Eagles Make the Grade by Turning to Jalen Hurts

The Eagles finally made the move from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts in the third quarter Sunday
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The Eagles finally made the move from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts in the third quarter Sunday in Green Bay during an ugly 30-16 setback to the Packers, Philadelphia’s fourth straight loss.

Wentz was just 6-for-15 for 79 yards and a dismal 57.4 passer rating for the Eagles (3-8-1), who were losing 20-3 when coach Doug Pederson finally pulled the plug on the struggling fifth-year veteran.

Hurts did give the offense some juice with his arm and legs, and Philadelphia climbed to within one-score after a Hurts 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ward and a 73-yard punt return TD from Jalen Reagor.

The Eagles even had the football with an opportunity to tie the game late before Aaron Jones’ brilliant 77-yard TD run sealed things for the Packers (9-3).

Hurts wasn't exactly Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball, finishing 5-for-12 for 109 yards with the TD and an interception but he did provide a spark to what was a moribund offense and Pederson deserves some credit for making a difficult decision.

Ultimately, it wasn’t enough and the Eagles are now really up against it after the New York Giants pulled off an upset in Seattle to move to 5-7 on the season. But the move was the only clear A on the report this afternoon.

ACCOUNTABILITY - F: Talk of accountability proved to lip service which shouldn’t surprise. Talk - no matter the message - is always just talk until it’s backed up by the play on the field and the Eagles simply don’t have the horses right now to play with good teams like Green Bay.

THE RUNNING GAME - D: Despite all available evidence the run-pass ratio remains a thing in Philadelphia and if there was any game where the Eagles would want to run the football this was it because a successful ground game would help in so many ways.

There was the obvious part that running the football helps a struggling quarterback and then there is the added incentive of chewing clock, shortening the game, and keeping the football out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands.

More so, the biggest weakness on the Packers defense is stopping the run and the last time the Eagles were in Titletown in Sept. of 2019, Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders combined for 159 yards on the ground (Howard 15 for 87 and two TDs with another through the air by the way, and Sanders 11 for 72).

This was Howard’s first game back after a brief, unsuccessful sojourn in Miami so the same pieces were at Pederson’s disposal in the backfield at least. The difference of course was the offensive line. The Eagles ran it OK on the opening drive resulting in a long Jake Elliott field goal but once they fell behind it was scrapped with Sanders finishing with 10 carries for 31 yards and Howard with four for 19.

COVERING DAVANTE - D: After getting chewed up by DK Metcalf on Monday, Darius Slay was greeted by perhaps the most well-rounded WR in football, Davante Adams. And Slay had a calf injury to boot. Adams tortured Slay again before the veteran CB was forced to leave with a knee injury, scoring two touchdowns, one where he just road-graded Slay into the end zone, on a play where Adams could have been called for a face mask penalty when his hand got tangled in Slay's helmet for several seconds. 

YOUNG OTs C-minus: Jordan Mailata got the go-ahead to finish up the season at left tackle last week and now presumably rookie Jack Driscoll is going to be counted on to do the same at right tackle after recovering from an ankle injury.

The Packers most disruptive defender up front is edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, who is often allowed to move from side to side depending on matchups. He has his pick on Sunday and even went inside on Jason Peters on occasion.

Smith, playing with a balky ankle, had 1.5 of the Packers seven sacks on the day.

Wentz was sacked for a third time in the 10th consecutive game with just over five minutes to go in the second quarter. He’s in David Carr's shell-shocked territory right now so make any excuses you want for how he got there but ignoring it seems wasteful.

THE DEFENSIVE GAME PLAN - C: In many ways, it’s Godspeed going against Rodgers, who sees the game like no one else at the line of scrimmage, and constantly has opposing pass rushes on their heels with the best hard-count in history, one of the quickest releases in history and unmatched pocket awareness. If you blitz him you’re going to get gashed and if you play coverage, it would be death by 1,000 paper cuts.

The Eagles defense had some moments and technically kept the Packers under their season average of 31.7 points per game so that deserves a passing grade.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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