The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation is far from settled, but rookie signal caller Jalen Hurts is settling in. Hurts is 1-0 as Philadelphia's starting quarterback after upsetting the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Keeping Carson Wentz on the bench for more than a week may not have been what the Eagles envisioned when this experiment began, but it's hard to argue with the results. Hurts brought a drastically different element to the Eagles offense — a potent rushing threat — and successfully wielded it against a team that was particularly adept at stopping it. In this week's numbers to know, we'll talk about the streak that Hurts helped snap, ultimately leading to the Eagles giving him another week in the starting role.
Another topic we'll discuss is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his pursuit of a third MVP award. This year's MVP looked like it was going to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at first, then Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes made his move, and now it looks like Rodgers has pulled ahead in the race. Mahomes opened the door just a crack with an unusual multi-turnover game on Sunday, and Rodgers burst through it with an unblemished performance. This is far from the first time he's done that in his career (or this season), as evidenced by the statistic we pulled for this week's numbers to know.
Before we dive into the Hurts and Rodgers figures, let's take a look at some other numbers to know from Week 14.
The Washington Football Team may have the scariest defense in the NFL right now. The unit scored two defensive touchdowns in a 23-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The first one came just before halftime, when rookie defensive end Chase Young scooped up a loose ball and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. The second one came on the final play of the third quarter, when fellow rookie Kamren Curl scored on a 76-yard pick-six from his safety position.
Washington desperately needed these defensive touchdowns, because everything on offense was a struggle. Starting quarterback Alex Smith left halfway through the game with a leg injury, and Dwayne Haskins had to finish out the win. Washington failed to score an offensive touchdown, and the 49ers out-gained them by 151 total yards. Nevertheless, Washington now has the longest winning streak in the NFC (four games) and stands alone atop the NFC East standings at 6-7. In order to stay there, the defense will have to close out the season strong.
It was a wild Week 14 Sunday and there's a lot to go over. John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is in a league of his own. He caught eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in a 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins and now has 1,250 receiving yards on the season, making him the first tight end in NFL history with three seasons of 1,200-plus yards. While Kelce has hit this mark each of the past three seasons, only two other tight ends have hit it more than once in their entire careers (Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham).
Kelce is also in pursuit of another first: The first tight end to lead the NFL in receiving yards. He currently leads the league with three games to go, but the competition is tight. That competition includes his own teammate, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who trails Kelce by fewer than 100 yards. The race might come down to who gets more targets from quarterback Patrick Mahomes the rest of the way. If Kelce wants to etch his name into the record books, maybe he should consider bribing the guy throwing him the ball.
When Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry gets rolling, there is nothing that can stop him. Henry had 215 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in a 31-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He now has four career games with at least 200 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. This is the second time he's done it against the Jaguars; the other two times came against the Houston Texans. He has become the neighborhood bully who repeatedly beats up on his division rivals in the AFC South.
Henry is running away with the NFL rushing title at this point with 1,532 yards on the season. He won the rushing title with a career-high 1,540 rushing yards last season and is set to dwarf that figure with three games left this season. If Henry does hold onto his lead, he'll become the first player to win back-to-back rushing titles since LaDainian Tomlinson did it for the San Diego Chargers in 2006-07. The Titans are 9-4 and in a tight division race with the Indianapolis Colts as Henry leads Tennessee's charge toward the playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Haason Reddick had five sacks on the season heading into Week 14. In a 26-7 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, he added five more (franchise record for a single game). Reddick's five-sack performance was the first since Adrian Clayborn did it for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. He is now one of just six players across the NFL with double-digit sacks in 2020 — and his previous career high was four sacks.
On top of the five sacks on Sunday, Reddick also forced three fumbles. This constant disruption was the biggest reason behind Arizona's win, which snapped a three-game losing streak and moved the Cardinals back into the NFC playoff picture at 7-6. Reddick hasn't enjoyed many moments that warrant him being a former first-round draft pick (13th overall pick in 2017), but what he did against the Giants could serve as a turning point for both his team and his career.
Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams has earned the nickname "Blitz Boy." Adams recorded yet another sack in a 40-3 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, bringing his season total up to 8.5. That's the most sacks a defensive back has recorded in a single season since sacks became an official stat in 1982. His impact may not be that of a traditional safety, but Adams finds a way to influence games with his playmaking ability. That much is undeniable.
Adams, who only has two interceptions in his NFL career, had a golden opportunity to record his first pick as a member of the Seahawks on Sunday but let it slip through his hands. Adams only has a couple of defended passes this season, so it's a good thing he has his impressive sack total on which he can lean. The Seahawks, who gave up multiple first-round draft picks in the trade for Adams, will soon have to negotiate with him on what will likely be a lucrative contract extension. It will be interesting to see exactly how Seattle values Adams, given his unusual production for his position.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady still has some life in that 43-year-old arm. The deep ball hasn't been Brady's specialty this season, but during a 26-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday he connected with wide receiver Scotty Miller on a 48-yard touchdown strike. That was his longest TD pass of the season. It was also the longest Brady has ever gone before throwing his first TD of 40-plus yards in a given season (14 weeks).
The Buccaneers have won only two of their past five games, but Brady has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four straight games. That's his longest streak since 2016. Brady may not be blowing us away with his arm this season, but he's keeping Tampa Bay squarely in the playoff picture at 8-5. As much as Brady's haters have hoped for a drop-off, it looks like he's destined for yet another postseason appearance — his first in the NFC.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers officially took a step ahead of Patrick Mahomes in the MVP race on Sunday. Rodgers threw three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a 31-24 win over the Detroit Lions, while Mahomes tied a career high with three interceptions against the Dolphins. Rodgers now has 55 career games with at least three TD passes and no picks. That is tied with Drew Brees for the second most in NFL history (trailing only Tom Brady, 61). Nine of those games have come this season, including each of his past three outings.
Rodgers leads the entire NFL with 39 passing touchdowns in 2020 and is on pace to finish with 48, which would set a new career high for the 37-year-old signal caller. Rodgers already has two MVP awards from the 2011 and 2014 seasons. If he wins it again this season, he'll join Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown as the only players in league history to win the award from the Associated Press three times. Peyton Manning, who won five league MVP awards in his storied NFL career, is the only player who has won more than three. Rodgers is playing like a man on a mission this season, and it's easy to see why when you take a look at what's on the line for his legacy.
Heading into Week 14, the New Orleans Saints hadn't allowed a single player to rush for over 100 yards in 50 straight games. After Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, they've now allowed two. Eagles running back Miles Sanders led the way with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including one that came on an 82-yard sprint. Rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts was right behind him with 106 rushing yards on 18 carries. Hurts, who started over a recently benched Carson Wentz, joined Lamar Jackson as the only quarterbacks since at least 1950 to rush for over 100 yards in their first career start.
The Eagles looked like a completely different team with Hurts at the helm, as Philly's rushing attack totally steamrolled a Saints team that ranked No. 1 in total defense entering the game. Even on Sanders' long run, Hurts played an important role. The Eagles were running an option attack, and the New Orleans defense had to respect Hurts' running ability far more than they would if Wentz was the quarterback. Hurts may not be a long-term solution for the Eagles, but the change-of-pace certainly helped deliver Philadelphia's biggest win of the season. He deserves an extended opportunity as the team's starter for that fact alone.