LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Walking gingerly back to the huddle after an early run, it was clear Jalen Hurts was hampered by his injured left knee. He kept going anyway, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to another victory.
Hurts threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns, two of them to A.J. Brown, and the defending NFC champions beat the Washington Commanders 38-31 Sunday. Behind their banged-up franchise quarterback, the Eagles improved to 7-1 and showed more evidence they are a Super Bowl contender by rallying from a double-digit deficit.
“We’re just enjoying the journey,” said Hurts, who did not want to talk about how his knee was feeling. “Obviously, there’s one stop we’d like to make in the end, but it’s just a journey. You have to really embrace the process of it."
Hurts, when asked about the knee, said only that he's “here.” Brown and coach Nick Sirianni weren't eager to put words in his mouth about the injury, but they were happy to reflect on Hurts gutting through it for one of his best games of the season.
“I know he’s tough, and I’m not going to always know because he’s not going to tell me how he feels because he always wants it on him,” Sirianni said. “That’s what you want from your quarterback, your leader and he played outstanding.”
Often reluctant to run, Hurts completed 29 of 38 passes, including TD throws to DeVonta Smith and Julio Jones. Before kneeling twice to end the game, his 7 yards rushing on two attempts were Hurts' fewest since Dec. 26, 2021.
One of those rushes was a “Tush Push” attempt when Hurts fumbled at the Washington 1-yard line, one of two Philadelphia turnovers inside the 5. Kenneth Gainwell lost a fumble at the 4 in the first half.
“Wasn’t able to get the snap,” Hurts said of his fumble. “I didn’t secure the ball well enough, and that’s what happens.”
With not much going on the ground, Hurts had plenty of options passing, starting with Brown, who became the first player in NFL history with 125-plus yards receiving in six consecutive games. Brown made a terrific one-handed grab on his first touchdown and caught the ball through double coverage on his second.
“I literally just did that in practice on Friday,” Brown said of his one-handed catch in the end zone. “It was the same corner and everything. My teammates were like, ‘I’m not surprised.'"
After allowing Sam Howell to complete 24 passes in the first half, Philadelphia's defense responded down the stretch. Reed Blankenship intercepted Howell in the fourth quarter, and Haason Reddick sacked him with just over two minutes left — the Eagles' first of the game — to set the stage for D'Andre Swift's TD run.
Washington (3-5) lost for a fifth time in six games despite Howell throwing for a career-high 397 yards and four TDs behind a revamped offensive line. Coach Ron Rivera did not challenge a key fourth-down catch by Smith in the third quarter that replays showed should have been incomplete, and top receiver Terry McLaurin had consecutive drops that led to a turnover on downs late.
Rivera said he and his staff never got a chance to view the replay of Smith's catch. McLaurin took responsibility for not securing the ball.
“Those are tough plays that I have to make,” McLaurin said. “When you’ve got a young quarterback, you’ve got to find a way to make those plays, so I definitely own that and take accountability.”
Joey Slye's 61-yard field goal for Washington late in the first half was the longest in franchise history and of his career. It came after a false start penalty on lineman Chris Paul pushed Washington back 5 yards.
Eagles: Rookie DT Jalen Carter left in the third quarter with a back injury. ... TE Grant Calcaterra was concussed in the first half. ... CB Bradley Roby missed a second consecutive game with a shoulder injury.
Commanders: WR Curtis Samuel injured a toe in the second half. ... Rookie OL Ricky Stromberg injured his right knee midway through the first quarter on Washington's first extra-point attempt and was quickly declared out.
Eagles: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.
Commanders: Visit the New England Patriots next Sunday.
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