PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts feigned memory loss. What raced through his mind when a helmet crashed into his already bruised left knee and sent him hobbling toward the sideline — and sent edgy Eagles fans into several anxious moments?
“I don’t remember,” a stone-faced Hurts said.
Catch a replay for a reminder. The toughness on display left an indelible mark — and admiration inside the Eagles’ locker room — on all in Philly who watched Hurts absorb more punishing hits, then tear through a dazed Dallas defense.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Hurts said. “It was a gritty win. It was a tough win.”
Hurts braved a direct hit on his injured left knee to throw for 207 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for another tush push score to lead the Philadelphia Eagles over the Dallas Cowboys 28-23 on Sunday night.
The Eagles are the only 8-1 team in the NFL.
The Eagles did all they could on Dallas’ final drive to cough up the game. Dak Prescott needed to move the Cowboys 86 yards in 46 seconds for the potential winning score — and promptly got 56 yards of Eagles’ penalties to reach the 6-yard-line.
On the cusp of a stunning comeback, Prescott instead was sacked by Josh Sweat for an 11-yard loss.
After a penalty on the Cowboys (5-3) moved them to the 27, Prescott hit CeeDee Lamb for 22 yards, but the wideout was tackled by Darius Slay at the 5 to end the game.
Prescott threw for 374 yards and three scores. Lamb had 11 catches for 191 yards.
“We feel great about our team,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “We need to learn from these mistakes. That’s what these games come down to. You get into these types of games and even more so if you get into playoff football.”
The NFC champion Eagles are playing like a team capable of another deep postseason run — the kind that could easily become derailed with a significant injury to Hurts.
Hurts has downplayed the severity of the condition of his knee and scoffed at all questions — including when exactly he was hurt. He’s yet to even show up on the injury report.
“I’d do anything for my city, my teammates,” Hurts said. “It takes what it takes.”
Hurts suffered a scare in the final minutes of the first half. He was hit by defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence and wrapped for a sack by linebacker Micah Parsons. Hurts stumbled as he stood up and appeared in pain as he limped off the field. Hurts took a moment on the sideline to collect himself when the Eagles called timeout. The 2022 NFL MVP runner-up, Hurts remained in the game for a handoff.
His teammates continue to respect Hurts’ resilience.
“If he can get up and walk off, he’s OK,” wide receiver A.J. Brown said. “He said a couple of words then right after, he’s all laughing and joking.”
The score, the banged-up knee, all of it seemed to only push Hurts on the opening drive of the third to prove he could be as dangerous on one gimpy knee as he was on two good legs. On the first drive of the third quarter, Hurts scrambled for four yards and a first down. He threw an 11-yard reception and then tossed a pinpoint pass to DeVonta Smith in the corner of the end zone for a 29-yard score and 21-17 lead.
Hurts hit Brown for a 4-yard TD and a 28-17 lead in the closing minutes of the quarter. Brown had had set an NFL record with six straight games with at least 125 yards receiving. He had 66 yards to end the streak.
Philadelphia’s defense took it from there. Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham prevented a score and flipped Prescott to the 1-yard line. On fourth down, Prescott’s pass to tight end Luke Schoonmaker was initially called a touchdown. But a replay review showed Schoonmaker’s left knee was down on about the inch line and the TD was overturned.
The Linc erupted in cheers — a familiar roar to Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, who watched from a suite.
Prescott hit Jalen Tolbert for a 7-yard score to make it 28-23 and the QB scrambled for a 2-point conversion. Or so he thought. Again replay reversed a pivotal call for the Cowboys, and Prescott’s scramble didn’t count. The Eagles held their five-point lead.
“An inch here, an inch there, and we’ll find a way to gain that,” Prescott said.
The Eagles would need to collapse for the Cowboys or any other team in the NFC East to catch them for first place.
Dallas gave it a good run. Team owner Jerry Jones stayed quiet this week to avoid any bulletin board quotes, saying he didn’t want to “poke the bear.”
Precott responded, “Pour honey on me. If you see me and a bear in a fight, pour honey on me.”
Bears, maybe. Birds, not so much.
Kenneth Gainwell somersaulted into the end zone for a 12-yard score and a 7-0 Eagles’ lead in the first quarter.
Prescott then threw consecutive TD passes, a 4-yard tying score to Jake Ferguson and a 5-yard strike to KaVontae Turpin in the second for a 14-7 lead.
Hurts tied the game with the now-familiar — and wildly successful — tush push. It was his seventh rushing touchdown of the season, six on the tush push. He also set an Eagles QB rushing record with 33 career touchdowns.
Even on one good knee, Hurts is determined to keep adding to that record.
“As long as he can do it, and it’s safe to go back out there, there ain’t nothing that’s going to keep him off the field,” center Jason Kelce said.
Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean left with a foot injury. … Tight end Dallas Goedert suffered an injured forearm.
Dallas heads home for another NFC East showdown against the Giants on Sunday.
The Eagles take a week off before they play Monday night Nov. 20 in Kansas City in a Super Bowl rematch.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL