Week 1 Bama Pro of the Week: Jalen Hurts
Each week during the NFL regular season, I'll award one standout Alabama player of the week whose performance boosted his team to victory. The only criteria being his team must win. At the end of the season, I'll name the MVP and hand out a few other awards to recognize the excellence the Alabama Crimson Tide has present in the NFL.
With a league-best 54 active players under contract across 28 franchises, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here's this weeks winner:
Jalen Hurts is the Week 1 Bama Pro of the Week after throwing 264 yards and three touchdowns on 27-35 passing and added 62 yards rushing on seven carries. His Philadelphia Eagles hammered the Atlanta Falcons 32-6 thanks in large part to the second-year quarterback's stellar performance.
It's almost poetic that Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith would kick off their first season together with the Philadelphia Eagles by putting on a dominant performance in Mercedes Benz Stadium where both players created several legendary moments in SEC football history.
Just to make the connection just a bit sweeter, Smith caught his first pass and touchdown from Hurts in nearly the exact same spot on the field as he did when he caught Tua Tagovailoa's pass in the 2017 National Championship to beat the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime.
Throughout the game, Hurts stayed poised and showed impressive growth from his rookie campaign. On the second possession for Philadelphia, Hurts found Smith on four more passes, which would finish the day for Smith statistically until early in the fourth quarter.
Hurts faced considerable pressure from the Falcons pass rush in the first half, but evaded the white jerseys surrounding him more often than not, finding receivers downfield for chunk plays. With just a few ticks left on the first-half clock, Hurts scrambled to his right to find tight end Dallas Goedert for a 9-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-3 lead into halftime.
Hurts wouldn't score again until late in the fourth quarter, though his team certainly backed up his consistent play throughout the game to build a respectable lead. For his final score, Hurts once again staved off Atlanta's pressure to hit Jalen Reagor on an RPO-screen pass for a 23-yard touchdown.
Hurts stellar performance is a great building block for his first full season as the Eagles starting quarterback. His 77% completion percentage is a career-high in games where he made more than one attempt, while his three touchdowns tie his career-high from his second start in a loss to Arizona last year.
Hurts, Smith and the Eagles will host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday at noon on FOX. The 49ers have just one active Alabama alumni on its roster, the newly signed Dre Kirkpatrick.
And now for our honorable mentions:
- Amari Cooper, Cowboys: 13 catches, 139 yards, 2 TD
- Trevon Diggs, Cowboys: 1 tackle, 2 pass breakups, 1 INT and held Mike Evans to one catch for 10 yards on three targets
- Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins: 16-27, 202 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT and 4 rushes, 1 yd, 1 TD
- DeVonta Smith, Eagles: 6 catches, 71 yds, 1 TD
- Mac Jones, Patriots: 29-39, 281 yds, 1 TD
- Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins: 4 catches, 61 yds, 1 TD
- Jonathan Allen, Washington: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Be sure to tune back into tide1009.com each Tuesday to see the Bama Pro of the Week throughout the NFL season.