It’s easy to call Jalen Hurts a quarterback.
After all, Hurts led all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards last season, with 784. And he started this season with 147 rushing yards in the first two games.
But it is misleading.
Hurts is having an MVP-caliber season and the Eagles are off to the best start in team history at 8-0 because of his arm, not his legs.
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In the Eagles’ 29-17 win over the Houston Texans on Thursday night, Hurts ran the ball nine times for 23 yards. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.9. This is the second highest mark of his career. His best, 140.6, came four days earlier in the Eagles’ 35-13 win over the Steelers.
Over the past three games, Hurts has rushed just 20 times for 60 yards, while completing 55 of 80 passes (68.8%). He threw for 683 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 128.3.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said running fewer Hurts wasn’t necessarily intentional.
“I just think that’s what we’ve done to win the game for the last two weeks,” he said. “Jalen’s running ability is going to be a big part of our success. … If we have to run him 20 times, we’ll do it 20 times. If we have to run Miles (Sanders) 20 times in a row, we’ll run him 20 times If we have to play it 20 times in a row, we’ll do it.
“Whatever we have to do and whatever we think is best to win the football game, we will do.”
For the season, Hurts completed 68.2 percent of his passes and threw for 2,042 yards. His passer rating of 107.8 ranks third in the NFL, behind only Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes. Projected for an entire 17-game season, Hurts will break the Eagles record for single-season passing yards with 4,339. Carson Wentz is the only Eagles QB to exceed 4,000 passing yards in a season, with 4,039 in 2019.
Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes last season and had an 87.2 rating. In 2020, when Hurts replaced Wentz for the last 4½ games of the season, he completed 52% of his passes and had a rating of 77.6.
“I think he’s improved maybe more than any player in the NFL,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “Outstanding player. He can kick the ball. He’s mobile. A big guy to knock down.”
Hurts says he’s way off his ceiling.
“There’s still work to be done,” Hurts told reporters after the game. “I can only smile for so long. I’m hungry for it and I’ll keep going.”
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.