ABOVE PHOTO: Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (Photo by Webster Riddick)
By Chris Murray
For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
GLENDALE, Ariz.—In the gloom of the Philadelphia Eagles’ heartbreaking 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, Jalen Hurts put on one of the best performances by a losing quarterback since former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passed for 505 yards in Super Bowl LII against, ironically, the Eagles.
In a game where the Eagles defense couldn’t stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who scored on all four possessions (three TDs and one field goal) in the second half, Hurts did just about anything and everything to keep the Eagles in the game, except win it.
If you take anything away from this gut-wrenching loss in the Super Bowl, you will at least know that Hurts balled out and was the best player on the field that day. Period. Hurts silenced any critics he had left. I asked Mahomes what he thought about Hurts’ performance during his postgame press conference.
“I mean, if there was any doubters left there shouldn’t be now,” said Mahomes, who completed 21-of-27 passes for 182 yards and three touchdown passes. “I mean, the way he stepped on this stage, and ran, threw the ball, whatever it took for his team to win. I mean, that was a special performance. I don’t want it to get lost in the loss that they had.”
When you look at the numbers, Hurts completed 27-of-38 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown. With the Eagles’ running game not working, Hurts made plays with his feet. He gained 70 yards, on 15 carries, and tied a Super Bowl record with three rushing touchdowns. He broke the late Steve McNair’s record for rushing yards in a Super Bowl by a quarterback.
Hurts accounted for 374 yards of total offense (running and passing). He joins San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Steve Young and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in Super Bowl history to account for 370 yards or more of total offense.
“He did things with his legs in the run game. He did things with his arm in the passing game,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “He made some unbelievable throws, unbelievable reads. I thought he played outstanding.”
Hurts showed his resilience in what was his worst moment in the game. Midway through the second quarter, Hurts fumbled the football while switching the ball from his left hand to his right hand. The ball was scooped up at the Eagles’ 36 by Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, who ran it in for the touchdown.
As devasting as that play was and it was a key play in the Eagles’ eventual loss, an undaunted Hurts came back on the Birds’ next possession and drove the team 75-yards in 12-plays to his four-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 21-14.
On the Eagles’ final possession of the first half, Hurts drove the Eagles to Nick Elliott’s 35-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-14 lead at halftime. Those last two drives of the first half showed the heart of a champion and his willingness to put his team on his back when they needed him the most.
“I wish I could’ve won it for him and all these guys,” said Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert. “He played phenomenal. He gave us a chance throughout the game to win it and we’re super proud of him, the year he had and we’re really excited for the future with him.”
If there was a defining moment for Hurts in this game was the drive to tie the game after the Chiefs had taken a 35-27 lead with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. Utilizing both his arm and his legs, Hurts willed the Eagles to an eight-play, 75-yard drive that included a big 45-yard pass to Devonta Smith that put the Eagles at the Kansas City two-yard line.
From there, Hurts scored the touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game at 35-35 with 5:15 left in the game. Unfortunately, he had to watch helplessly from the sideline as Mahomes and the Chiefs offense methodically drove downfield against the Eagles for the game-winning field goal.
“I mean, even whenever we got all the momentum in that game, and we went up eight points in the fourth quarter for him to respond and move his team down the football field and run in himself in a two-point conversion,” Mahomes said. “It was a special performance and I mean you make sure you appreciate that when you look back on this game.”
Next up for the Philadelphia Eagles is the NFL Draft. That begins on Thursday, April 27.
Eagles beat writer Chris Murray and sports photographer Webster Riddick covered Super Bowl LVII from the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The Philadelphia Sunday SUN’s coverage of Super Bowl LVII was sponsored by Philadelphia Hall Monitor. Co-hosts Larry McGlynn, Denise Clay-Murray and Lance Haver guide you through City Hall and everything going on there. Come join them on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. on WPPM 106.5 or on PhillyCam.org.
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