The Eagles once again played in poor conditions with the rain on Sunday afternoon, but the conditions were great compared to their quarterback.
The supposed MVP favorite, Jalen Hurts, had one decent drive resulting in 7 points. Outside of that, the Eagles would have been in better shape with pretty much any other quarterback out there for the first half.
Know not to throw a pass directly at a defender that’s two feet away. Don’t try to complete a second handoff and fumble the ball away. Those are basic concepts almost any QB understands. But Jalen Hurts did the opposite. If you’ve ever made fun of the Butt Fumble, make sure you harass Hurts for that half because that was some of dumbest decision making ever seen from and NFL quarterback.
The defense allowed some yardage and ultimately a field goal. It was an effort that probably should have had them enter the half with the lead. Instead, they trailed by two scores.
Basically, the score at the half broke down as: Eagles: 7, Bills: 3, Jalen Hurts: -14.
The play calling didn’t help anyone and that certainly continued as they came out of the half with even dumber play calls like 0 runs and a screen to Julio Jones on third and 14.
The Bills gained more yardage, but missed their field goal attempt.
Suddenly, Brian Johnson had a stroke of genius: he might try to run the ball. And maybe he’d try this unknown running back, DeAndre Swift. This idea that no one had thought of before him paid off as Swift unloaded three runs for 44 yards. It opened up the passing game a bit and Hurts made the throws that were there for him, putting the Eagles back in the game.
The Eagles safeties, however, decided they didn’t actually need to tackle and combined to allow 45 yards and a touchdown on two missed tackles, negating any momentum the team had and should have kept had either made a simple tackle.
Brian Johnson and Hurts seemed to figure themselves out after that, however, with Hurts finally returning to the player fans know he should be instead of whatever he was in the first half. He authored a 75-yard drive in just three minutes to put the Eagles back in striking distance.
James Bradberry made his best play of the season to follow that up, jumping a route for an interception to set the Eagles up at their own 24. Brian Johnson did all he could to waste the possession, but Olamide Zaccheaus bailed them out with an incredible touchdown catch after Hurts gave him a chance on a play that certainly seemed doomed.
Brandon Graham came up with the first sack of the game for the Birds to get the ball back, but the offense managed just three yards on three plays, giving the ball back to the Bills.
The Eagles defense proceeded to allow five or more yards on every run the Bills could call, wasting 5:14 of clock and allowing the touchdown. It put the Eagles down three with 1:52 left in the game.
The Eagles seemed to be driving, with 51 yards of driving easily down the field. A poor play call and two Jason Kelce false starts hampered the Birds down to third and 17. They threw a one-yard pass that wasn’t caught with no timeouts and the Eagles had to settle for a 59-yard attempt. Luckily, the Eagles have a clutch player in Jake Elliott to force overtime.
The Eagles lost the toss and could well have lost the game, but the Eagles defense stood up and forced a field goal to give the offense a chance. After a close call with AJ Brown, the Eagles, behind runs from Swift and Hurts and several catches by Smith, the Eagles came away with a win in a game they really had no business being in.
They are now 10-1.
It was the most hot/cold quarterback play I’ve ever seen in a game, but credit to Hurts he was able to snap out of it at the half and lead his offense to the points they absolutely needed to maintain a two-game lead in the standings.
Smith was once again the go-to guy in this game. He may have only put up 67 yards through most of the game, but he had a touchdown and moved the chains repeatedly. In a game where the Eagles essentially played without a quarterback for an entire half, that yardage and a touchdown is a solid number. With his contributions on the final two drives, he surpassed 100 yards, winding up with 106 at the end of the game.
There’s been some frustrations with the play from the corner position, but it was Bradberry who finally got the Eagles a turnover in plus territory. He had some issues in coverage, but was overall solid and made the play that allowed the Eagles the chance to win this game despite the offense’s disastrous first half.