We know that Jalen Hurts is always hard on himself. We know that he always strives for perfection. We know he expects more of himself than anyone else.
Still, it was strange to hear Hurts say on Sunday that he feels he has let the team down.
After a win.
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But that’s Jalen Hurts. That is the bar he has 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 opponent a chance to win the game, draw whatever it is,” said Hurts.
“I don’t look at anyone but myself. I look in the mirror and I look at myself and I ask myself, ‘What more could I have done to not put the team in this position by the end of the game? How did I get us into the end zone?’”
Hurts could have celebrated a 20-17 win over the Cards in Glendale, Arizona, but instead chose to question his own performance.
And Hurts wasn’t bad at all on Sunday. He completed 72 percent of his passes for 239 yards, two TD runs, no turnovers in recording his eighth straight win in the regular season. 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 interception.
But the way the game ended was frustrating to watch, and it was frustrating for Hurts.
The Eagles made 17 plays in 7:58 and took the lead on Cameron Dicker’s field goal with 1:45 left.
But Hurts wanted six.
“What more could I have done to put us in a better position?” he asked rhetorically after the game, “I feel in a lot of ways, I feel like I’m letting them down.
“Just with chances we didn’t take and the ball hitting my hands every time. Those are the mixed feelings I have.”
Hurts threw incomplete to Quez Watkins in the end zone during the Eagles’ final offensive game – a third goal out of 5 with 1:52 left.
The game never had a chance, and Hurts is lucky that the ball was not picked up.
Cameron Dicker followed with the 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 even walked off the field towards the end of the game, we kicked a field goal,” he said. “Dicker played great and put this team in a great position, but I can’t do anything.
“I have no control over what their kicker does. He missed it. Our kicker made ours. I have no control over that, but I do have control over 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 to go, but the short TD pass from Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow at 0:01 gave Clemson the win.
“We go out and score, a great game,” recalls Hurts. “Abandoned as less than two minutes on the clock. So I watch them go down and he (Watson) goes and wins the game.
“Those are all things that flash through my head at that moment. In the end, it comes down to the way you execute it and the confidence you have on both sides of the ball.
“I don’t like to put the team in a position where their kicker has a chance to draw or win the game, or where our defense is on the pitch. If I can control it, I want to take advantage of it. That’s just my competitive nature with it.”