INDIANAPOLIS – Those eight wins in a row that left Philadelphia feverish with Super Bowl hopes and undefeated dreams were about to turn to cold sweats against the Colts on Sunday.
The Eagles were on the ropes, down 10 entering the final quarter, and showed nothing on offense for more than three quarters. Heck, they only had three points and were in danger of losing their second game in a row to a team with a record below .500 after falling for the first time six days earlier to Washington.
Jalen Hurts changed the narrative.
The Eagles QB used his arms and legs to pull out a thriller, beating the Indianapolis Colts with a stunning comeback, 17-16, at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
It is the first time the Eagles overcame a double-digit deficit in the fourth since DeSean Jackson's walk-off punt return against the New York Giants in 2010. Philadelphia trailed in this one 13-3.
Hurts’ 7-yard TD run with 1:20 to play and Jake Elliott’s ensuing PAT capped the comeback and pushed the Eagles’ record to 9-1.
"I don’t know how many times I’ve been through only scoring three points through the first three and half quarters and still win," said Eagles center Jason Kelce, who tied Chuck Bednarik for the most games played in Eagles history by an offensive lineman with 169.
Of course, Kelce didn't become an Eagle until 2011, the year after Jackson's TD, so this was his first experience with a comeback like that.
Hurts' 7-yard TD run on a QB was as clean a play as you'll ever see. Nobody touched him as the middle of the field parted like the Red Sea.
"That was one that was in the bag and we pulled it out, and I think we pulled it out at the right time, at the right game," said Hurts. "You know, we work really hard to try and get on the same page, go out there, execute.
"One, knowing what we're going to execute, knowing how we're going to execute it, and knowing why we want to execute the play. And hell of a call by coach. Hell of an execution by the O-linemen. We found a way.”
To make that play, Hurts first had to make another and it came moments earlier on fourth-and-two at the Colts' 9. Again, it was a QB draw and he gained three.
"It was do-or-die," said newcomer, DT Linval Joseph. "Who wants it more? Who’s going to step up? He did that.
"Once he did that on fourth down, you know what? I knew we were going to be alright. We just gotta score here, and then we earned the right to rush. We scored, and the rest was history."
The score gave Philly its first lead of the day and likely increased Hurts’ MVP odds after a terrific fourth quarter.
He ran for 52 of his 86 yards and threw a TD early in the final quarter to Quez Watkins that covered 22 yards to pull the Eagles to within 13-10 with 13:31 to play.
"Honestly, I was being transparent throughout the game, telling him what looks they were giving me," said Watkins of his second TD of the season. "Coaches trust me to make a play. Jalen trusted me to make a play. And I made it."
Hurts ended the game 18-for-25 for 190 yards and a passer rating of 107.1.
The Eagles' defense, buoyed by the addition of Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, helped hold the Colts under 100 yards rushing as a team, the first time in five games that their run defense was able to hold an opponent under 120 yards.
"Man, I’m glad to have them here," said edge rusher Haason Reddick. "A big help in the run game (Sunday), helping out Fletch (Cox) and Grave (Javon Hargrave).
"I said it when they first got here, I knew we would go after them and try to sign them to get more bigger bodies in there. I’m appreciative. I’m happy to have them, and that they came here and balled out with us."
Jonathan Taylor had 84 yards on 22 carries.
The Eagles ran the ball for 141 yards.
After taking their first lead with 1:20 to play, the Eagles defense stood tall one final time, getting a third-down sack from Brandon Graham. Facing fourth-and-long, the Colts could not convert and Philly was able to run out the clock.
"I saw that (Colts QB) Matt Ryan kept stepping up in the pocket and I wanted to make sure he didn’t step up," said Graham, who has four sacks this season. "So, I went all out and bull rushed, knew we needed a play. I didn’t even see him til I saw him. I didn’t know he still had the ball."
Graham’s sack was one of four against Ryan. Suh and Joseph shared on in their Philly debuts. Reddick notched one to take over the team lead with 7.5 ad so did Milton Williams.
The defense allowed only one TD all game, and it came on the opening drive. After that, they gave up just three field goals, one of which came after Hurts' fumble to open the third. The defense did not allow a TD despite the Colts' offense taking over at Philly's 22.
The Eagles won despite losing the turnover battle. Hurts lost a fumble that led to a Colts field goal and a 13-3 lead and A.J. Brown fumbled in the fourth. The Eagles forced a fumble from Taylor, with Marcus Epps stripping the ball out and T.J. Edwards recovering it.
Philly also trailed at halftime for the second straight week, this time 10-3. They hadn’t trailed at intermission for their first eight games.
DeVonta Smith had six catches for 78 yards for the Eagles with Brown adding five for 60. In addition to his TD, Watkins had two receptions for 31 yards.
"We clawed, we scratched, we fought and kept going," said head coach Nick Sirianni. "We won at the end. I think any time your back is against the wall, right, and you respond at all levels, offense, defense, special teams, yeah, it feels pretty sweet, and it builds. You can build from anything."
The Eagles will try to become the first team in the league to win 10 games when the Green Bay Packers visit on Sunday night.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.