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Jalen Hurts Missed Some Opportunities, but QB Put Team in Position to Win

It was the defense that faltered after a solid drive to tie the game vs. the Chargers, but the learning curve for Hurts has been slow to develop
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PHILADELPHIA – Every week, Jalen Hurts talks about playing better, about learning from every opportunity.

Sunday was another one of those times after the Eagles lost, 27-24, to the Los Angeles Chargers on a last-second, 24-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins at Lincoln Financial Field. The setback left the Eagles at 3-6 and 0-4 at home.

The quarterback missed a couple of opportunities.

Two stuck out to him: throwing off his back foot at the end of the first half to a streaking DeVonta Smith across the back of the end zone and a bad throw to Dallas Goedert deep downfield on a third-and-five throw that was generated from L.A.’s 45-yard line.

“I was expecting something else,” said Hurts of the throw to Smith in the end zone. “I ended up getting out of the pocket and made a throw kind of backpedaling. Maybe I didn’t need to do that, ended up leading him too much. It’s a missed opportunity in my eyes.”

The throw went wide of the mark. Smith was open.

RELATED: DeVonta Smith Puts Tragedy Aside, Excels vs. Chargers

Instead of a 14-7 Eagles lead at halftime, it was 10-7 after Jake Elliott hit from 24 yards out with 24 seconds to play in the second quarter.

The throw to Goedert stopped their first possession in its tracks. A completion maybe puts them in the red zone, maybe it’s a touchdown and it’s 7-0 Eagles, Goedert was that open. Instead, they punted. No points.

“I think about the opening drive to Dallas Goedert,” said Hurts. “Couldn’t really follow through my throw, couldn’t finish through it, but maybe I could’ve got deeper in the pocket knowing they were bringing five. It’s kind of hard to block man-on-man sometimes. It’s something, again, that I’m going to learn from.”

It’s only been nine games, but the learning curve hasn’t quite developed for Hurts. Time may be running out on him to keep learning, as unfair as that sounds for a QB who has played in six different offensive systems in the last six years.

The NFL is a results-based business and, well, three wins is three wins.

Head coach Nick Sirianni is still all-in on his QB, calling him a stud afterward. A big-time stud, actually. 

He referenced the 28-yard TD throw he made to DeVonta Smith that tied the game at 24-24 with 6:07 to play.

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It wasn’t Hurts’ fault he didn’t get the ball back. That fell on the defense who allowed the Chargers to chew up all but two seconds of the clock from there with a 15-play drive for the winning field goal.

“I think they had a blitz zero on him the last play,” said Sirianni about the 28-yard touchdown throw. “Jalen ended up, we all saw that, ended up getting to a play and Jalen ended up doing great communication to tell everybody what the play was and just fired a strike to DeVonta.

“But I think what was really, really impressive - obviously that throw was really unbelievable in the face of some pressure - and I know the offensive line did a heck of a job protecting against that blitz zero, but that's advanced football right there to be able to see what was going on and to be able to get the communication at the line of scrimmage and everybody be on the same page.”

RELATED: Eagles Remain Winless at Home, Fall 27-24 to Chargers as Defense Falters

There’s no denying Hurts can make plays with his legs.

Twice on the game-tying drive, Hurts picked up first downs in third-and-four situations, the first one requiring a somersault through the air to gain the line he needed. The second was an 11-yard bolt. On the next play after that, he threw the strike to Smith.

“He just was really unfazed by the scenario and just showed a lot of poise,” said Sirianni. “Down seven everything in his eyes said put it on me and let's go, let's keep running the ball, let's keep play-action it, make sure we are converting on third down.”

One could argue that if the defense finds a way to make a stop at 24-24, finds a way to make the Chargers punt for the first time all game, Hurts finds a way to win this game.

As it was, he threw just 17 times, completing 11 throws for 162 yards and one TD, which was his 11th this season. He ran 10 times for 62 yards and leads the team with 494 yards.

“From the offseason where we’re doing five a.m. workouts to throwing the ball around, developing chemistry, I’ve always talked about – and sometimes I forget how young dude is just because of how he has taken control of the team, taken control of the offense,” said RB Boston Scott. 

“Tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s an eraser and what I mean by that is that when things aren’t right, he makes them right. So utmost respect for that guy and what he’s been able to do week in and week out. He’s a warrior. He’s a winner.”

RELATED: Eagles Defense Still Not Producing a Pass Rush

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.