GLENDALE, Ariz. —
He led the game in passing yards and his team in rushing yards and scored more touchdowns than anyone else.
Jalen Hurts carried the Eagles — and the rest of the city of Philadelphia — to everything Sunday but the one thing that really mattered: a victory in Super Bowl LVII.
Afterward, he continued to shine.
“The beautiful part is we experience different agony in life,” Hurts said following the Eagles’ 38-35, last-second loss to Kansas City. “We decide how we want to move forward … My only direction is to rise.”
Hurts tied a Super Bowl record with three rushing touchdowns and finished 27 for 38 for 304 yards and another score. His effort on the ground included a two-point conversion that tied the score 35-35 with 5:15 left.
He capped just his second NFL season as a full-time starter with a performance that matched — and at times bettered — that of Patrick Mahomes, who was named the game’s most valuable player.
“Jalen played the best game I’ve seen him play in the two years we’ve been together,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “He was outstanding. I thought he was in complete control … made some unbelievable throws, some unbelievable reads.”
Hurts also made the most glaring error, the ball squirting from his grasp early in the second quarter and ending up in the hands of Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, who returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
That was the only turnover Sunday, the miscue proving enormous on a day when Philadelphia opened a double-digit halftime lead — 24-14 — but couldn’t completely seize a game it dominated for stretches.
“This is tough,” Hurts said. “There’s so much to learn from. I always hold myself to a very high standard. … You either win or you learn. It’s a very tough feeling to come up short.”
Hurts had a 45-yard completion to A.J. Brown and a second 45-yarder to DeVonta Smith. And this was a quarterback playing with a sore throwing shoulder that cost him two starts in December.
Hurts had a 28-yard rush in the second quarter just a few minutes after he had a 14-yarder. Of the Eagles’ 10 longest plays, eight were Hurts passes and two were Hurts runs.
“I thought he played a hell of a game,” center Jason Kelce said. “I’m really happy with the way Jalen played.”
But all of it still wasn’t enough despite the Eagles, at one point, having the Chiefs on the run, except the most important of the Chiefs. Mahomes couldn’t run late in the first half. He was limping too badly.
While being tackled by linebacker T.J. Edwards in the final two minutes of the second quarter, Mahomes re-injured his high-ankle sprain. Suddenly a game already tilting Philadelphia’s way appeared close to tumbling over.
Instead, the opposite happened. The Eagles were unable to stop Kansas City’s offense as Mahomes directed touchdown drives on three consecutive possessions to open the second half.
One of those “drives” lasted just three plays and covered but five yards thanks to a 65-yard punt return by Kadarius Toney, another killer Philadelphia breakdown.
The Chiefs’ fourth and final series after halftime ended with Harrison Butker’s game-winning, 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining.
“We had to make a play, especially on defense,” end Brandon Graham said. “We’re all together in this. But it is a tough feeling that we couldn’t get off the field for the offense. The offense put us in position.”
The Eagles’ touted pass rush failed to sack Mahomes even once. Philadelphia finished with just five hits on the quarterback, according the NFL’s official stats.
After being so productive in creating turnovers all year, the Eagles came up empty there too.
“A good game plan, a lot of chipping, stuff like that,” linebacker Haason Reddick said of the lack of pressure on Mahomes. “They got the ball out quick. Game plan worked well. Credit to them.”
Butker’s final kick also was set up by a Philadelphia defensive error, cornerback James Bradberry called for holding on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The penalty converted third and eight and robbed Hurts of the necessary time to mount a potential final drive.
Afterward, Bradberry admitted that he tugged Smith-Schuster’s jersey and said he knew he had committed an infraction.
“I know it always appears to be that it’s one call that makes the difference,” Sirianni said. “That’s not what it is.
“There’s so many plays that contribute to the end result of the game. Today, they were better than we were.”