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NFL

Jalen Hurts Works Blue

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts as he steps into the end zone for the game tying touchdown during the NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts on November 20, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia sports world has been on tilt this month. November 2022 will forever be unholy territory. It was not just that the teams lost. The Phillies got no-hit. They actually only got nine hits from Game 4 on. The Union lost the MLS Cup final after a Welshman tied it in the 128th minute. Then the Eagles lost their first game of the season to Taylor Heinicke. Like the Phillies in the World Series, the Eagles had chances to win that game, too. People’s moods here really went sour. We’ve all been driving angrier. It wasn’t just daylight savings ending, I swear.

Things got worse Sunday afternoon, at least for a bit. The Eagles trailed the Indianapolis Colts by 10 entering the fourth quarter. This is a team that recently hired Jeff Saturday, a former Colts center who had only been a head coach in high school and was most recently employed as a a television analyst. The guy calling plays was some new guy. Sure, these seemingly random people won their first game. But that was against the Raiders. That’s a special case in 2022.

Jalen Hurts, who through Philly’s 8-0 start was getting MVP consideration, had led the Eagles to just three points through three quarters. Hurts looked OK. But after Chase McLaughlin missed a 51-yard field goal late in the third, Hurts went to work in the final 15 minutes. He drew an offside that led to a first. He ran for 23 yards on a broken play. Two players later, he threw a really nice touchdown to Quez Watkins.

Hurts had the Eagles on another drive into Colts territory before an A.J. Brown fumble. After an Indy field goal, the Eagles scored on an 11-play, 75 yard drive that included 1) some dubious playcalling from the Eagles and 2) a few solid plays by Hurts—including a pick-your-spot run up the middle on fourth-and-2, and a 7-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal that, post-extra point, put the Eagles ahead. The only actual bad play Hurts made on the final drive was an underthrow of an open Miles Sanders, but that led to a 39-yard pass interference penalty anyway.

It was after that play that the Eagles embarked on some curious play-calling, which I shall scrutinize here for the sake of being pedantic. The next three plays were all Boston Scott runs. I suppose the Eagles wanted to burn some clock, which they did. But the Eagles lined up on fourth down in a sneak formation, waited until the end of the play clock, then called their second timeout. Nothing terribly Hackettian, but enough to make me say the official sentence of Philadelphia Eagles game: “What the heck are the Eagles doing?” (Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said this: “There is a little bit of strategy to that timeout after the two-minute call that I would rather not get into … just so our opponents don’t know, obviously.” If the Eagles get a wild trick play touchdown off of this formation later in the season, I shall stand corrected.)

The Colts stalled before midfield on their final drive, and in the standings it goes down as any other Eagles win. The Eagles are 9-1, a game up on Minnesota for a playoff bye, and they have the tiebreaker. The Eagles comeback could not even be sullied by the rude gesture made by Colts mascot Blue, who was currently green for the troops, after Hurts’s touchdown.

Disgusting. Possibly infringing the Phillie Phanatic’s copyright. I don’t know what rank Blue holds, but he could be sanctioned under several articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Specifically, article 88: “Contempt toward officials (such as the President and members of Congress [and also Jalen Hurts]).” I may have added that part in brackets.