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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson

EAGLES ESCAPE THE WINDY CITY WITH A WIN - INCH CLOSER TO NFC EAST TITLE AND NO. 1 SEED IN PLAYOFFS


Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was far from hos best Sunday, but he played well enough to lead the team to an important win over the Chicago Bears. Photo by Andy Lewis

The Eagles did not play very well Sunday against the Chicago Bears, yet they won 25-20. The Eagles offense turned the ball over three times but still scored 25 points.


The Eagles defense gave up 309 yards and 20 points to the Bears, but the Eagles, with all their mistakes, still rung up 427 yards of offense with A.J. Brown leading the way with nine receptions for 181 yards.


Quarterback Jalen Hurts was 22 of 37 for 315 yards but threw two interceptions. He was only sacked once but finished with a quarterback rating of 64.8.


Hurts did rush for 61 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.


The third-year signal caller was not happy with his own play.


He admitted in his postgame press conference, that his lack of preparation for the elements probably led to the interceptions.


At game time it was 18 degrees, with the wind chill factor it felt like three degrees outside.


“Early in the game, I really could not feel my hands,” Hurts said. “It was very cold. I did not have good vision on the field, personally. There was a lot of things going on.


“I think to be able persevere through that…that was not something that was done by myself.


“You look a special teams, and the plays they made,” Hurts continued. “Look at the defense after the turnovers and the way they showed up and got the ball to us and gave us opportunities.”


Hurts stopped for a moment and paid homage to Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who almost singlehandedly kept Chicago in the game, rushing 15 times for 91 yards and going 14 of 21 for 152 yards, two touchdown passes and a QB rating 119.5.


“Justin Fields is a helluva player,” Hurts said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I always have.”

Hurts said he it was the team’s poise that helped them improve to 13-1 on the season, and with the Cowboys overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a step closer to clinching the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.


“In the end, I think it was a testament to how we persevered as a team and how we played together as a team,” said Hurts, who many national observers believe is the front runner to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award for the season. “The great teams, the great players…they find a way. I think we all came together and found a way as a team.”


The Eagles will face the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, Christmas Eve at 4:25 PM (FOX) for the chance to claim the top spot in the playoffs and the first-round bye.


NOTES:

• With the win, Philadelphia has tied its single season record with 13 wins (also in 2004 and 2017)

• Nick Sirianni is the third coach since the 1970 merger to start 13-1 or better in their first or second career year as a head coach, joining Jim Caldwell (2009 Colts) and George Seifert (1990 49ers).

• Jalen Hurts (24 years, 133 days) is the youngest QB in NFL history to lead a team to a 13-1 start.

OFFENSIVE NOTES

• Hurts is responsible for 35 TDs this season, which is tied with Randall Cunningham (35 TDs in 1990) for the Eagles single-season record.

• Today marked the second time in Hurts’ career that he has rushed for 3 TDs in a single game (also 11/21/21 vs. New Orleans).

• Hurts joins Daunte Culpepper (9/3/2000 vs. Chicago and 9/30/07 at Miami) as the only QB since the 1970 merger to have multiple 3+ rushing TD performances in their career.

• Hurts also joined Dak Prescott (9/20/20 vs. Atlanta) as the only QB since the 1970 merger to rush for 3 TDs and throw for 300+ yards in a single game.

• Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter following a 9-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 32-yard FG by Jake Elliott, who improved to 12-of-14 (85.7%) this season.

• During the series, DeVonta Smith hauled in a pass from Jalen Hurts that went for 45 yards to set up the Eagles at the CHI 34. Hurts’ next completion then went to A.J. Brown for a gain of 16 yards, positioning the offense inside the red zone before the score.

• Philadelphia made it a 10-6 game at the end of the second quarter after Jalen Hurts’ 22-yard rushing TD completed a 9-play, 91-yard possession. Hurts set a new franchise QB record with his 11th rushing TD of the season (previously rushed for 10 TDs during the 2021 campaign).

• DeVonta Smith, who eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark before the end of the half, connected with Hurts on a 38-yard pass that set the Eagles up at the CHI 24.

• Philadelphia increased its advantage to 17-6 in the third quarter with a 1-yard rushing TD by Jalen Hurts, capping a 6-play, 42-yard opening drive. The series, which was set up by a 58-yard kickoff return by Boston Scott, also featured a 29-yard reception by A.J. Brown.

• Scott became the first Eagle to produce 50+ yard kickoff returns in consecutive weeks (also 66 yards in Week 14 at N.Y. Giants) since Josh Huff in 2016.

• The Eagles extended its lead to 25-13 following a 6-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard rushing TD by Jalen Hurts, followed by a successful two-point conversion rush attempt by Hurts.

• Facing a 3rd-and-6, Hurts was able to connect with A.J. Brown on a 68-yard pass to set up the TD.

• The catch marked Brown’s 12th reception of 50+ yards since 2019, which leads all NFL players in that time span.

• A.J. Brown led all receivers with 9 catches for a career-high 181 yards, while DeVonta Smith hauled in 5 catches for 126 yards.

• Brown has reached 1,201 receiving yards this season, which marks a new career-high, breaking his 2020 season in Tennessee (1,075 yards).

• Smith has recorded 5 catches of 30+ yards in the last 3 games, including 2 receptions of 40+ yards.

DEFENSIVE NOTES

• Philadelphia has recorded 6+ sacks in 3 straight games for the first time in franchise history.

•Javon Hargrave (2.0), Haason Reddick (2.0), and Josh Sweat (2.0) became the first Eagles trio to register 2.0+ sacks each in the same game since Broderick Bunkley (2.0), Trent Cole (3.5), and Juqua Parker (2.0) did so on 9/23/07 vs. Detroit.

• Hargrave, who increased his single-season career-high sack total to 10.0, has produced the most sacks by an Eagles DT since Fletcher Cox in 2018 (10.5).

• Reddick, who posted his 2nd game with 2.0 sacks (including a strip sack), has contributed to sacks in 6 consecutive games (0.5+ sacks). That marks the longest streak by an Eagle since Trent Cole in 2009 (also 6).

•Sweat, who set a new single-season career high in sacks with 9.5, has a sack streak of 4 games, which is the longest by an Eagle since Fletcher Cox during the 2020 season.

• Avonte Maddox forced a fumble against Bears WR Velus Jones that was recovered by Haason Reddick during the third quarter.

•Maddox finished the day with 6 tackles and a career-high 2 FF, marking the 7th FF of his career and the 3rd on the year.

MORE FROM THE GAME

• Jason Kelce moved into sole possession of the 2nd-longest streak of consecutive regular-season games started (136) in franchise history, behind Jon Runyan (144, 2000-08).

• Brandon Graham appeared in his 175th career regular-season game, tying Brent Celek (2007-17) for 4th in team history. Only David Akers (188, 1999-2010), Brian Dawkins (183, 1996-2008), and Harold Carmichael (180, 1971-83) have played more games with the Eagles. *


Email Al Thompson at al.thompson@footballstories.com


• Stats were from the Philadelphia Eagles Media Relations department.

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