The New Orleans Saints had a 55-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher. They allowed two, one being quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Honestly, props to Jalen Hurts. He welcomed the surging Saints to Lincoln Financial Field and did what many bet against him to do, down the top seed in the NFC. The Saints entered with only two losses and Hurts gave them their third.
It wasn’t just that Hurts did it, but it was how.
Now, it should be noted that Taysom Hill won his first three career starts. It’s tough to continue to win as an inexperienced quarterback, but it seems easy to get the first, given the other team has little tape.
The Saints knew that Hurts had been used in some uncommon formations, and they knew he’d be starting. Outside of that, they had college tape and some other forms to prepare, but Hurts start clearly threw them off.
He seemed far more agile than they were prepared for.
Even if you take back Miles Sanders‘ 80-yard run, the 3-8-1 Eagles still would’ve had over 150 yards on the ground. The threat of Hurts helped open the game for Sanders. Now, had the Saints known what they know now, they likely could’ve prepared their sets better.
The Saints, especially their defensive line, didn’t seem prepared for what Hurts was capable of. After all, Oklahoma’s Hurts 4.54 40-yard dash was the third-quickest among quarterbacks at the combine.
Despite a strong second-half start, the Saints lost 24-21. They lost the No. 1 seed in the conference, and it can solely be blamed on Hurts’ ability to extend plays and hurt them outside of the pocket.
After all, New Orleans had 20 first downs, passing for 15 of them.
The Eagles on the other hand abused the NFL’s best rush defense, converting 11 of their 21 first downs on the ground. The Saints also had 25 more penalty yards which helped give the Eagles three more first downs.
The Saints hadn’t played too many elusive quarterbacks so far this season. The Saints had faced Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady and Derek Carr in six of their 12 games coming into their matchup with Hurts.