It only took one throw. Jalen Hurts let it loose on his first passing attempt of the game and suddenly the uneasiness that crept into Philly’s often troubling sports psyche – yes, but how is his ailing right shoulder really doing? – seemed to dissolve.
Hurt’s shoulder was fine. There is no doubt about that.
With hurts under complete control, the Philadelphia Eagles once again look like the team that has rarely been challenged in a 13-1 start that was the best in the NFL.
Hurts threw two touchdown passes and ran for a goal in a dominant first half, and the Eagles defeated the New York Giants 38-7 in an NFC division playoff game on Saturday night.
“Having him out there, I know, that’s huge praise, it’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” said coach Nick Sirianni. “He is your leader. he’s your type That’s the greatest respect I can give him.”
Top seeded Philadelphia will host next Sunday’s NFC Championship game against either Dallas or San Francisco.
Hurts missed two late-season losses with a sprained right shoulder and showed the Giants nothing in the season finale as the Eagles mounted a vanilla offense to protect the Pro Bowl QB.
Under bright postseason lights in the Linc, the Eagles unleashed an offensive aimed at beating the Giants. Hurts blinded early with his arm, and Philadelphia’s offensive line opened big holes for Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell as the Eagles grounded for 268 yards. Hurts finished 16 of 24 for 154 yards.
“He seemed like old Jalen to me,” Sanders said.
Hurts showed he was fine when he aired a pass on the second play and hit DeVonta Smith in the crotch for a 40-yard reception. The fun was just beginning in Philly.
Hurts was clean on the drive, completing passes for 9 yards, 5 yards and then – boom – a 16-yard TD pass to a one-handed grab by tight end Dallas Goedert.
Second drive, more of it. Hurts had completions of 12 yards and 9 yards en route to a 9-yard TD pass to Smith.
It was 14-0 in the first quarter and the Giants needed a standing eight count. New York flipped the ball on his first possession on the downs, and Daniel Jones was intercepted by James Bradberry on his second.
The linc went berserk with full-throated chanting of “EAGLES!” filling the air and Sirianni went wild chest-butting assistants on the sidelines.
“Philly has been drinking since 8 a.m.,” Goedert tore out the rough atmosphere.
Hurts’ shoulder may not have been 100 percent fit.
But his passing was: He went 7 of 7 for 89 yards in the first quarter.
“This guy is leading, he brings that calmness to the whole team,” Sirianni said. “He’s as tough as they come. For me there is no one who played better football than him this year.”
Even when the calls for the Eagles were obvious, the Giants were helpless to stop them. Case in point: The Eagles had the ball at the New York 3. Did Boston Scott give the ball? Yes they did. Scott scored his 11th touchdown against the Giants and took a 21-0 lead. He only has 19 TDs in his career. Giants defense coordinator Wink Martindale angered Philly fans this week when he insisted Scott was not a “giant killer.”
It’s hard to argue against that now.
Hurts ended the half with a 5-yard touchdown run — he bobbed the shotgun snap but still rolled untouched into the end zone — for a 28-0 lead. There have only been four other one-sided first-half playoff shutouts in NFL history.
“I’m so proud of this team for how we got out of here. I’m so proud of these fans. It’s a Philly thing, you know? It’s special,” Hurts said.
Gainwell finished with 112 yards on 12 carries, including a late 35-yard touchdown. Sanders had 17 rushes for 90 yards.
Coach Brian Daboll’s Giants were confused from the start and didn’t look like the team that defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 last week to clinch their first postseason win since their Super Bowl win under Tom Coughlin 11 years ago achieve.
Matt Brieda had an 8-yard TD run for the Giants in the third quarter. Daniel Jones was 15 of 27 for 135 yards and a pick.
“Believe Philly, they did everything better than us tonight,” Daboll said.
Hurts ran, threw and directed offense with the same authority he did when he led the Eagles to a 14-1 start and won a City not so sure about him preseason. In last year’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay, Hurts threw two interceptions and was just 23 of 43 for 258 yards.
A year later, Hurts is a fan favorite and has the Eagles chasing their first Super Bowl since 2018.
“We’re close to the top,” Sirianni said. “But don’t look up just yet.”
NEVER BREAK THE CHAIN
There was a broken connection on the Linc.
Play was briefly halted in the opening quarter due to a broken first-down chain. The NFL still uses chains connected to two signal poles to measure the distance to a first down. When the Giants were driving mid-quarter, the game was delayed because of an “administrative stoppage.” The chain was quickly replaced and play resumed with the Eagles leading 7-0.
Two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper, who led the Phillies to the World Series, narrated a hype video. Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, a native New Jersey native and Eagles fan, attended the game and urged the crowd to raise their voices.
The Eagles advanced to 6-0 and Hurts threw two touchdown passes in a 26-17 win over the Cowboys in October. The Cowboys won 40-34 on December 24 against Hurts’ backup, Gardner Minshew.
The Eagles last played in San Francisco in 2021 and lost.
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