Hurts was instrumental in the Eagles’ rushing attack against San Francisco’s vaunted defense, utilizing his threat in run-pass options for an offense that totaled 148 yards on the ground. He gained 39 of those yards and found the end zone on a QB sneak to extend Philadelphia’s lead to three scores late in the third quarter.
“They played a really good game,” Hurts said. “They have a really good coach – I’ve always talked about that – he does a really good job with them, especially with those guys up front and the linebacking corps kinda rallying to the ball. We ran the ball really well. They didn’t really give us opportunities to take shots down the field. We had some one on one shots but it was kind of hit or miss.
“We kind of took what they gave us — it kind of ended up being one of those games.”
The rushing TD was the 15th by Hurts this season, which broke Cam Newton’s 2011 record for most in a single season by a QB in NFL history (including playoffs), per NFL Research.
Hurts finished the game completing 15 of 25 passes for 121 yards. The game script called for the Eagles to focus on the run to work the clock while owning a lead against a team without a QB physically able to throw the ball.
Before Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson’s injuries, however, Hurts was called on to make a throw to DeVonta Smith on a fourth-and-3 play and the Eagles QB delivered a perfect 29-yard strike during the game’s opening drive. With the one-handed grab in question upon replay, the Eagles hurried to the line of scrimmage to get a play off in time before San Francisco had a chance to throw the red flag.
It was a heady moment for the Eagles, who went on to score the game’s first TD two plays later. Hurts saw that moment as a testament to Philadelphia’s growth this season.
“I think sometimes when you get to this point of the season, when things kind of get tight, you want to make the big plays, but all of this comes down to the details,” he said. “The attention to details, the football IQ and the fundamentals to do the right things.”
Hurts, who is still dealing with an injured shoulder, never wavered when approached by an oncoming defender over the course of the game, and there were several instances when the Eagles QB was slow to get up after a big hit. It was an ongoing reminder of the sacrifice Hurts has made in the latter part of the Eagles’ season, returning from his two-game absence to win the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in Week 18. It was all necessary for Philadelphia to host Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, and Hurts is now able to continue his MVP-caliber season into February.
“I know I’ve been through a lot personally, but I want to steer it [to] the direction of how good this team has been playing together, being together, challenging one another, when we experience painful times and some tough times, we always found a way to overcome,” Hurts said. “You want to be going into it in a situation like this and we have a chance to go out there and win it all, so we want to prepare to go do that.”
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