Jalen Hurts folded his arms in a matter-of-fact way, implying this was rather easy after Miles Sanders’ three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
It looked easy because it was.
As was the Eagles’ absolute domination of the New York Giants, 48-22, in clinching a playoff berth for the second-straight year under head coach Nick Sirianni on a soggy, grey Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Eagles, who moved to 12-1 for the second time in franchise history (2004 being the other season), scored on their first three possessions and never looked back.
MVP candidate Hurts completed 21 of 31 for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 77 yards and another score.
Sanders gained 144 yards rushing, giving him 1,068 yards this season, making him the first Eagles’ running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since LeSean McCoy ran for 1,319 in 2014. A.J. Brown’s 70 yards receiving gave him 1,020 yards in 2022, making him the first Eagles’ receiver to have over 1,000 yards receiving since Jeremy Maclin had 1,318 yards receiving in 2014.
Aside from a blocked punt late in the first half with the Eagles up 21-0, it was a near-flawless game. Anything the Eagles wanted to do offensively they did in remaining the only undefeated team in the NFL on the road this season. In scoring 35-plus points over their last three games, the Eagles’ 123 combined-point total is their most over a three-game span since 1950.
“I think when you’re able to come out and execute at a high level early, have a long drive the first drive, and have some conversions on third down, that’s big,” Hurts said. “The importance of execution when you’re getting these different looks, the coach (Giants’ defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale) has to the pedigree, he’s known for doing exotic things and you have to be able to execute against those exotic looks.”
Hurts, as usual, kept it cool afterward about going overboard.
While everyone was looking to throw more accolades upon an Eagles’ season that’s yet to be determined, his choice words summed up where the Eagles are.
“I don’t want to get into anything more than what it is, I think that the most simple thing we’ve been trying to do is trying to grow,” he said. “Trying to go out here and execute. It’s good that we prepare in a way where we’ve been able to go out here and execute at a high level. We just want to continue to do that. That’s the name of the game. Never get too high, never get too low, just stay true to what’s important and keep the main thing the main thing.
“The main thing for me is the daily deposits, chasing the growth, putting the work in, being consistent, that’s our main thing, and that’s our main thing as a team as well.”
The offensive line has been the backbone of this team, and that surfaced again on Sunday against the overmatched Giants (7-5-1).
On Sanders’ second touchdown, tight end Grant Calcaterra pulled right and managed to reach Giants’ safety Jason Pinnock, while tight end Jack Stoll blasted out Giants’ linebacker Jaylon Smith, creating a crease for Sanders.
On Hurts’ third-quarter 10-yard touchdown run that locked up the game, center Jason Kelce pulled right and caught Giants’ linebacker Tae Crowder up field, left guard Landon Dickerson shoved back Giants’ nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and left tackle Jordan Mailata pulled right expected to sweep away any of the debris that was left. By the time Mailata reached his point, Hurts was already rolled through the hole on his way to the end zone.
It was the type of execution Hurts alluded to and it’s the kind of hard-ground, winter football that the Eagles will need moving forward if they want to continue in the direction that they seem to be heading.
“You want to let all of the work show, and I think that’s what we’re doing as a football team,” Hurts said. “It all comes down to the process. Nothing else, no outcome of anything else, it comes down to the process, what are you doing throughout the week to prepare yourself for the game.
“We need to stay true to that. Everything else will handle itself. I carry my scars with me everywhere I go. I don’t forget. I truly invest my focus on getting better as a player, getting better as a quarterback, and doing the things I need to do for my team.”
Philadelphia Eagles (12-1) 7 17 10 14-48
New York Giants (7-5-1) 0 7 7 8-22
Phila. – Miles Sanders 3 run (Jake Elliott kick), 4:14
Phila. – DeVonta Smith 41 pass from Jalen Hurts (Elliott kick), 12:05
Phila. – A.J. Brown 33 pass from Hurts (Elliott kick), 8:16
NY – Isaiah Hodgins 2 pass from Daniel Jones (Graham Gano Kick), 2:57
Phila. – Elliott 29 FG, :54
Phila. – Elliott 39 FG, 11:21
NY – Jones 1 Run (Graham Gano Kick), 5:40
Phila. – Hurts 10 run (Elliott Kick), 1:41
Phila. – Sanders 40 run (Elliott kick), 6:01
Phila. – Boston Scott 3 Yd Run (Jake Elliott Kick), 3:09
NY – Richie James 19 pass from Tyrod Taylor (Isaiah Hodgins pass from Taylor), :39