Jalen Hurts went to the hospital Thursday night with abdominal pain and was eventually sent home to rest with what was diagnosed as a stomach infection.
The team announced the details surrounding Hurts’ illness after its 35-0 loss to the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. The second-year quarterback was a late scratch after participating in pregame warmups. Hurts seemed to be moving around fine, but Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said he had discomfort in his stomach and the team decided to send him to the hospital.
“Just a stomach infection, a stomach bug,” Sirianni said. “It was causing some pressure in his stomach. ... He really wanted to play, but we decided it wasn’t in the best interest of the team and even of him.”
Hurts came back to the stadium after getting discharged from the hospital, but quickly went home. According to an ESPN report, he’s expected to rest at least two days before returning to practice. The Eagles will have Friday off and a walkthrough on Saturday before an open practice Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
On a night that was expected to be the first glimpse of Hurts and first-round rookie DeVonta Smith leading the Eagles’ offense, things hardly went as planned. The Birds were shut out in a stagnant offensive showing with Joe Flacco and Nick Mullens at the controls.
The offense finished with just 163 total yards and went 2-for-10 on third downs. Both Flacco and Mullens threw interceptions and completed a combined 55.6 percent of their passes.
“We came out there and got a couple of first downs and then kind of just hit a wall after that,” Flacco said. “We weren’t able to turn it over and get any momentum going in our favor. It kind of carried through the rest of the night.”
Sirianni said the coaching staff decided to sit veteran offensive linemen Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks once Hurts was ruled out, leaving Jordan Mailata and Isaac Seumalo as the lone starting linemen to play. Nate Herbig, Jack Driscoll and Matt Pryor played in their place.
“We were playing that all by ear,” Sirianni said. “That was kind of up in the air, what we wanted to do. We’ve got some guys with a lot of experience on that offensive line. We talked to those guys on the right side there yesterday, and they were sore. They wanted to go, but we just thought, in the best interest of them, they played two games essentially this week. ... They didn’t need to go this third day.”
Herbig, filling in at center, fired an errant snap over Flacco’s head on the Eagles’ third play from scrimmage. Flacco’s pursuit of the bad snap ended in a fumble and set the Patriots up for a scoring drive starting on the Eagles’ 9-yard line.
Smith, the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, returned after missing two weeks with a sprained MCL and overcame a few early miscues to log two catches for 19 yards.
Flacco and Smith had multiple missed opportunities in the first quarter, including a failed third-down conversion in which the rookie beat Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson but dropped a late pass from Flacco. The next series, Flacco threw a back-shoulder pass to Smith, but the timing was off and Smith didn’t get his head around quickly enough.
“It looked like he was a little antsy at first, he dropped a couple balls,” Sirianni said. “He was a little late with his eyes on the deep ball that Joe threw him, but he made a couple plays there.”
Flacco tried to force a pass to a heavily covered Jalen Reagor on fourth-and-3 in the second quarter and threw an interception.
The uninspiring effort came a week after Hurts led two series and flashed some promising signs in a preseason-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The starting offense didn’t produce any points, but Hurts had first-down completions to Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz that left the team pleased with his first preseason start.
Hurts looked like he was building on the opener during the joint practices against the Patriots on Monday and Tuesday. The Eagles’ starting offense had the advantage during wide receiver vs. cornerback one-on-ones as well as in team drills against the Patriots’ first-team defense.
Sirianni wouldn’t commit to whether Hurts, or any starters, will appear in the preseason finale scheduled for next Friday against the New York Jets, but noted the joint practices scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday will be game-like situations.
“Next week we have two practices against the Jets and two other practices, so, again, we’ll evaluate how he’s feeling the next couple days,” Sirianni said. “Again, we get two practices against the Jets.
“Those inter-squad practices are like games, so he is going to be able to get two more there. I’m pretty confident that we’ll get a lot of good work against the Jets.”