We know Jalen Hurts is always hard on himself. We know he’s always striving for perfection. We know he expects more from himself than anyone else possibly can.
Still, it was weird to hear Hurts say Sunday that he feels like he let the team down.
After a win.
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But that’s Jalen Hurts. That’s the bar he’s set for himself.
“As a competitor when you have the ball in your hands at the end of the game, you want to take advantage of it and not give the opposition the opportunity to win the game, tie the game, whatever it is,” Hurts said.
“I don’t look at anybody else but myself. I look in the mirror and I look at myself and I ask myself, ‘What could I have done more to not put the team in this position toward the end of the game? How could I have gotten us in the end zone?’”
Hurts could have been celebrating a 20-17 win over the Cards in Glendale, Ariz., but instead he chose to question his own performance.
And Hurts wasn’t bad at all Sunday. He completed 72 percent of his passes for 239 yards, two TD runs, no turnovers in recording his eighth consecutive regular-season win. He became only the sixth QB in Eagles history to throw 35 passes in a game and complete at least 72 percent of his passes without an interception.
But the way the game ended was frustrating to watch, and it was frustrating for Hurts.
The Eagles drove 17 plays over 7:58 and took the lead on Cameron Dicker’s field goal with 1:45 left.
But Hurts wanted six.
“What could I have done more to put us in a better position?” he asked rhetorically post-game. “I feel like in many ways, I feel like I let them down.
“Just with opportunities we didn’t take advantage of and the ball touching my hands every play. Those are the mixed emotions I have.”
Hurts threw incomplete to Quez Watkins in the end zone on the Eagles’ last offensive play of the game – a 3rd-and-goal from the 5 with 1:52 left.
The play never had a chance, and Hurts is fortunate the ball didn’t get picked off.
Cameron Dicker followed with the game-winning field goal, but Hurts hated leaving the game in the hands of the Eagles’ defense and the Cards’ kicker.
“The worst feeling is when we walked off the field, when I walked off the field even toward the end of the game, we kicked a field goal,” he said. “Dicker made a great play and put this team in a great position, but there’s nothing that I can do.
“I can’t control what their kicker does. He missed it. Our kicker made ours. I can’t control that, but I can control what we do in the second quarter, in the first quarter, when I have the ball in my hands. I can do that.”
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Hurts said he had flashbacks to the 2016 BCS Championship Game, Alabama’s 35-31 loss to Clemson at Raymond James Stadium.
Hurts’ 30-yard TD run gave the Crimson Tide a lead with 2:07 left, but Deshaun Watson’s short TD pass to Hunter Renfrow at 0:01 gave Clemson the win.
“We go out there and score, a great play,” Hurts recalled. “Left like under two minutes on the clock. So I watch them go down and he (Watson) goes and wins the game.
“Those are all things that are flashing through my head in that moment. Ultimately, it comes down to the way you execute and it comes down to the trust you have on both sides of the ball.
“I don’t like putting the team in the position where their kicker has the opportunity to tie or win the game, or our defense is on the field. If I can control it, I want to take advantage of that. That’s just my competitive nature with it.”