Hurts and Brown’s Heroic Connection Rescues Eagles in 3rd-and-20 Miracle

Hurts and Brown’s Heroic Connection Rescues Eagles in 3rd-and-20 Miracle

It was a time of despair. The Eagles’ 17-point halftime lead was cut to two, Adoree Jackson’s 76-yard pick 6 moments earlier gave the Giants a lot of momentum, the Eagles supported their own 26-yard drive, and they punted. 3rd and 20 minutes in the fourth quarter.

Not ideal. It’s the kind of place where a lot of players don’t even try to get a first foul because too many bad things can happen — sacks, fumbles, interceptions. So it looked like we were going to see D’Andre Swift run four yards up the middle, Braden Mann punt, and the Giants get the ball back somewhere around their own 30 yard line with two and you just hope. protection stops. “There aren’t many games with third-and-20,” Nick Sirianni said after the Eagles beat the Giants 33-25 on Monday night.

In fact, the Eagles never completed a third down of 20 yards or more since Sirianni took over and went 0-11. The last 3rd and 20 (or longer) the Eagles converted was late in 2020, at the end of Doug Pederson’s season, when Jalen Hurts threw a 32-yard touchdown to — who else? – Quez Watkins lost to Cards in Glendale Going back to 1994 — the first year Stathead tracked results beyond passing yards and yards — the Eagles went 7 percent of the games on third-and-20 or more.

The level of the entire league is five percent this year. You get the idea. But this is Jalen Hurts we’re talking about, and he does things that normal people don’t even try. With that much on the line and a three-ball, two-point lead, Hurts went to work. He dropped back to the 15, didn’t see an open receiver, stepped into the pocket and eluded a pair of Giants pass rushers while scanning the field.

Then, as he fled, he shot A.J. Brown on deep right lateral line. Hurts got enough of the throw to get the ball into Brown’s hands and put it out of the reach of a leaping Isaiah Simmons. It was one of his best throws of the year. Brown caught the ball at the Giants’ 46-yard line — enough for a first down — and then outran Jason Pinnock, Cordale Flott and Simmons for six more yards. Down first. “I mean, what an incredible play by Jalen and A.J.,” Sirianni said.

“And then to be able to drive at that speed… and come down and stop? “It was an incredible individual effort by Jalen A.J., the offensive line gave Jalen enough time to escape and step into the pocket and shoot the ball to A.J.” The Eagles haven’t hit a whole bunch of long passes lately. Entering Monday night, Hurts had completed just five passes of 30 yards or more in the Eagles’ last six games. But when the Eagles needed it most, he and Brown responded.

The Eagles’ previous five drives went punt/field goal/fumble/punt/pick-6. But after converting a 3rd-and-20 and then Kenny Gainwell’s 22-yarder on the next drive — the Eagles’ two longest plays of the second half — they drove down the field and scored the touchdown they needed .

“They scored 15 points with two turnovers (and we talked about that a lot in training camp,” Sirianni said. “Hey, we’re in a jam. Somebody’s got to get us out. We’ve got to do a good job. training so you all can make plays and then someone has to make the play and educate us, “Jalen and A.J. did just that in this case.”

It was vintage Hurts, and the kind of improbable creative play we haven’t seen enough of from the 25-year-old quarterback in recent weeks. “I just held, held enough and worked through the pocket and got it open through the defender,” Hurts said. “AJ played a great game, survived, didn’t let the situation get the best of him and found a way to overcome the situation.”

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