Jalen Hurts doesn’t have to carry the team. He doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards or run for 100 yards. He doesn’t have to be Superman.
He just needs to be himself. He does it perfectly.
In a minimalist quarterback masterpiece, Hertz threw just 24 passes for 154 yards and ran for just 34 yards.
He did nothing. But exactly what he did was the Eagles’ comfortable 38-7 victory over the Giants at Linc Field in the NFC semifinals on Saturday night.
Hurts completely controlled the offense and completely controlled the team. There is elegance in not trying to do too much and only doing what you need to do. Hertz does a great job with this.
“Looks like old Jalen to me,” Miles Sanders said. “I’m not going to lie. Just proud of him. He demands the best from everyone and we’ll do that for him because he gave the best to us.”
The only time since 1960 that an Eagles quarterback started and ended a postseason game with fewer passes was in 1979, when Ron Jaworski went 12 of 23 in a wild card win over the Bears in the Vet game. middle.
It’s been 15 years since an NFL team scored 38 points in the playoffs with 24 or fewer passes. It was the Packers’ 42-20 win over the Seahawks in 2008, when Brett Favre went 18-for-23 and Ryan Grant ran for more than 200 yards.
This time, Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott and Hurts combined for 268 yards. That took the pressure off Hertz, who threw just seven passes in the second half.
Every year a formula is thrown around to build a lead and keep it. The Eagles were just transitioning from the pass to the run Saturday night against the Giants’ defense.
But Hertz was brilliant when he had to. He went 7-of-7 in the first quarter with a pass to Dallas Goldt and Devonta Smith, and the Eagles got off to a good start from there.
“I think it’s really important for us to get out there and start fast,” Hertz said. “As a football team, we came out with energy. We prepared well all week and you’re always talking about challenging everyone to play their best ball.
“I really never put a limit on myself, and I never put a limit on what this team can do, so we can always get more. Come out there, play like we did tonight, I’m here for this team Proud, I’m proud of this team, I’m proud of how we’ve prepared to get to where we are. There’s a lot to be grateful for, but it was earned in a week. I’m happy to have another An opportunity to play again for a great cause.”
That’s the Jalen Hurts we saw five weeks ago before he injured his shoulder against the Bears. MVP candidates from September to mid-December.
He might not be 100%, but he sure looks like he is.
“Having him on the floor is like — I know that’s high praise, but having him on the field is like putting him on the field — I shouldn’t even be there — it’s like putting Michael Jordan on the field,'” Nick Siliani said. “He’s your leader. He’s your man.
“This guy took the lead. He brought that composure to the whole team. He played great football. He was as tough as they were.
“For me, no one has played better than him this year.”
Hurts’ 112.2 passer rating ranks fourth in Eagles playoff history behind only Rodney Peete’s 143.3 in the 1995 Vet’s 58-37 wild-card win over the Lions and Nick Foles’ 2017 NFC 141.4 points over the Vikings in the championship game 127.3 points at Lincoln Field and Tommy Thompson in the 1947 semifinal win over the Steelers at Forbes Field.
He’s the youngest Eagles quarterback to enter the NFC championship game — nine months younger than Donovan McNabb in 2001 — and won a win over the 49ers or For the Cowboys, he will become the eighth quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl on his 25th birthday.
A year ago, Hertz faltered in his playoff debut in Tampa.
That was one of the worst playoff performances in Hawks history. This is one of the best.
“I think every experience is helpful, not just that game, but the whole last season, the last 15 games I’ve played,” he said. “I think all of that is very rewarding. There’s a lot to learn from it. I just want to come here and play great football. Know what that looks like and find a way to do that.”
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