In Week 4 of the 2021 regular season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for a career-high 387 passing yards and a 105.1 passer rating with 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 32 of 48 passes. It was the sort of stat line that garners Pro Bowl consideration if extrapolated over the entire season. It was also a line that came against the defense of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After the game, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni had plenty of great things to say about his second-year quarterback. It was the sort of standout performance that a team wants to see from a young draft pick, and Sirianni made sure to compliment Hurts publicly for his efforts.
That was only three games ago for Hurts and the Eagles. Even in a losing effort, they still put up 30 points and Hurts had a helluva game. Just a few weeks later, however, the narrative has changed completely.
Jalen Hurts’ steep fall from Week 4 stresses just how bad the Chiefs defense is.
These days, it’s not hard to find someone calling for Hurts to be benched as the Eagles quarterback so that Gardner Minshew can take over. Yes, that’s former Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller Gardner Minshew.
In the last three games, Hurts has completed only 53 percent of his passes with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for a 72.1 quarterback rating. The Eagles are 1-2 in that same stretch with a single victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, and now they’re on a two-game losing skid after falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders. In three weeks, Hurts went from hearing confident praise from his coach to reporters to battling rumors that the Eagles could bench him soon.
Over at the Philly Inquirer, Marcus Hayes is calling for Sirianni to bench Hurts in order to jumpstart the Eagles offense. Over at NBC Sports, Reuben Frank states the opposite and makes his case that benching Hurts would be bad for the Eagles at this juncture. Either way, somehow the conversation has completely changed around Hurts. He’s a quarterback on a hot seat. Against the Chiefs, he was just hot.
This subplot within the NFL season is a great example of just how bad the Chiefs defense has been. A quarterback who has largely struggled in almost every game in 2021 enjoyed a field day against the Chiefs.
This isn’t any surprise to anyone who has watched the Chiefs this year. The team is 27th in total points allowed and 30th in net yards per passing attempt in the National Football League, which means that every opposing quarterback has looked great against the Chiefs this year. It’s one thing to see the numbers and know the Chiefs are bad, but it gives it a new spin when a guy who played like a bright young prospect just a few weeks ago is on the verge of losing his job—that his performance was a mere product of playing against the Chiefs defense.
The Chiefs have to figure something out soon if they’re going to keep the season from going off the rails, and the work begins on the defensive side where mistakes have to be fixed, turnovers must be generated, and a pass rush must be found. Otherwise, every quarterback will continue to look like a world-beater.