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The Philadelphia Eagles pounded the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Round on Saturday. The game wasn’t close and the Eagles demonstrated why they earned the top seed in the conference. And quarterback Jalen Hurts, who missed the team’s Week 16 and 17 games due to a shoulder injury, played well in the game.
He didn’t have to do much, since Philadelphia gashed the Giants on the ground. Hurts completed 16 of 24 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The Giants sacked him once, but Hurts did not turn the ball over and rushed for another score. Solid. But unspectacular. The Eagles rushed for 268 yards, though, so he did what he needed to do.
Despite the clean but relatively pedestrian performance, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni delivered the ultimate praise for his starting quarterback.
“I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having — I shouldn’t even go there — it’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” Sirianni said. “He’s your leader. He’s your guy.
“Hopefully, that’s the biggest respect I can pay to him, comparing his ability to being on the field to a Michael Jordan type. This guy leads. He brings this calmness to the entire team. He plays great football. He’s as tough as they come. To me, nobody has played any better football than him this year.”
Whoa, Nick Sirianni delivers overly high praise for Jalen Hurts
Look, I’m all for building your guys up. Sirianni needs his quarterback to be comfortable and confident if the team is going to win the Super Bowl, which is obviously their goal.
But comparing him to arguably the greatest American athlete in history is quite hyperbolic. Jalen Hurts won his first playoff game ever Saturday. And, his past performances in big games have been less than impressive.
Don’t forget, Hurts was benched at halftime of the College Football Playoff Championship against Georgia in 2019. Tua Tagovailoa ultimately led the team from behind to win it all.
Hurts started five College Football Playoff games in his career. He completed 54 of 108 (50%) passes for 546 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
I don’t remember Michael Jordan ever being benched at halftime of any game. In fact, Jordan helped lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to an NCAA Tournament championship as a freshman, finishing second on the team with 16 points in the final.
I’m not going to revisit Jordan’s entire college or NBA career, but it’s so far beyond anything Jalen Hurts has ever done, the comparison makes no sense.
Last year, in Hurts’ first career NFL playoff start, he was … bad. He completed under 55% of his passes and threw two picks. People wondered if he should be the starter this season.
He answered that with a near-MVP season. Hurts was good. He won an NFL playoff start against an inferior opponent at home.
Let’s see, I don’t know, at least one Super Bowl title before we crown him as the GOAT, shall we?
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ