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Eagles-Saints Up-Down Drill: Doug Pederson dials up a winning game plan

Jalen Hurts made all the difference in Sunday's 24-21 win over the Saints, earning a well-deserved thumbs up in his first career start.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts rushed for over 100 yards in Sunday's 24-21 win, keeping the Saints defense on its toes in his first career start.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts rushed for over 100 yards in Sunday's 24-21 win, keeping the Saints defense on its toes in his first career start.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Jalen Hurts

👍 — Hurts was decisive and brought a dynamic to the Eagles offense that has been sorely missing. He missed some throws and had the late fumble, but considering the opponent, his first career start was about as good as one could expect. The rookie quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran for more than 100 yards.

Carson Wentz

👎 — Wentz’s team got the victory, but if there was any prior doubt, Hurts’ performance confirmed that No. 11 has been a major source of the Eagles’ woes this season. Hurts did more than enough to earn the start the rest of the way. Wentz’s future, while likely still in Philly, remains in question.

Doug Pederson

👍 — The Eagles ended a four-game losing streak and kept their slim playoff hopes alive. They trail Washington by a game and a half with three to play. Pederson had a solid game plan for Hurts and showed that his players will still play for him. One question, though: Where were the rollouts in the 12 previous games?

» READ MORE: Jalen Hurts shows that Carson Wentz was Eagles’ biggest problem | Marcus Hayes

Eagles O-line

👍 — What a difference Hurts made. The offensive line is battered, but the unit suddenly looked competent with a decisive quarterback. The line didn’t allow a sack and played an obvious role in the Eagles’ 250-plus yards rushing.

Miles Sanders

👍 — When you feed Sanders the rock, good things tend to happen. The running back exploded for an 82-yard touchdown — and ran by former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins along the way — for his third 70-plus-yard rush of the season.

» READ MORE: Eagles offensive line kept Jalen Hurts clean against Saints’ effective pass rush

Josh Sweat and Javon Hargrave

👍 — The defensive linemen each notched two sacks. Sweat’s first was a strip-sack on a fourth-down attempt. Hargrave’s second forced the Saints to attempt a 57-yard field goal that they would miss. Sweat left the game late with an injury.

Duke Riley

👍 — The Eagles linebacker was gifted an interception when a pass deflected off Alvin Kamara and into his hands. But Riley held on and that wasn’t all he did. He had a big stop on a Saints third-and-1 in the second quarter and played maybe the best game of his career.

DB Injuries

🤷‍♂️ — By the third quarter, the Eagles were without three-fourths of their starting secondary after cornerbacks Darius Slay (head) and Avonte Maddox (knee) and safety Rodney McLeod (knee) left with injuries. Jalen Mills moved from safety to corner and Nickel Robey-Coleman remained in the slot. Corner Kevon Seymour and safeties K’Von Wallace and Marcus Epps were pressed into duty but survived.

» READ MORE: Eagles rally behind Jalen Hurts, the running game, and a depleted defense in 24-21 win over the Saints

Jalen Reagor

🤷‍♂️ — Reagor finished with two catches for 46 yards, one of which went for 39 yards. He also ran for 19 yards on an end-around. But the receiver ran some questionable routes and maybe could have stretched out for an early bomb from Hurts. Reagor, it should be noted, was briefly out with an apparent muscle strain.

Jake Elliott

👎 — The Eagles kicker has had a dreadful season. He missed another short kick when he pulled a 22-yard field-goal attempt off the left upright before the half. Elliott has missed two field-goal tries under 30 yards and two PATs through 13 games.

Alshon Jeffery

👍 — Credit where credit is due. Jeffery has been stealing snaps from younger receivers and saw only one target Sunday, but he caught it — a 15-yard, back-shoulder touchdown.

Zach Ertz

👎 — What happened to Ertz? It’s almost as if he isn’t a part of the offensive game plan. The tight end finished with just two catches on three targets for 8 yards.

» READ MORE: Grade the Eagles' win and check out Paul Domowitch's report card