By Peter Gleason
No matter what he says on 94WIP or Zoom or in his fever dreams:
Eagles coach Doug Pederson gave in to public pressure when he benched Carson Wentz and inserted rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts on Sunday.
And Hurts fared fairly well in relief of the former No. 2 overall pick.
Hurts had a 77.9 passing grade for the game, the eighth-best mark of the week and more than 25 grading points better than Wentz (played through the first drive of the second half).
He dropped in a beautiful big-time throw to fellow rookie Jalen Reagor on his first passing attempt of the game on a go ball and then tossed another on his touchdown pass while on the run. Hurts did have an interception, but he was hit as he was thrown.
He perhaps held onto the ball a bit too long on some occasions (3.73-second average time-to-throw), but Hurts was generally able to find success downfield — something Wentz hasn’t done this season. Hurts earned an 88.3 passing grade on throws over 10 yards downfield, which is a higher mark than Wentz has earned in all but one game this season.
Of the 33 rookie quarterback performances this season, Hurts’ Week 13 effort was the fourth-highest graded. Meanwhile, Wentz is the fifth-lowest graded passer this season. Sure, it’s a small sample, but Hurts proved he is worthy of starting for the Eagles from here on out in 2020.