Another week of NFL football is in the books. Let’s get to it.
To the Surprise of Everyone, Jalen Hurts the Saints
As if making your first start as an NFL quarterback isn’t challenging enough, Eagles rookie Jalen Hurts faced the tall task of playing against the best defense in the league on Sunday. And prior to his game against the Saints, just about every pundit on planet Earth believed his inexperience would lead to him getting obliterated.
Ideally, you want a rookie quarterback to play their first start under more favorable circumstances—as in an easier opponent—but with Carson Wentz benched after playing like he’s had bubble guts all season, the Eagles had no choice and decided to pull the trigger on Hurts.
So how did he play against one of the best teams in the league? By busting their asses. He threw for 167 yards and a touchdown and turned the game into a track meet by running for an additional 106 yards in a surprising 24-21 upset over the Saints. More importantly, he added a new dimension to the team’s offense and elevated the play of his teammates—something Wentz has failed miserably at doing since the dawn of time—while keeping the Eagles’ (4-8-1) playoff hopes alive.
Now the Eagles officially have the most expensive backup quarterback in the league, because Hurts is here to stay.
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Have You Ever Seen a 30-Yard Sack?
If you watched the slugfest between the Dolphins and Chiefs on Sunday, you bore witness to history. Because never in the history of ever has something like this ever happened:
4th and 42? Where they do that at?
That wasn’t Patrick Mahomes’ only struggle play though, as he surprisingly threw three picks on Sunday, including this gift to Xavien Howard in the red zone:
But here’s where Mahomes differs from the norm and provides a gentle reminder that in being the best player in the league, he is not from this planet. While most quarterbacks who throw three picks in a single game are absolutely going home with an L, Mahomes turned shit to sugar and still put up 33 points to beat the Dolphins at home. And nearly a year removed from his first Super Bowl win in the same stadium, the two-time Pro Bowler explained his love/hate relationship with Miami after the game.
“Yeah, I mean obviously the love part, I mean we won the Super Bowl here and we just clinched the AFC West,” Mahomes told reporters. “So it seems like every time we leave this stadium we have a hat of some type of thing we accomplished. But then the hate part, I feel like I have half of my interceptions, it seems like, at this football stadium.”
This dude is a human cheat code, for real.
Will the Real Drew Lock Please Stand Up?
Being a Denver Broncos fan is painful.
Yes, we won the Super Bowl in 2016, but in the time since it’s been losing season after losing season and a revolving door of quarterbacks that include Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum and the often-times infuriating play of our current signal-caller, Drew Lock.
In only his second NFL season he’s tested the boundaries of my patience, as before Sunday, he threw at least one interception in seven consecutive games and has spent the entire year in a silent war with Sam Darnold for the dubious distinction of worst quarterback in the league—statistically at least.
But there are plenty of outside factors that have also contributed to Lock’s struggles on the field: His offensive line is garbage, his new offensive coordinator (the last one got fired in the offseason) is unquestionably worse, his top target (Courtland Sutton) has missed the entire year, the coronavirus killed any chance of a preseason or real training camp, he has yet to play 16 games as a pro, etc. These aren’t excuses, just facts; although his boneheaded decision making hasn’t helped matters either. So it’s not exactly a surprise that the Broncos entered Sunday’s game against the Panthers with a 4-8 record.
Much like every other game this season, I indulged in my bacon and eggs and mentally prepared myself for a bloodbath once the game began. But to my shock and awe, Lock actually looked like a competent quarterback. Instead of staring down receivers and hurling 80-yard bombs like a dumb ass, dude finally learned to appreciate checkdowns, finished with the second-highest completion rate of his career, and threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns (I can’t believe I typed that) in a much-needed 32-27 win.
And did you see that heat he was throwing KJ Hamler?
I don’t know if this was a glitch in the Matrix or a sign of things to come, but if Drew Lock is finally turning the corner this is the greatest Christmas gift ever.
Who Balled Out
DeAndre Hopkins and Derrick Henry did the damn thing (King Henry leapfrogged Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson and Jim Brown for the most 200-yard, two-touchdown games ever), but did you see A.J. Brown’s insane one-hand catch against the Jaguars?!
See y’all next week.