Jalen Hurts Played the Best Game of his NFL Career

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We don’t like to get too high or too low on this website, but Jalen Hurts played the best game of his NFL career on Monday Night Football. Not a hot take. Look at what he finished with against a good Minnesota team with legit players on both sides of the ball:

  • 26 for 31
  • 333 passing yards
  • 83.9 completion percentage
  • 10.7 yards per toss
  • 1 touchdown
  • 1 interception
  • 108.7 QB rating
  • 11 carries for 57 yards
  • two rushing touchdowns

Say what you will about the interception, which came off Kenneth Gainwell’s hands on a screen play, but Hurts completing 84% of his passes and pounding those two scores in with his feet is elite work in a dual threat sense. He just looked very composed out there, didn’t get antsy in the pocket, spread the ball around, and picked apart a Vikings defense that played relatively soft for the majority of the game.

“He’s put in so much work,” said head coach Nick Sirianni after the game. “Of course (the game is) slowing down (for him). But it should, right, at this point? He is further into his process, and we’re talking about getting better every day and he lives that. He’s one of our of captains, one of our leaders, and he lives the theory of getting better every day. That’s why you’re seeing major improvements, it’s because of the type of person and the type of player he is.”

If there’s a better overall performance from Hurts, it’s hard to pick out. He put up big stats in the 2020 Arizona game, but completed less than 55% of his passes and was sacked six times. Certainly the week 1 Atlanta win in 2021 featured a great individual performance, and he was very good last year against Washington, Denver, and New Orleans, but if you’re focused on balance and combining both phases of the game, you can’t make too much of an argument that any of those performances were better than this one. He really did look like Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick out there at times.

“I think we just came out and played very efficient,” Hurts said after the 24-7 win. “Last week I talked about the inconsistencies and the urgency and the communication and the operation. And that starts with me. Obviously we operated at a high level early on in the game. I think that’s something that we have to be able to sustain throughout the whole entire game regardless of the situation. That starts with everybody. I think as a whole, as a team, coming out here and playing on Monday Night Football. I remember what happened last time we played on Monday Night Football (the Dallas loss). I haven’t forgotten about that. To be able to come out here and perform at a high level as a team, that’s big for us. To perform at a high level and still leave so much money on the table. I’m sure you saw the little video in the locker room last week. It’s exactly the same message this week in terms of the standard not being met. I think, like I said, we have a standard for ourselves and it only rises. Hell of a game tonight, but there’s a hell of a lot to learn from. As a football team, as a collective group, we have to learn from it.”

You can point to a lot of things regarding Hurts’ improvement, but if I had to take a stab at it, I think the consistency of working with Shane Steichen and Nick Sirianni for a second-straight season has been the most important thing. Hurts has had so little continuity in his career and worked under so many offensive coordinators, and when you add in the fact that he’s a dual-threat guy and not a typical pro style quarterback, it just leaves the door relatively open to myriad questions and approaches. Now we’re seeing what he looks like in year two of this system with a coaching staff that is set in place and not going anywhere.

Hurts also did this:

You can take it a step further here:

I typically don’t like the arbitrary stat where you just pick some random thresholds, like the basketball scribes. “Robert Covington is the first player with 0.4 deflections, 1.2 steals, 0.1 loose balls recovered, and a three point percentage above 35.7984675 in the modern era.” Well no shit, you just picked some random stuff out of Basketball Reference. But for Hurts, 300 passing yards, two rushing scores, and completing 80% of his passes shows incredible balance in both phases of the game and is a great exhibit of how far he’s come in a short amount of time.