Hurts and Eagles Punch Ticket to NFC Championship
In the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles, led by former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, dominated the New York Giants 38-7. Hurts totaled 154 yards passing, 34 yards rushing, and three touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing). The Eagles had a bye week after securing the number one seed, and following a close matchup against the same Giants squad two weeks prior, the Eagles did not look rusty at all, and Philly played like they had all season.
The Eagles went 14-3 this season and earned the NFC East Division title with the best record, earning them the top seed in the NFC playoff picture. Hurts had a fantastic year leading Philadelphia despite only being in his second full season as the starter. Hurts led the Eagles to the playoffs last year but struggled against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady. Hurts is already proving that he is the franchise quarterback that the Eagles have been begging for.
Despite suffering a shoulder injury a few weeks earlier, Hurts showed no signs of discomfort. He and the offense did not play as well in the week 18 game against the Giants, despite Hurts missing time before that game. Saturday night the Eagles' quarterback looked like the MVP candidate he was all season. Hurts guided the first drive of the game, an eight-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Hurts touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert. During the drive, he demonstrated how healthy he looked by connecting with former Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith for a 40-yard deep pass.
Smith had a good night as well, with six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. In the first quarter, Hurts connected with Smith on a bubble screen that led to a 9-yard touchdown pass. Smith has already established himself as one of the NFL's top receivers in just his second season. With 916 receiving yards as a rookie last year, the former Alabama receiver surpassed the Eagles' single-season receiving yards record. This year, he set a career-high with 1,196 yards, his first 1000-yard season, seven touchdowns, and 95 receptions. Smith also holds the Eagles' receiver record for the most receptions and receiving yards in a rookie season.
Hurts and Smith hope to build on their successful season by winning the championship. The Philadelphia Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship, and Hurts wants to make sure his squad is the one flying to Arizona.