The ankle injury that plagued Jalen Hurts throughout the last six weeks of the season has reared its ugly head once again. Following the Philadelphia Eagles' playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hurts walked into his press conference with a walking boot on his ankle -- the same ankle that caused him to miss a game and had him on the injured list over the final third of the year.
"I think it's something we all know I've been battling with this last stretch of the games we've played in since I've been back," Hurts said following the loss. "Regardless of how I feel, we didn't play good enough today, I didn't play good enough today. That's kind of where it is."
Hurts had a playoff debut he'd like to forget, finishing 23 of 43 for 258 yards with a touchdown and an interception (60.0 passer rating). The Eagles quarterback didn't see open receivers and was late on a myriad of throws early in the game that led to the Eagles facing a 31-0 deficit through three quarters. Philadelphia had 12 yards after its first three possessions and 118 yards in the first half, the final play was a Hurts interception which he missed an open DeVonta Smith in the end zone with the Eagles trailing 17-0.
"I'm kind of taking it for what it is," Hurts said. "We're not used to this, nobody enjoys this feeling... I know for us as a football team, we always talk about controlling the things we can control and today we didn't execute enough. We didn't do our jobs good enough, I didn't do my job good enough -- communicating and doing the little things.
"I could have been better, definitely, and I think there are a ton of different areas where we can kind of shoulder this as a team, but I take accountability for my actions and everything ... Through the highs and lows of the season, we've been together. We've been together, we believe in one another and we stayed the course, and we just grinded every day."
Even with the ankle injury, Hurts was able to improve as the season went on. He completed a season-high 66.7% of his passes for 709 yards with three touchdowns to just one interception for a 101.3 passer rating in leading Philadelphia to the playoffs over his last three regular season game. Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions for an 87.2 rating on the year, and he's just the second quarterback in Eagles history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 750 yards in a season -- and the eighth to reach those numbers in NFL history.
The ankle was bothering Hurts since a Week 12 loss to the New York Giants, limiting his ability to gain yards on the ground. Hurts being one-dimensional didn't help him in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers, even though Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said he should be 100% heading into the game.
The Eagles quarterback appeared to aggravate the injury, which raises questions whether Hurts will have surgery this offseason.
"I hope not," Hurts said. "We're going to come back hungry, but this season was far from a failure. It's only a failure if you don't learn from it. So, we'll take it as a lesson, I'll definitely take it as a lesson. My third year starts tomorrow."