enough to be competitive.
“I know they have their eyes on me, and they expect me to lead them,” Hurts said. “I just want to do my job to the best of my abilities.”