PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts rolled to his right, scampered down the sideline and stuttered to the 5-yard line, where he was wrapped up by a defender with another in pursuit. Hurts twisted his body, ducked his head, dragged two defenders with him and blasted his way in for an adrenaline-filled 26-yard touchdown run that nearly opened the game.
Maybe, at least the Eagles can hope, there are many more games like this to come.
Hurts totaled 301 total yards in the first half in the defining game of his young career, finishing with three total touchdowns as he led Philadelphia to a 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
“Big performances on a big stage,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said.
Trying to prove he can play like the best franchise QBs in the NFL, Hurts looked downright unstoppable on first practice.
Hurts hit five receivers on a 5-for-5 pass – highlighted by a 19-yard strike to AJ Brown – and finished the drive himself with a 3-yard run. In the first win over Detroit, Hurts failed to complete a pass on five attempts and the Eagles turned the ball over on tries in the game’s first practice.
Overturn the ball in the downs?
It looked like a simple rumor against the Vikings. The TD was just the takeoff for the 24-year-old Hurts, who throws, runs, imposes his will with all his available tools against a Vikings defense that couldn’t solve it in his 21st career start. He finished with 333 passing yards and a touchdown, and 57 yards and two rushing scores.
“Another outstanding performance. He threw incredible balls. He made a lot of plays,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “It was a very good, well-balanced game for him.”
On the first play of the second quarter, Hurts connected with a wide-open Quez Watkins for a 53-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“It always comes with time and as time goes on you feel more comfortable with what you’re doing,” Hurts said.
Darius Slay, who had two interceptions against an unfortunate Kirk Cousins, had called each of the Eagles’ talented receiving trio Batman.
There was, Brown, the “swole” Batman who had five catches for 69 yards; DeVonta Smith was the “skinny” Batman who had seven for 80 yards; and Watkins was the “fast” Batman who had the burners on for the easy score (and 69 total yards).
Why are they all Batman?
“No Robins. We don’t have sidekicks,” Slay said.
Hurts dazzled with the 26-yard TD with 1:58 left in the half and Jake Elliott still had time to hit a 38-yarder and the Eagles took a 24-7 halftime lead.
“I don’t think it matters how we score as long as we put points on the board,” Hurts said.
In a Week 2 full of unlikely comebacks, it might not have been wise to count out the Vikings.
But Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson — famously passed by the Eagles in the 2020 draft — never did anything of substance against the Eagles and decried defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Slay had his second interception of the game in the fourth quarter as the scoreboard soon displayed “Big Play Slay.”
“It was like, myself included, like we were pushing a little bit at times,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said.
Hurts had 50 rushing yards and 251 passing yards in the first half. Cousins finished the game 27 for 46 for 221 yards and three interceptions. His only TD was on a 2-yard pass to Irv Smith in the second quarter. Jefferson had six catches for 48 yards a week after having 184 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a win over Green Bay.
“I don’t take any game lightly, but he’s one of the best in the world. I’m also one of the best in the world. I was looking forward to the game,” Slay said of Jefferson.