Jalen Hurts has his flu game, sort of

Jalen Hurts has his flu game, sort of

Sept. 25 is not a deciding date on the NFL calendar, especially for teams that entered that game undefeated. When the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers put their 2-0 records against each other in a Week 3 Monday Night Football matchup, the men in the red jerseys, led by Baker Mayfield, fell to 2-1 to Jalen Hurts’ crew in white.

During halftime, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Hurts entered the game with flu-like symptoms. The Eagles’ starting quarterback confirmed the report with a one-word “yes” answer when asked about his health following his team’s 25-11 victory. When asked how illness affected his performance Hurts replied, “We won.”

Hurts played his best game of the young season in Week 3. Even though his two INTs were low moments, the first one was a result of miscommunication between him and D’Andre Swift. During the third quarter, Hurts’ second INT was an air punt to Dee Delaney. Following both turnovers, the Buccaneers turned the ball back over to the Eagles on the subsequent drive.

The Eagles’ passing game was the sidekick to the rest of their offense during their first two weeks of the season. But while they converted several big plays on Monday night with the “Tush Push,” Hurts’ passing was crucial in their domination of the previously undefeated Buccaneers.

 A.J. Brown had by far his best game of the young 2023 season. Prior to kickoff, he had totaled 11 catches for 108 yards on the season. When the final whistle sounded Monday night, Brown had hauled in nine passes for 131 yards.

For the day, the sickly Hurts completed 62 percent of his passes for 277 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per completion. It wasn’t quite Michael Jordan’s 38 points on 48.1/40/83.3 shooting splits in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, but a nationally televised Week 3 game was an ideal night for Hurts to put up his best performance of the 2023 season.

We were all forced to admit last season that Hurts has turned into an effective passer, especially after he went throw for throw with Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. Still, those images of his struggles during Alabama’s 2017 National Championship Game win against Georgia, and then the Eagles’ playoff loss to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers, can quickly sour opinions about Hurts’ play.

On the road against a 2-0 team, a weary Hurts presented America with a quick reminder of his skills. The Eagles may not reach the Super Bowl again come February 2024, and they might get eliminated when he plays a stinker of a playoff game. But regardless how the Eagles’ 2023 season plays out, this season will likely not be Hurts’ fault if they come up short. He bided his time through the first two games of this season, and on the primetime stage — against an undefeated team — Hurts snotted his way to his best performance of the season.

Hurts and his Eagles teammates appear to have picked up where they left off last season through three games.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.