Eagles showcase all the ways they can beat you, even with Jalen Hurts not at his best
The Philadelphia Eagles punched their ticket to the Super Bowl in dominating fashion with a 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game Sunday. The game played out in their favor due to injuries and some penalty luck, but there was a piece of this contest that mirrored their blowout victory over the New York Giants last week: They didn’t need Jalen Hurts to do a whole lot to score.
However, this weekend’s version of Hurts looked different than the one that suited up in the divisional round.
Last week, Hurts was conservative with the ball after missing time with a shoulder injury sustained late in the season. On Sunday afternoon, the quarterback who was an MVP candidate all season was flat-out bad throwing the ball. He was accurate within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, but he struggled to throw the ball downfield and to the edges of the 49ers' defense. He found some success as a runner as the game went on, but suffered from wild inaccuracy for the majority of the game. It didn’t matter Sunday as the Eagles ran over a decimated opponent.
Hurts notched a 72.3 QBR as he went 15-of-25 for 121 passing yards and rushed for 39 yards on 11 attempts. His longest completion was a 29-yarder to DeVonta Smith, a completion that replay showed shouldn't have counted. Hurts had only three other completions that went for 10 or more yards.
It feels strange to say about a championship game featuring two of the best teams in the league, but there wasn’t much to learn about the Eagles in this game. The 49ers were stuck in a run-only offense for the second half and they, predictably, weren’t able to accomplish much with that approach. Still, Philadelphia deserves credit for scoring 31 points on arguably the NFL's best defense and being able to score that many points without an effective passing game. The 49ers' defense played well early in the game, but San Francisco got worn down with the lack of help it received from its depleted offense.
The Eagles were able to play the second half on cruise control. That speaks to the talent and quality of their team as well as the situation they were gifted Sunday. The fact that there isn’t much to learn from this game isn’t a slight on the Eagles or their chances to win the Super Bowl. A team as good as this should dominate against an opponent that has been decimated by injuries at the game's most important position. Based on the team that the 49ers fielded by the end of the game, this should have been the expected outcome.
This is still who the Eagles have been the entire season, even if Hurts didn’t help them much through the air Sunday. They have an authoritative rushing attack that seems to have gotten better in the playoffs, the defense is incredibly talented up front and their coaching staff continues to give them enough of an edge for all of their talent to shine through.
As a viewer, the NFC championship game was incredibly anticlimactic — but the Eagles aren’t spectators to their own success. A win is a win and at this point, and making it to the Super Bowl is the only thing that matters. They’ll likely need more from Hurts against the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, but it’s still a great sign that the Eagles’ roster is so complete they can put up multi-touchdown victory margins without much help from Hurts.
The Eagles are still an elite team. It was just displayed in a much more mundane manner than is usually expected from a conference championship game. Teams can only play who lines up across from them and they’ve earned the right take on the AFC champion.