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December 05, 2023

Jalen Hurts was indecisive vs. the 49ers, with gifs and stuff

Breaking down Jalen Hurts’ play from the Eagles’ Week 13 loss to the 49ers.

Eagles NFL
120523JalenHurts Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Hurts vacated the pocket and threw on the run too often on Sunday against the 49ers.

In the Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jalen Hurts was 26 of 45 for 298 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs. Those numbers aren't awful, but the passing game was very clearly off throughout the evening. 

In rewatching the All-22, it was evident as early as the first two drives of the game — drives that actually both led to points — that Hurts didn't seem to (a) trust what he was seeing, (b) trust some of his role players to make plays, or (c) a combination of the two.

I cut up five plays from those first two drives, in chronological order:

1) This was the first offensive play of the game. The safety at the top of the screen (No. 27, rookie Ji'Ayir Brown) bites hard on the play fake and charges toward the line of scrimmage. He then realizes, "Oh no (!), it's a pass," throws on the brakes, and illegally contacts Jack Stoll, who is running by him on a corner route. Despite the illegal contact, Stoll is wide ass open. That throw is there for a big play. Did Hurts just not throw this because it’s the backup tight end?

2) Kenny Gainwell picks up the first down on this quick screen, but the little hitch by Hurts here maybe gave the 49ers a better chance to made a play. Again, there was just something off about the Eagles' execution all game.

3) 3rd and Goal. The Eagles are running a fade to A.J. Brown. This ball simply comes out too late. Brown runs out of real estate, turns and looks for the ball, and has to wait for it. Charvarius Ward (7) turns his head after Brown looks for the ball, and has plenty of time to locate it and knock it down. On first viewing live in the stadium this looked like a really nice play by Ward (and it was), but Hurts made it easy on him. Eagles settle for 3.

4) Brown is running a deep route, Albert Okwuegbunam is running a 15-yard out route, and Stoll is chipping the DE before heading to the flat. Hurts has three options to the left side of the field all at different depths. This was a bad snap, which no doubt affected Hurts' rhythm on the play, but Okwuegbunam is wide open on the out route. Again, did the throw just not go Okwuegbunam's way because he's a backup tight end? Whatever the case, it was a missed opportunity.

5) And finally, once again in the red zone, Brown, Smith, and Okwuegbunam all have 1-on-1’s with no safety help. Take your pick and let your guys go make a play. Instead… ugh.

When Hurts was decisive, the Eagles' offense was able to move the ball against this 49ers defense. When he hesitated and tried to make plays off schedule, drives stalled and punts ensued. Hurts has come a long way over the last four years as a pocket passer, to the point where it's a true strength in his game, but he did not see the field well on Sunday. 

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