Hurts displayed improvement in his second season, helping propel the upstart Eagles into the postseason. But Philly was overmatched from the start against the Bucs.
Entering the game sporting the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense, Philly was stymied, generating just 44 rush yards through three quarters against the Bucs' stingy run D. By then, the game was essentially over.
Philly needed Hurts to shine to beat Tom Brady and the Bucs. Instead, the QB struggled, missing a bevy of throws. Hurts went 23-of-43 passing (53.3%) for 258 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
After the loss, Hurts was in a walking boot. The QB said the ankle injury is something he's been dealing with down the stretch but didn't blame it for his struggles Sunday.
"Regardless of how I feel, we didn't play good enough today. I didn't play good enough today," Hurts said, adding he hopes he won't need offseason surgery.
The QB looked scattered at times, fleeing a good pocket too often and missing open receivers. Hurts continued to miss targets deep, completing just 2 of 11 passes for 63 yards and an INT on deep passes. He went 5 of 21 for 100 yards and 2 INTs on passes of 10-plus air yards, per Next Gen Stats.
Hurts was pressured 19 times in the game, sacked twice, and rushed eight times for 39 yards, leading the Eagles on the ground. Most of Hurts' passing yardage came in garbage time after Philly trailed 31-0 into the fourth quarter. His two INTs killed the Eagles' chances of making it a close game against the Super Bowl champs.
"We didn't do our jobs good enough," Hurts said. "I didn't do my job good enough, communicating, doing the little things. I could have been better, definitely. I think there are a ton of areas where we can kind of shoulder all this as a team, but I take accountability for my actions."
Coach Nick Sirianni admitted Hurts didn't play well but added he still has confidence in the young QB moving forward.
"We're all gonna say for today's game, he didn't play his best game, as we all know," Sirianni said. "But you don't take the body of work that he had for 17 weeks -- and I know he didn't play in two games, so 15 weeks -- and say you put everything on this game. And I know, we're all judged on the last game that we played, I understand that, I fully get that. But I felt like Jalen grew throughout the year. He got better as a passer. He got better as a, you know, reading the defenses, getting the ball to the right place. He developed so much in his ability to extend plays, of not only making plays with his feet, but also making plays downfield on the scramble. I know the one today, he scrambled and threw the interception. He had some other good scrambles that were good plays, as well."
The disappointing playoff performance will undoubtedly lead to offseason chatter surrounding Hurts and whether he can be the franchise QB in Philly. Sirianni, however, has no such doubts.
"I feel good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position," the coach said. "I thought he had a great year and he came a long way. And that's what I expect from Jalen, just because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness he has, the love for football that he has. I can't say enough good things about Jalen the player (and the person). So, I feel good about him. I know again, this was the game that none of us are going to be satisfied with, me, him, multiple guys on that football team, but I'm really pleased with how he came along this year and the leader he is on this football team."
The Eagles feasted on NFL also-rans this year but struggled against playoff teams. Philly's loss Sunday sent the Eagles to 0-7 versus postseason teams.
"This game does not define us, it does not define who we are, it does not define us at all," Hurts said. "I know as a football team we'll be back. This is a feeling that will kind of simmer in our hearts, simmer for us all. With the youth on this football team, we're definitely coming back hungry."