Jalen Hurts Solid in Limited Action as Eagles Fall to Steelers in Preseason Clash

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacts after teammate Jaylen Samuels scores a touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 2-0 in preseason play, and 2-0 against the NFC East. 

The Steelers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-16 on Thursday night, a week after knocking off the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game. 

Anthony McFarland Jr. and Jaylen Samuels each registered rushing touchdowns for Pittsburgh, while Anthony Johnson wrangled a 22-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Dwayne Haskins. 


If at first you don't succeed...<br><br>Anthony McFarland Jr. finds daylight for the <a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsPHI</a> <a href="https://t.co/JsnOCQYUrv">pic.twitter.com/JsnOCQYUrv</a>


FREE PLAY and <a href="https://twitter.com/dh_simba7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dh_simba7</a> makes the most of it. Six!<a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsPHI</a> <a href="https://t.co/bNqP1Jzr5g">pic.twitter.com/bNqP1Jzr5g</a>


Jaylen Samuels gives the <a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a> a lead! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsPHI</a> <a href="https://t.co/7IIfxrVOMl">pic.twitter.com/7IIfxrVOMl</a>

Quez Watkins scored the lone touchdown for the Eagles on a 79-yard catch-and-run after a screen pass. 

Philadelphia Eagles @Eagles

Any Quez-tions???<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsPHI</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlyEaglesFly?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FlyEaglesFly</a> <a href="https://t.co/dyzmqSRyWl">pic.twitter.com/dyzmqSRyWl</a>

The Eagles raced out to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter before the Steelers roared back, buoyed by the strong play of Haskins under center. 

Key Stats

Mason Rudolph, PIT: 8-of-9 for 77 yards

Dwayne Haskins, PIT: 16-of-22 for 161 yards and a score

Jaylen Samuels, PIT: 10 carries for 45 yards and a score; one catch for 17 yards

Jalen Hurts, PHI: 3-of-7 for 54 yards; one run for four yards

Alex Singleton, PHI: Seven tackles

Jake Elliott, PHI: 3-for-3 on field goals; 1-for-1 on extra points

The Steelers Have a Backup QB Battle on their Hands

With Ben Roethlisberger sitting this one out, Rudolph got the start and looked solid, missing on just one pass, though he didn't lead the Steelers to any scoring plays in his short stint. 

Then Haskins stepped into the game and looked pretty darn good. Sure, it was the preseason, and sure, it was against a bunch of backups. 

Emory Hunt @FBallGameplan

The biggest difference in Haskins that I see so far in the preseason vs his time in WFT, is his willingness to quickly take the layup. And it’s in taking those layups, that has allowed him better consistency going downfield.<br><br>Which has what been reported from practice &amp; in games.

Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly

Haskins has all the confidence in the world now. Looking left, right, keeping the rhythm and then fires to Rader.

Andrew Fillipponi @ThePoniExpress

70 yard TD drive with Dwayne Haskins at the helm. Even his biggest detractors have be giving him a round of applause. Well done.

Andrew Fillipponi @ThePoniExpress

Dwayne Haskins is running away with this QB2 job.

Brett Kollmann @BrettKollmann

I would be okay with this just for curiosity's sake.<br><br>Rudolph has been a three and out factory so far this preseason anyway, might as well try to figure out what you have in Haskins by increasing his opportunities. <a href="https://t.co/IZkdQRza97">https://t.co/IZkdQRza97</a>

But for a player who had such a tumultuous time with the Washington Football Team, Haskins acquitted himself well on Thursday evening. At the very least, if he continues to play this well, he's going to give Pittsburgh's coaching staff something to think about when they choose their backup behind Roethlisberger. 

Jalen Hurts Looked Sharp

Hurts played well in his two series with the first-team offense, even if the stats didn't pop. Those numbers would have looked better if it weren't for two dropped passes, however. Generally, Hurts looked poised and accurate. 


.<a href="https://twitter.com/JalenHurts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JalenHurts</a> on the money to <a href="https://twitter.com/goedert33?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@goedert33</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsPHI</a> <a href="https://t.co/MIhvxS7wjo">pic.twitter.com/MIhvxS7wjo</a>

Dave Zangaro @DZangaroNBCS

First-half thoughts: <br><br>- Overall very impressed by how prepared Eagles look on both sides.<br><br>- Hurts better than stats, showed poise, did miss on the deep ball to Quez<br><br>- Quez can fly. He needs more first-team reps<br><br>- Milton Williams is disruptive<br><br>- Tyree Jackson is good

Eliot Shorr-Parks @EliotShorrParks

Jalen Hurts is out. I think that was a very positive first outing. Threw mostly all accurate passes and looked very good in the pocket. Drops killed the opening drive. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a>

One of the major questions in Philadelphia, both for this season and the future, is whether Hurts can seize the quarterbacking gig and prosper. If he doesn't have a big year, Philly has a ton of draft capital to address the position next offseason. 

But so far, so good for Hurts. 

What's Next?

Both teams continue their preseason slates next week. The Eagles will face the New England Patriots on Thursday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the Steelers will face the Detroit Lions on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET.