Eagles’ Srianni: ‘I think [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a special player that forces defenses to play different’

For the second straight game, and the third time in four games, the Philadelphia Eagles(5-6) ran for over 200 yards, and for the second straight game, they got a defensive touchdown as they defeated the Saints(5-5) 40-29 to get their first win of the season at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Philadelphia rushed for a season-high 242 yards against the NFL’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense. The Eagles’ 242 rushing yards are the club’s most in a game since posting 246 yards against the Saints’ defense last season.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, who threw for 147 yards and rushed for 69 yards and a franchise-record-tying three touchdowns, including a game-clinching 24-yard touchdown run, gave his thoughts on the team’s identity on offense.

“We’re going to continue to attack, continue to play our game. I’ve always been asked about the identity of this football team,” Hurts said. “Early on in the season, everybody is asking me the question. Whether I answered it or I didn’t answer it, I think identity is not being able to run the ball or ‘we’re a running team,’ ‘we’re a passing team,’ or ‘we’re a team that doesn’t give up big explosive plays.’ That’s not what identity is. Identity is a mentality. It’s a mentality; it’s an approach; it’s the detail you put in day in and day out throughout the week. It’s being physical; it’s wanting it, it’s effort. It’s all of those things…

“We just want to continue to control the controllables. Continue to connect with one another and know that everybody has each other’s backs out there in the field, and continue to move forward with that mentality of ‘rent is due every day.’ That’s the identity of this football team.”

According to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, Hurts’ running ability impacts how defenses play them.

“I think [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a special player that forces defenses to play different,” he said. “You look at the tape, and again I think I told you guys early in the week, you look at the stat sheet, you look at where they are, you look at their defense, but you also want to do what you do well. We know we have been running the ball well, and it’s a little different when Jalen is in there.”

Eagles rookie WR DeVonta Smith, who caught four passes for 61 yards, added on the running game: “When the run game is working the way it was working today, you’re going to stick to it.”

Defensively, Philadelphia produced three takeaways, two by LB T.J. Edwards(interception,  fumble recovery), and Darius Slay had a huge pick-6 before halftime to give the Eagles a 27-7 lead going into the break. 

With the win, the Eagles move up in the standings. Philadelphia is currently 1/2 game behind the 7th(Saints) and 6th(Vikings) seeded teams, so they are in a playoff race at this point, which, no matter how it ends, will be a great experience for many of the young players on this team.

Best of the Rest:

-Sunday’s game marked the first time Philadelphia has rushed for 200+ yards in consecutive games since the 1978 season, when the team did so in three straight games (9/17/78-10/1/78). The Eagles’ three 200+ yard games are their most in a season since 2013 (five games).

-Philadelphia’s 242 rushing yards are the club’s most in a game since posting 246 yards against the Saints’ defense last season on 12/13/20 at Lincoln Financial Field.

-The Eagles’ 50 rushing attempts were their most in a game since 10/5/97 vs. Washington, when they produced 203 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries in a 24-10 victory. The last NFL team to record 50+ attempts in a game was Baltimore on 1/3/21 at Cincinnati (54).

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