The Green Bay Packers saw their hopes of a miracle playoff run get trampled by Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles rushed for 363 yards, scored 40 points and escaped several comeback attempts to get to 10-1. The loss left the Packers, now 4-8, to stagger through what’s left of a lost season.
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Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly coming out of the Packers’ primetime loss in Philadelphia:
Jordan Love to Christian Watson. On his fifth play after replacing Aaron Rodgers, Love came up off a play-action fake, fired a bullet over the middle to Christian Watson and the speedy rookie took off for a stunning 63-yard touchdown that got the Packers right back into the game. Was this a look into the near future in Green Bay? Watson (four catches, 110 yards) looks like a budding star. He has six touchdowns in the last three games, and his speed is overwhelming. Love played confidently, looking poised in the pocket and comfortable delivering the ball on time and extending plays with his legs. He completed six of nine passes for 113 yards and a passer rating of 146.8. How many more Love-to-Watson touchdowns will Packers fans get to see over the years? Sunday night’s score might have been the first of many.
Aaron Rodgers interceptions. The Eagles scored 40 points and didn’t punt the entire game, so the Packers needed to play something close to a perfect game on offense to have a chance. It didn’t happen. In the first half alone, Rodgers tossed two picks, one on an extended third-down play and another on a busted play near the red zone. The first pick set up a quick Eagles touchdown, while the second likely took points off the board. The Eagles scored just seven points off the two turnovers but ended up winning by seven. The Packers did get a turnover (Rudy Ford strip, Quay Walker fumble recovery) that resulted in a quick touchdown, so points off turnovers were even. But the Packers couldn’t afford to give the ball away and still beat the high-flying Eagles on the road.
The run defense. The easiest pick of the year. The Eagles’ 363 rushing yards represent the third-most allowed by the Packers in the franchise’s long history and the most since 1977. Jalen Hurts had over 100 rushing yards by the end of the first quarter and ended with a career-high 157, while Miles Sanders quietly rushed for a career-high 143 yards and two scores. Missed tackles played a big factor, and coach Matt LaFleur said he counted at least 15. At least two or three happened on Hurts’ first big scramble of the contest that converted third-and-long and set the stage for a historic night of rushing the football. The Packers tried to use quarterback spies on Hurts but it wasn’t effective, and the Eagles offensive line dominated at the line of scrimmage all night. To put the nail in the coffin, the Eagles ran three straight times to gain a first down and finish the game as 7-point victors. This was an embarrassing performance on a national stage for Joe Barry’s highly disappointing defense.