Questions, Answers, and Playoffs after the Eagles 24-21 win vs the Saints
The final four games of the regular season were supposed to be about finding clarity for the Philadelphia Eagles. Changes were desperately needed. The first 12 weeks of the NFL season were undoubtedly a disaster. Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense were completely lost. It was time to evaluate key stakeholders within the Eagles organization. Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson, and Howie Roseman all were deservedly put on the hot seat.
After Jalen Hurts was named starter ahead of the Saints vs Eagles game yesterday, we were able to learn a few key things:
- Doug Pederson can still coach.
- The offense is not as broken as we thought.
- Jalen Hurts is talented enough to be considered a starting quarterback.
There’s no denying the fact that Jalen Hurts was impressive. Against one of the NFL’s best defenses, Hurts completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown, while rushing 106 yards. Hurts performance rushing the ball is the second-highest total in the NFL for a quarterback this season and the second-highest total in NFL history for a quarterback in his first start. Hurts came in second in both categories behind none-other-than Lamar Jackson.
Of course, there were rookie mistakes. We all let out a collective grown after the fourth quarter fumble. Overall however, Hurts looked poised and confident throughout the game. He was decisive and accurate when there were open receivers. He used his legs to get out of the pocket and avoid negative plays on an Eagles team that entered the game as the most-sacked team in the league.
The play-calling by Pederson looked more like years past, with designed rollouts that have been missing all year long while Carson Wentz was under center. Hurts was quick to get rid of the ball and only attempted four passes over the middle and two passes over 20 yards downfield. The game plan was tremendous and it made it extremely easy for Hurts to escape trouble and find success.
Yes, it is only one game, but the fact that Hurts played so well influences a slew of unanswered questions about Doug Pederson and his ability to coach, Howie Roseman’s decision to draft a QB in the second round, and Carson Wentz’s blame in the offensive woes through the first 12-weeks of the season.
There are still questions that need to be answered.
- Where was this play-calling early in the season?
- Why can’t Doug and Carson figure this out?
- Why does Doug Pederson overcomplicate things for Carson Wentz?
For now, we can enjoy something that has been missing all season long: The Philadelphia Eagles having fun and playing watchable football. These questions, however, need to be answered this offseason. The Eagles now have a very expensive back-up quarterback in Carson Wentz. If Hurts is able to propel this team into the playoffs like Nick Foles was able to do in years past, the future of Carson Wentz on the Eagles becomes more muddy than it already is.
Speaking of playoffs:
The Eagles currently trail the division-leading Washington Football team by 1.5 games. They need to make up at least one game in the standings over the next two weeks to set-up a classic Week 17 win-and-in matchup against Washington.
If the Eagles win their remaining three games, then the following needs to happen:
- The New York Giants lose one of three against Cleveland, Baltimore, Dallas.
- Washington loses at least one of the next two games against Seattle and Carolina.
If the Eagles go 2-1 (including beating Washington) then the following needs to happen:
- The New York Giants lose at least twice against Cleveland, Baltimore, Dallas.
- Washington loses their next two games against Seattle and Carolina.
- Dallas loses at least once against San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York.
For now, let’s take it week-by-week and enjoy Eagles football for the first time in what seems like forever. Jalen Hurts is fun to watch and next week against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals will be no different.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today