Eagles QB Jalen Hurts searching for answers after struggling vs. Buccaneers

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Jalen Hurts searching for answers after struggling vs. Bucs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Jalen Hurts has plenty of accountability. He just doesn't have any answers.

Hurts on Thursday night sputtered through a second game in five days where he struggled to find consistency throwing the football, made shaky decisions in the pocket, overthrew and under-threw open receivers and didn't get going at all until the Eagles trailed by double digits.

It's not easy to evaluate Hurts in the context of Nick Sirianni's consistently awful play-calling. But Hurts has not played well, and his performance Thursday night against the NFL's lowest-ranked pass defense was definitely concerning.

"I think this offense is executing well enough," Hurts said after the Eagles dropped to 2-4 with a 28-22 home loss to the Buccaneers. "I think I haven't executed well enough to win clearly. I take responsibility for that. I always take responsibility for that because the ball is in my hands every play and I enjoy that and I like that. I have to be better.

"I'm not doing enough right now to win. I'm not doing enough to start fast. We all know that this is a team sport and that it takes a collective group, and it takes all 11. But that one in the 11 is me, and it starts with me, and I will be better."

Hurts completed just 12 of 26 passes for 115 yards with a TD pass to Zach Ertz and his second interception in two weeks.

His 46 percent completion percentage is lowest by an Eagles QB throwing at least 25 passes in eight years, Nick Foles went 11-for-29 against the Cowboys in his last game before he tied an NFL record with seven TDs against the Raiders.

The Eagles' next game is against the Raiders, so there's that.

But Hurts the last two weeks has not been good. 

After fashioning a 101.1 passer rating in the Eagles' first four games, completing 66 percent of his passes with seven TDs and two INTs, he's got an NFL-low 59.8 rating the last two games, completing 54 percent of his passes with one TD pass and two INTs. 

After completing 14 passes of more than 20 yards in the first four games, he's completed just three in the last two.

"I don't want to make excuses for anything," he said. "I hold myself to a high standard of play and I am trying to go out there and play at a high level for the guys around me. ... You look at this game and (the Panthers game) and we started off slow. This whole year, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot 

"I have unwavering faith in the guys on this football team and everybody on this field and that we have everything we need. It is just a matter of us putting that together. It is tough but I have unwavering faith in everyone in this building and that it will come."

Hurts isn't getting much help.

Sirianni's play-calling has been atrocious, the offensive line -- forced to pass block on virtually every snap-- had protection issues Thursday night, and the running game has been non-existent.

And Hurts continues to make plays with his feet. He became the first quarterback in Eagles history with two rushing TDs in back-to-back games, something no Eagle had done since Bryce Brown in 2013. 

He's in the top 20 in the NFL in rushing yards, and his five rushing TDs are 2nd-most in the league, behind only Derrick Henry.

But in terms of consistency in the passing game, it just hasn't been there.

"We have to be better, and I have to be better for this football team," he said. "I have to be better."

The most discouraging thing is that Hurts seems to be regressing. He didn't have a passer rating under 80 the first four games of the season and hasn't been over 63 the last two.

Consider this: Against the Panthers and Bucs, he dropped back 86 times and completed just 11 passes longer than eight yards.

On Thursday night, he dropped back 38 times and completed just three passes longer than six yards.

It's not good enough and really it's not even close.

"When the plays need to be made, make them," he said. "When the throws need to be made, make the throws. I hold a lot of responsibility in everything that is going on here, everything with the offense. It starts with me, and I'll never shy away from that. I embrace that."

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