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During Week 2 of the NFL’s 2022 season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts started fast and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished fast. Both the former Alabama teammates produced games rarely seen.
On Monday night in the Eagles’ 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Hurts completed 26-of-31 passes for 333 yards with one touchdown and one interception and had 57 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushing attempts.
On Sunday afternoon in the Dolphins’ 42-38 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, Tagovailoa completed 36-of-50 passes for 469 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
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As Philadelphia did all its scoring in the first half, Hurts completed 17-of-20 passes for 251 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions and ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
With Miami trailing 35-14 entering the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa completed 13-of-17 passes for 196 yards with four touchdowns in the final period as the Dolphins broke a losing streak of 771 games for NFL teams that trailed by 21 points in the closing 15 minutes.
The Week 2 games marked the 22nd NFL start for Hurts (including a playoff contest) and the 23rd for Tagovailoa.
Only 10 times since 1950 has an NFL player over the course of an entire game matched Hurts’ first-half totals for passing yards, touchdown passes, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is the most recent on Sept. 20, 2020, and the list includes former Auburn All-American Cam Newton for the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26, 2012.
Three of those players also matched Hurts’ game stats for passing yards, TD passes, rushing yards and TD runs in a single contest — the Detroit Lions’ Bobby Layne in 1950, San Francisco 49ers’ Steve Young in 1991 and the Eagles’ Michael Vick in 2010.
But Hurts went beyond those players as he became the first player in NFL history to have at least 300 passing yards and two touchdown runs while completing at least 80 percent of his passes in a game. Hurts completed 83.9 percent of his passes on Monday night.
“It doesn’t surprise me in the sense of that’s how practice has looked,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “He’s went to the right place with the football versus different looks, and so a great indicator of how we’re going to play in games is how we practice. And not just this week, not just last week, but also throughout training camp and OTAs. And so I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. …
“We talk about this so much with Jalen. Why is Jalen going to continue to reach his ceiling? Because he’s tough, he’s got high football character and he loves football, and so he’s going to reach his ceiling, and it’s fun watching him grow.”
Tagovailoa became the fifth player in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of one game. The first was also an Alabama alumnus. Ken Stabler threw four TD passes in the Houston Oilers’ 31-28 overtime loss to the New York Jets on Nov. 23, 1980. The San Francisco 49ers’ Joe Montana in 1989, the New York Jets’ Vinny Testaverde in 2000 and the Houston Texans’ Sage Rosenfels in 2007 also passed for four touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game.
The strong showing in the final period allowed Tagovailoa to become the eighth player with at least 469 passing yards and six touchdown passes in one game. The second player to do so was former Alabama QB Joe Namath, who had 496 passing yards and six TD tosses in the Jets’ 44-34 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Sept. 24, 1972.
Only one of the previous seven players could match Tagovailoa’s 36 completions on Sunday. The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees had 39 completions to go with 505 passing yards and seven touchdown passes in a 52-49 victory over the New York Giants on Nov. 1, 2015.
“He knows that he did some really, really good things,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel said on Monday. “I think deep down — he wouldn’t ever say it — but I think you’d have to be kind of delusional not to be like, ‘Hey, six touchdowns was pretty good, right?’
“But I think there’s also something to the fact that none of his teammates were surprised, which is much more impactful than words. You can feel that when guys, they’re not like, ‘Whoa, dude, where’d that come from?’ I think that’s great for him. He deserves it. None of it was given at all. He earned every ounce of that, which I know players respect a great deal, so I think that benefits everybody — players and coaches included.”
Hurts and Tagovailoa take undefeated teams into Week 3 of the NFL’s 103rd season.
The Eagles open their NFC East schedule by visiting the Washington Commanders at noon CDT Sunday.
The Dolphins have an early season showdown in the AFC East when the Buffalo Bills visit at noon Sunday.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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