Via Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports NFC East Writer
It’s only Week 2 and there’s a long way to go, but Hurts, 24, has made a big statement in The Eagles’ Win 24-7 via Minnesota Vikings. He plays as an excellent midfielder. He throws the ball more dangerously than runs it. And he splits the ball around, showing everyone how varied and powerful this Eagle’s attack is.
It was his best match as a professional. And if the Hurts keep playing like he did with the Vikings, if that Eagles offense continues to click, they’ll be a real Super Bowl contender this season. And the chants of “MVP” that Hurts heard from the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field? He could also become a contender in that race in the near future.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said: “A great performance of his time. “A big show on a big time stage.”
Really good loss against a good Viking team – and the Vikings defense organized, by the way Packers only seven points in Week 1 and keep Aaron Rodgers less than 200 yards pass. Hurts finished 26-31 for 333 yards with a touchdown and a late intercept, and he ran 11 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles’ attacks, even after slowing down in the second half, totaled 486 yards.
But his performances are more than just numbers. A week ago, major criticism of the Eagles’ offense in their 38-35 opening day win in Detroit was that it was a bit too one-sided in the passing game. Everything seems to run through their new receiver, AJ Brownwho had 10 catches at 155 yards on his debut.
In Week 2, however, Hurts fixed all of that. He’s “completely in control,” said Sirianni, and he passes the ball around to everyone. He even started on the opening line, which featured five runs and five passes and four different receivers. In total, eight different players caught passes from him. And tight ending Dallas Goedert (5-82), recipient DeVonta Smith (7-80) and recipients Quez Watkins (2-69 and 53-yard touch) are both more effective than Brown (5-69).
If the Eagles attack is too deep, it will terrify the rest of the NFC East, and it will also cause concern for the top teams in NFC. Remember, the Eagles were the No. 1 dash team in the NFL last season, and they’ve got 379 yards in two games this year. Their line of attack can be the best in football and at times completely dominates against the Vikings.
All tools are available. And now it looks like they have midfielders too.
“He did a lot of work,” Sirianni said. “Of course [the game] is slowing down for him. It will happen at this point because he has another year in the process. He lives by the theory of getting better every day. That’s why you’re seeing big improvements. “
A year ago, the jury was still out of favor with Hurts, though inside the organization their convictions have never wavered. He’s a bit one-sided in the passing game, rarely crossing the middle – mainly because he doesn’t have a good receiver there. He is often too quick to pull the ball down and run at the first sign of trouble in the pocket.
Now, he’s showing the poise of a veteran and the intelligence to run as a weapon, not just to save lives. A great example comes from his 26-yard touchdown late in the first half. He turned to the right and had to read the “safety” coverage on Goedert before making any decisions. When they were tied, Hurts dashed to the curb, closely following Goedert all the way. It’s not running just to run, or running in panic. It is running as an option to keep the defense out of balance and execute a smart play.
It’s maturity and maturity and all the things a team wants to see in a young defender, especially in the third year. And it will create a lot of problems for defensive coordinators for the rest of the season.
In fact, everything about the Eagles creates problems for the opponent. They are now a dangerous attack, with two attacking shots, averaging 281 passing yards and 189.5 yards of dash in the first two weeks. Their offensive line is amazing. They have three backrunners, three receivers and a tight finish, all of which are legal weapons.
And it looks like their back four can now do it all.
The big key missing from the opener was their defense, which was ripped 181 yards by the Lions when they missed about a dozen tackles in a game that Sirianni said was “not up to our standards”. .” But that defense also issued a statement of its own on Monday night. It plays the dynamic duo of the Vikings . receiver Justin Jefferson (6 catches, 48 yards) and runs backwards Dalvin Cook (6 gills, 17 yards). The Eagles have three interceptions – twice with a corner Darius Slay – and their second parted all night. They even turned up breakthrough passes in the second half.
Once again, they are only two weeks away from the season. But their schedule is not difficult. Weak division. And the conference is really open. All the pieces really seem ready for the Eagles to go deep into post-season.
All they need is someone to guide them. And on Monday night, Hurts showed the world he was ready to do just that.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised,” Sirianni said. “I’ve seen his growth. He’s about to hit his ceiling.”
Added defensive endings Brandon Graham: “He’s proving all the doubters wrong.”
Ralph Vacchiano is an NFC East correspondent for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. He spent 22 years covering the Giants, Jets, and NFL in general for the SNY and New York Daily News. He can be found on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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