Making his first NFL start, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts gave the Eagles a spark and led Philadelphia to a 24-21 upset win over the New Orleans Saints.
With former starter Carson Wentz watching from the sidelines, Hurts completed 17-of-30 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 106 yards on 18 carries, becoming the first Eagles quarterback to surpass 100 yards since Michael Vick ran for 130 yards against the Giants in 2010.
With the win, the Eagles (4-8-1) snapped a four-game losing streak and handed the Saints (10-3) their first loss in 10 games. Prior to yesterday, New Orleans was 8-0 over the past two seasons without quarterback Drew Brees, who was replaced on Sunday by Taysom Hill. He was 28-of-38 for 291 yards, two TDs and one interception in the loss and was also sacked five times by Philly.
On Monday morning, Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson praised Hurts but did not say whether the rookie would continue to be the team’s starter against the Cardinals in Week 15.
“There were some really, really good plays,” Pederson said. “He played well. He managed the team, he did everything we asked him to do. He played smart, he played physical, with the run. Some of it was designed runs, some of it was just him being him and what he can do. It’s going to be a really good film for him to look at and learn from and get better, but I thought he did a really nice job.”
Regardless of what Pederson said, it would be hard to imagine the Eagles going back to Wentz, especially with the team still technically in play for the division title in the woeful NFC East.
Philadelphia’s win, coupled with the Packers winning their game over the Lions, dropped New Orleans from the top spot in the NFC and installed Green Bay as the No. 1 team in the conference.
The Saints should get Brees back this weekend when they host the Kansas City Chiefs.