The Eagles didn’t beat the Colts, Jalen Hurts did. That distinction is each completely vital, and horrifyingly correct — and the Philadelphia coaches must get their heads out of their asses and understand it.
There’s immense nervousness that comes from dominance when no person anticipated it. Hell, it would trump the nervousness that comes from infinite dropping. Dealing with mediocrity is a recognized amount for many teaching staffs, as a result of the messaging is fairly easy: We will get higher. Whenever you’re dominating and the expectation was a playoff push at greatest, all types of different ideas sneak in. Doubt, imposter syndrome, concern of failure — all of which may affect your resolution making. That’s exactly what we noticed on Sunday for almost all of the sport, and it’s a rattling disgrace.
The Eagles went 8-0 due to the workforce’s unwavering perception in Jalen Hurts to hold the load and be the man. After one embarrassing loss to the Commanders it’s like their world was turned on its head, and towards the Colts the teaching workers felt the necessity to sport plan round Hurts, quite than showcase him.
It failed miserably.
For a lot of the sport on Sunday it felt just like the Eagles have been truly going to lose to Jeff Saturday and the Colts, as a result of Philly completely forgot itself. This was the definition of taking part in right down to your competitors, and it was pathetic. For 3 quarters the offense bracketed Hurts, taking part in round him as a substitute if having the offense run by means of him — treating their MVP-caliber QB like Zach Wilson, quite than Josh Allen. It resulted in boring, predictable offensive play that shined a highlight on all of Philadelphia’s worst offensive gamers, and for some time it appeared like Indy would win due to it.
To be honest, this hasn’t been an unimaginable three weeks for Hurts. He was mediocre towards the hapless Texans, and actually struggled towards Washington. Those self same emotions of tension and doubt crept into his play as nicely, however dropping to Washington actually felt like a pivot level within the workforce’s pondering. It stemmed from placing a variety of religion in Hurts in Week 10 which wasn’t rewarded. In that sport his common meant air yards was 8.0 in keeping with Professional Soccer Focus, the third-most of Hurts’ season — and he actually wasn’t in a position to push the ball and transfer the offense when it requested him to win along with his arm. A big a part of that may be a credit score to the Commanders’ protection, nevertheless it was sufficient to change the Eagles’ sport plan for the Colts, and that’s the place this went off the rails.
For the higher a part of three quarters the impression of Hurts was faraway from the offense. He was a nice afterthought, touching the ball on each down — however not that means something to the grander design of the sport. It confirmed, as Indy jumped out to a 13-3 lead coming into the forth quarter. It wasn’t a lot, nevertheless it certain felt prefer it contemplating the ebb and circulation of the sport.
Then the forth quarter got here, and it was like Hurts defied the sport plan as much as that time. As a substitute of settling for mediocrity he put your entire offense on his again and pulled them throughout the road by his rattling self, together with the game-winning run, which got here on an intuition play which wasn’t referred to as — and Hurts relied on his personal magic.
The Colts’ mascot additionally thrust a bunch of instances for some cause.
The Eagles are a very, actually good soccer workforce. They’ve the expertise to go all the best way and win the rattling Tremendous Bowl, however solely in the event that they belief what introduced them right here within the first place. Transferring away from Jalen Hurts is a surefire method to botch every thing they’ve constructed up thus far, and the sport towards the Colts on Sunday needs to be a wakeup name for Nick Sirianni and Philly teaching workers that this workforce’s fortunes are inexorably tied to Hurts.
Make no mistake, he’s not an ideal QB — not but. In some ways he’s nonetheless rising into the function because the function participant of an NFL workforce, and that takes time. Nevertheless, the surefire method to harm his confidence and injury the Eagles on the identical time is transferring away a Hurts-based offense. At this level they should reside and die by means of him, and on Sunday they received 100% due to what Jalen Hurts did.
Jalen Hurts is an enormous winner this week, however the Eagles are losers due to their resolution making.
Winner: The Dallas one-two punch
The Cowboys actually wanted a big-time signature win to cement themselves within the NFC playoff image and guarantee they might nonetheless cling with the surprisingly hard-hitting NFC East — they usually did simply that towards the Cowboys.
There are an excellent many the explanation why Dallas was in a position to so completely dominate Minnesota, together with their unimaginable protection (which I spoke about a number of week in the past), however ultimately quite a bit got here right down to the Vikings having completely no reply for the workforce’s two operating backs. Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard ate Minnesota alive, combining for 236 all-purpose yards and 4 touchdowns.
The lion’s share of this got here from Pollard, who performed out of his thoughts on Sunday — nevertheless it was actually concerning the duality of Pollard engaged on intermediate downs and Elliott on brief downs which made the distinction.
We haven’t actually seen an offensive look from the Cowboys like this previous to Sunday, and it’s one other manner this workforce can win down the stretch. On paper the Vikings nonetheless have a greater document, however for my cash Dallas is constructed significantly better for the longer term.
Winner: Ron Rivera
At what level can we begin giving some Coach of the Yr buzz to Ron Rivera? It’s absurd how nicely he has the Commanders taking part in with out a actual quarterback, and everybody in Washington is shopping for in to his system.
Sure, there are a ton of notable COY candidates, led unquestionably by Nick Sirianni (assuming he doesn’t botch every thing), however the Commanders are taking part in higher soccer than they’ve any proper to. Positive, beating the Texans isn’t precisely a significant accomplishment — however this workforce is taking part in exhausting, no nonsense soccer and doing all of the little issues proper alongside the best way.
Rivera deserves all of the credit score for what’s taking place, and if he finds a method to get Washington into the playoffs you’d be exhausting pressed to search out anybody doing extra with much less expertise than Rivera.
Loser: The Broncos
Y’all misplaced the Raiders. As soon as once more, I don’t actually need to discuss this steaming dumpster workforce — however at this level Denver has cemented itself as one of many worst groups in your entire NFL now. What an absolute mess.
Winner: Dan Campbell
That was an extremely gutsy win towards the Giants for a Detroit, and a much-needed win for Dan Campbell. At this level I believe everybody has seen rumors that the seat in Detroit was getting scorching for Campbell, however I believe within the instant future he’s the right coach for a rebuilding group. The Lions nonetheless have a very damaged roster in want of star energy, however Campbell confirmed they will beat a top-tier workforce based mostly off Campbell’s management.
There’s a ton of labor to be completed, however transferring on would have been a mammoth mistake for the Lions — and beating the Giants ought to go a great distance in direction of preserving Campbell in Detroit.
Loser: Zach Wilson, who’s blaming the climate
“I believe it’s important to keep in mind it is windy as hell on the market too, guys,” Zach Wilson mentioned after the #Jets loss.
Noodle-armed Mac Jones, with far much less expertise round him, accomplished 23 of 27 passes (85.2 p.c) for 246 yards in the identical situations.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) November 21, 2022
I see Jets followers someway contorting themselves into defending a 9-for-22, 77 yard sport and all I gotta say to that’s: Bless your coronary heart. It’s a southern factor. Google it.