Jalen Hurts plays through illness, but late mistakes doom Eagles in 20-17 loss to Seahawks

“We still have our goals ahead of us. We know we clinched playoffs this week. We’re not really looking at that. We know what we want to do,” Sirianni said.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks on from the bench

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks on from the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

For most of the night, Jalen Hurts played better than how he looked or likely felt while dealing with an illness.

The fourth quarter will leave Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles feeling sick about their missed opportunity to retake control in the NFC East and keep alive home-field advantage for the playoffs.

Hurts watched as Drew Lock and the Seattle Seahawks rallied in the final minutes for a 20-17 win over the Eagles on Monday night that handed Philadelphia (10-4) a third straight loss.

It was a fourth quarter to forget for Hurts. He threw an interception in the end zone with 8:08 left trying to hit Quez Watkins on a deep shot that could have extended Philadelphia’s 17-13 lead. He was unable to convert a third-and-7 at midfield with a little over 2 minutes remaining that likely would have meant Seattle never got the ball back.

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And in his final desperation effort, Hurts was intercepted for a second time by Julian Love in the quarter trying to hit A.J. Brown down the sideline in the final seconds.

“Was trying to be aggressive in that moment. We had multiple opportunities in the game to open it up and we didn’t do that. I didn’t do that. I didn’t do my job good enough,” Hurts said.

Most of the blame the past couple of weeks has been placed on Philadelphia’s defense after blowout losses to San Francisco and Dallas. But Hurts and the Eagles’ offense is far from blameless, especially after failing to score an offensive touchdown last week in Dallas.

A trip to Seattle and playing the leaky Seahawks defense was supposed to be the elixir. And it looked that way early on after the Eagles jumped to a 10-0 lead with a pair of long scoring drives in the first half.

But that lead was gone early in the third quarter and failed to be extended after Philadelphia retook a 17-10 lead on Hurts’ second touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

“Really wanted to be able to get up two scores on them and we weren’t able to,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “I thought the defense was hanging in there and doing some really nice things. We just needed to pull away in that game and we didn’t.”

Hurts finished 17 of 31 passing for 143 yards and added another 82 yards rushing on 13 carries. He didn’t want his illness to be an excuse, but Hurts missed practice on Saturday and flew separately to Seattle a day later to stay away from his teammates because of how he was feeling.

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If Hurts was affected by his illness, it may have been the fourth quarter when it showed up. He was 2 of 6 passing for 25 yards and two interceptions on Philadelphia’s final three possessions.

“He’s a warrior. He’s a competitor. Obviously the game didn’t go our way, but he made some outstanding plays for us for sure,” center Jason Kelce said.

Philadelphia is riding a tenuous line. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot, but the defending NFC champs have looked anything but Super Bowl ready the past few weeks. Their point differential of plus-18 is tied for the third-worst of any team with at least 10 wins through the first 14 games of a season.

They have time to get it corrected and the schedule over the final three weeks is favorable with two games against the lowly New York Giants sandwiched around a visit from even worse Arizona. The Eagles should have every chance to finish with 13 wins, but it may not be enough to even win their own division.

“We still have our goals ahead of us. We know we clinched playoffs this week. We’re not really looking at that. We know what we want to do,” Sirianni said. “We want to win this division, but that’s the last time you’ll hear me say that. We got to go win a game this upcoming week.”

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