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October 22, 2023

Eagles game ball: Jalen Hurts holds strong against Dolphins, Darius Slay makes the big play

Jalen Hurts and Darius Slay came up big when the Eagles needed them most.

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-Week-7-Eagles-Dolphins.jpg Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Jalen Hurts held strong for the Eagles.

With the Eagles in need of a bounce back against what could have easily been a potent Miami Dolphins offense, Jalen Hurts held strong – even after giving up a game-tying pick-six – and Darius Slay came up with a huge interception late. 

The Eagles beat the Dolphins, 31-17, to move to 6-1. Those two were big reasons why, which is also why they're receiving the Week 7 edition of PhillyVoice's offensive and defensive game ball.

Offense: Jalen Hurts

The pass got batted and fell right into the hands of Miami linebacker Jerome Baker.

Here we go again, it felt like.

For the second straight week, the Eagles led at halftime. And for the second straight week, they were on track to blow it again.

But on the ensuing possession, Hurts got right back out there and took the offense downfield, extending plays and making a series of smart passes that all capped off with a 14-yard touchdown reception from A.J. Brown on a throw that Hurts threaded right through two defenders.

Eight plays, 75 yards, and the Eagles back up 24-17, with Hurts doing everything to ensure that the offense wouldn't stall out this time.

Last week's disaster against the Jets was far from Hurts and the offense's best, and he'll be the first one to tell you that. But Sunday night against Miami, he bounced back, completing 23 of 31 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns, while gaining 21 yards and a rushing TD on the ground.

That third-quarter pick-six hurt, for sure, but the Eagles didn't let it bury them, and that all starts with the man under center and not without the production put up in the first half either.

Hurts connected with Dallas Goedert on the screen for the early touchdown that put the Eagles up 10-3.

Then, while scrambling on a 4th and 3 from within Miami's 35 late in the first half, he found A.J. Brown open downfield for a play that fell to the 1-yard line after review – you know what happened next there.

He also hit DeVonta Smith on a few passes that yielded decent chunks of yardage, with the longest going for 25 yards.

For the night on the whole, here's how the air attack broke down between the Eagles' big three of pass-catching threats:

• Goedert: 5 targets and 5 receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.

• Brown: 15 targets and 10 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.

• Smith: 5 targets and 4 receptions for 49 yards.

Maybe it's a sign that the Eagles are slowly but surely better figuring out how to spread the wealth here – though still with a heavy slant toward Brown right now – all while maintaining what have become those signature clock-draining drives that leave the opposition with little time to answer back when everything is firing on all cylinders.

Oh yeah, and the "Tush Push"/"Brotherly Shove" remains undefeated.

Following Brown's big catch down to the 1, the Eagles rolled it out, and Hurts punched it right in, putting Philly up 17-3 and tying Hurts with Randall Cunningham for the most rushing TDs by an Eagles QB all-time – which is pretty fitting that it happened while the Kelly Greens were being worn. 

They also hit it twice on the same possession in the fourth while up 24-17 to keep the drive and the clock going, keeping Miami at bay until Hurts connected on that big pass downfield to Brown, which was shortly followed up by Kenny Gainwell's rushing touchdown to ice it.

Was it all perfect? No. Again, there was that interception, and the strip-sack recovered by the Dolphins way back in the first quarter that led to an early field goal. 

But at the end of the day, it never had to be. Hurts' performance proved more than enough to get the Eagles back in the win column. 

Final observations: Eagles 31, Dolphins 17

Defense: Darius Slay

The Eagles' secondary was always going to have their work cut out for them against Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

And in truth, both were going to get theirs no matter what – even Cedrick Wilson Jr. did too.

But the Eagles' defense managed to come up with stops when it mattered the most. And then in the fourth, with the Dolphins pressing and Tua Tagovailoa looking for Raheem Mostert at the pylon, Darius Slay jumped the route and picked it off for the big turnover, stopping Miami dead in its track and giving the ball back to Hurts and the offense to drain the clock from there.

Big Play Slay came through.

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