Players like Jalen Hurts and Jason Kelce played with flu-like symptoms in Monday’s triumph. Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles is accustomed to powering through opposing defenses, as he did on Monday night when he scored his 29th career rushing touchdown from a yard out, the most in NFL history by a quarterback in their first 50 games. In the Eagles’ 25-11 Week 3 victory over the previously unbeaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hurts was also battling an illness characterized by flu-like symptoms.
“Just us executing,” Hurts said after Monday’s game, discussing playing through the discomfort. “This is not the first time I’ve dealt with or dealt with something similar. And for whatever reason, it always occurs on Monday night.”
The runner-up for NFL MVP in 2022 completed the game with 277 passing yards, one passing touchdown (a 34-yarder to Olamide Zaccheaus), and two interceptions through the air, in addition to 28 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on ten carries. Jason Kelce, one of Hurts’ top offensive linemen, had a similar issue, so he and his quarterback could relate to each other’s struggles during games.
“It seems like everyone in the world is sick right now,” Kelce said after Monday’s game when discussing his illness. “It’s gaining momentum again. This week, we had a large number of players… it’s about that time of year in Philadelphia.”
Since Hurts signed with Nike’s Air Jordan brand this past offseason, his teammates joked about comparing him to His Airness, Michael Jordan, who tallied 38 points in a 1997 NBA Finals game against the Utah Jazz in a game dubbed “the flu game.”
“He signed with Jordan, of course; the flu game will come up, but I don’t know,” Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said of Hurts’ performance despite being ill during the victory. “He is always serene and collected. I never observed him to be agitated. I could not tell that he was sick.
Despite Hurts and Kelce being unwell, Philadelphia’s offense amassed 472 yards, led by running back D’Andre Swift (130 rushing yards on 16 carries — 8.1 yards per carry) and Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown (131 receiving yards on nine receptions). In addition to the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles are now one of only three unbeaten NFL teams.