Jalen Hurts walked into the Linc carrying a Michael Jordan “I’m Back” T-shirt from the previous Chicago Bulls’ star’s first unretirement.
Yeah, Hurts is again — and now, so are the Eagles as a Tremendous Bowl menace.
Hurts returned from a sprained proper shoulder and threw for 229 yards below a conservative recreation plan, and the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 22-16 win over the New York Giants on Sunday evening.
“It’s really tough being out,’ Hurts said. ”I used to be pushing myself to be obtainable and it wasn’t a straightforward factor.”
Hurts wasn’t requested to do a lot in opposition to New York’s B-team — with the Giants’ No. 6 seed already secured, they rested the majority of their beginning lineup — and he received with out the explosive performs, the head-first rushes on fourth down, the scrambles that flip into 20-yard positive factors, the kind of breakout performs that had outlined his season. They weren’t wanted.
His mere presence was the emotional increase the Eagles wanted after the stumbles every of the final two weeks.
The Eagles rebounded from two straight losses behind backup QB Gardner Minshew to clinch the NFC East, the highest spot in the convention and residential area all through the playoffs. The group additionally will get a bye, another pivotal week of relaxation for Hurts.
Hurts acquired a roaring ovation and “MVP!” chants as he ran out of the tunnel throughout pregame introductions. The Eagles had clearly missed their QB, who had grown into an MVP front-runner till he was harm on a tough deal with in opposition to Chicago.
Hurts was 20-of-35 passing in a recreation that had a preseason really feel — the Eagles had been solely 1 of 5 in the purple zone — and performed your entire recreation. The Eagles additionally earned the No. 1 seed in the 2017 season and received the Tremendous Bowl. They’ve 5-1 odds to win it this yr, per FanDuel Sportsbook, trailing solely Kansas Metropolis and Buffalo.
Hurts accomplished a 35-yard move to A.J. Brown on the Eagles’ first play of the sport and confirmed no ill-effects from the sprained proper shoulder suffered three weeks in the past. The Eagles performed at half-speed in opposition to the Giants backups and refused to danger Hurts’ well being — they didn’t have a referred to as speeding play for him. The dynamic QB that ran for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns getting into the sport principally stayed in the pocket, the Eagles clearly cautious Hurts may take one other arduous hit on his shoulder.
“I know he was hurting,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni stated. “He was hurting bad.”
The Eagles didn’t get a lot offensively however actually didn’t have to in opposition to a Giants (9-7-1) group that had already secured the No. 6 seed in the NFC and rested the majority of their starters. Saquon Barkley and his 1,312 yards speeding took a seat. So did beginning QB Daniel Jones.
The Giants, who play at Minnesota subsequent Sunday, as a substitute handed over No. 2 QB Tyrod Taylor and began apply squad common Davis Webb.
Webb, in his first profession begin, rushed for a 14-yard landing in the fourth that made it 19-9. He tossed a 25-yard TD move to Kenny Golladay late in the fourth that made it 22-16. He threw for 168 yards on 23-of-40 passing.
Hurts, whose 35 whole touchdowns this season tied the franchise report set by Randall Cunningham in 1990, had a TD move in the third quarter worn out due to a penalty after which threw his sixth interception of the season on the subsequent play.
This recreation for the Eagles was all about stabilizing themselves and reclaiming the swagger and confidence that they had earlier this season as they steamrolled behind Hurts to a 13-1 report. Hurts probably wouldn’t have performed had the Eagles crushed both Dallas or New Orleans in every of the final video games and clinched the No. 1 seed. As a substitute, it was the Eagles enjoying with all the things to lose whereas the nine-win Giants had been safe in their spot.
“It’s the NFL, so the guys you have on the team, you have confidence in,” Giants rookie coach Brian Daboll stated. “I thought our guys competed all the way to the end.”
Jake Elliott kicked area targets of 32, 52 and 39 yards in the primary half. Boston Scott ran for an 8-yard landing — a whopping 10 of his 17 profession TDs are in opposition to the Giants — and the Eagles took a 16-0 lead into halftime.
Elliott added area targets of 54 and 22 yards in the second half. Graham Gano kicked a 24-yarder in the third for the Giants.
Brown had 4 catches for 95 yards and completed with 1,496 for the group’s season report. Mike Fast held the yards receiving mark of 1,409 in 1983 in the 16-game season.
Fast is a radio analyst for the Eagles. “Just as he told me before the game, he said the first pass is going to come to me and I’m going to break your record,” he stated.
DeVonta Smith set the Eagles’ season report for receptions with 95 (and 1,196 yards receiving). He had seven receptions in opposition to the Giants. Irving Fryar had 88 catches in 1996.
The 14 wins are additionally essentially the most in a season for the Eagles.
Eagles: benefit from the spoils of an off week.
Giants: head to Minnesota to play the Vikings subsequent Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL