NFL

Jalen Hurts does it with his legs as Eagles take down Saints

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard runs with the football against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Forget Jalen Hurts’ arm. The most valuable asset of the Philadelphia Eagles’ second-year quarterback might very well be his legs.

The Eagles are winners of two straight games for the first time this season, picking up their first victory at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon in a 40-29 result over the New Orleans Saints.

Hurts recorded all three of the Eagles’ offensive touchdowns with all of them coming on the ground. He supplemented 147 passing yards with an additional 69 rushing yards as Hurts, Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott combined for 242 rushing yards on the day.

The Eagles sparked some life into Lincoln Financial Field when TJ Edwards intercepted a short attempt by backup Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian to give the hosts possession at New Orleans’ 39-yard-line.

It took seven plays, but the Eagles managed to punch it in when Hurts drove a keeper up the middle from 1 yard out to take a lead eight minutes into the game.

They got right back to it after a Saints punt with Sanders cutting left for 25 yards on the first play of the drive to immediately get into New Orleans territory.

Hurts got it done again, breaking off a 20-yard rush to get to the Saints’ 5-yard-line before scrambling toward the right from 3 yards out for his second touchdown of the day to put the Eagles up 14-0 with two minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Eagles’ playmaker became just the third quarterback in the last 20 years to score two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter of a game, joining Russell Wilson in 2012 and Daunte Culpepper in 2002.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts talks with cornerback Darius Slay after his interception return for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sanders provided the Saints with a lifeline a minute into the second quarter when he fumbled on the Eagles’ 6-yard-line, recovered by the defense.

While an offensive holding penalty made it a little tougher, the Saints found paydirt a minute later when Siemian hit Adam Trautman for an 18-yard touchdown to halve Philadelphia’s lead.

The Eagles’ offense continued moving the ball well, posting 99 combined yards on their next two drives that yielded field goals to build a 13-point lead — which looked as though it would be their advantage heading into the break. But Siemian provided an early Christmas gift to the birds.

With 32 seconds left, his pass down the right sideline was picked off by Darius Slay at midfield and returned 51 yards for the touchdown and a 27-7 halftime lead. It was Slay’s third touchdown since Week 8 as the veteran cornerback remained red-hot.

Jake Elliott tacked on a pair of field goals in the third quarter, but the Eagles offense went silent after the break, allowing the Saints an avenue to at least get back in the game.

Just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, Siemian hit Marquez Callaway for a 26-yard touchdown before the veteran backup scrambled 17 yards for a score two minutes later to make it a 33-19 game.  After another Eagles punt, New Orleans cut their deficit to 11 with a field go with 7:17 to go.

But the Eagles had just enough to place the Saints firmly out of sight as Hurts did it by himself, again, streaking 24 yards up the middle with just under four minutes to go to clinch the victory and make New Orleans’ garbage-time touchdown nothing more than a consolation prize.

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