PHILADELPHIA -- The loudest cheer by Philadelphia Eagles fans during Thursday night's 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was chock full of sarcasm.
Coach Nick Sirianni had once again been neglecting to get the ball to his running backs, so when Miles Sanders got an opportunity on third-and-3 late in the third quarter and shook free for a 5-yard gain, the Lincoln Financial Field crowd showed their frustration and relief with a standing ovation.
Sirianni continues to ask too much of quarterback Jalen Hurts. Entering Week 6, Hurts had accounted for 87% of the Eagles' offense by yardage, the highest of any team in the NFL. It was the same story against Tampa (5-1). Eagles running backs received just one carry in the first half and nine total for the game.
"We were bad in the first half. Put that one on me," Sirianni said. "There's no doubt our offense needs to be better to give ourselves a chance to win."
Running against the Bucs is no easy task. They entered the contest with the No. 1 rush defense, allowing just 46 yards per game. Leaning on the pass against Tampa is a must, but this wasn't a one-week occurrence.
Without any balance, the offense becomes predictable, and it falls to Hurts to claw and throw and scramble his way out of trouble. He's proven to be a fighter. Hurts found his footing late, just as he did on Sunday in a comeback win over the Carolina Panthers. Hurts rushed for a pair of touchdowns against the Bucs to pull Philadelphia (2-4) within six with around six minutes to play. He became the first Eagles player with a passing touchdown and multiple rushing scores in a game since Michael Vick on Nov. 15, 2010 at Washington.
But he is not consistent enough of a passer yet to go blow-for-blow with Tom Brady. And seeing as this was just his 10th career start, he shouldn't be put in a position to shoulder such a load. That's on Sirianni.
"I haven't executed enough to win, clearly," Hurts said. "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 to win. I'm not doing enough to start fast. I will be better."
QB breakdown: Hurts ended 12-of-26 for 115 yards with a touchdown and an interception to go with his rushing touchdowns. His interception falls partly to receiver Quez Watkins, who appeared to jump prematurely, allowing the ball to sail into the hands of Jamel Dean. Still, Hurts had his share of misfires, and continues to be up-and-down in the pass game.
Eye-popping stat: Hurts now has five rushing touchdowns on the season, which is tied for tops in the league among quarterbacks with last week's opponent, Sam Darnold.