PHILADELPHIA — Miles Sanders ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, Jalen Hurts threw for 204 yards and ran for a score and the undefeated Eagles spoiled former coach Doug Pederson’s return to Philadelphia with a 29-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Trevor Lawrence threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns to Jamal Agnew. Lawrence was strip-sacked on the final drive of the game that sealed the win for the Eagles. It was one of four lost fumbles for the second-year quarterback.
Pederson, who coached the Eagles to a Super Bowl 52 victory over New England, received a standing ovation from fans that braved a rainy, windy Sunday when he was introduced before the game. The camera cut to a shot on the big screens of the 2017 World Champions banner that hangs from the above the top deck at Lincoln Financial Field. Pederson mingled with some of his former players on the field before the game and was warmly greeted by stadium employees when he walked into the stadium.
He was fired less than three years after leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl. About 13 months later, Pederson was hired in Jacksonville.
Pederson, who already had a statue of himself and former QB Nick Foles erected outside the Linc, seems to have the Jaguars (2-2) at least motoring in the right direction.
Coach Nick Sirianni, Pederson’s replacement, has the Eagles (4-0) playing like a team that might have to make room in the rafters for more banners.
The Eagles shook off an abysmal start — Hurts had a pass intercepted by Andre Cisco and returned 59 yards for a TD — and a 14-0 hole after the first quarter before they started playing like the lone undefeated team in the NFL.
On the first drive of the second quarter, Lawrence lost his grip on the wet ball as he scrambled on fourth down and fumbled. Fletcher Cox recovered, and the Eagles got to work.
Hurts had a 10-yard TD pass wiped out on a pass interference call that pushed them back to the 20. No problem for Hurts, playing like an early MVP candidate. He ran virtually untouched up the middle, took a crushing hit at the goal line and powered through for a touchdown. It was his fourth rushing TD of the season.
Sanders tied it on a 10-yard TD run, part of his 58-yard effort in the first half. His 58 yards stood out against a Jaguars defense that had allowed a league-low 55 yards rushing a game.
But it quickly turned into one of those days for Jacksonville.
Lawrence, who threw a 4-yard TD pass to Agnew in the first quarter, fumbled the snap late in the second quarter and the ball was recovered by linebacker Hasson Reddick. Lawrence’s turnover again led to an Eagles score, the one for the lead, for good.
But it was Sirianni’s faith in Hurts that got them ahead. On fourth-and-1 at the Jacksonville 12, Hurts squeezed 2 yards on a sneak. It was the third fourth-down conversion of the game and set up Kenneth Gainwell’s 10-yard rushing score. Jake Elliott missed the extra point and the Eagles led 20-14.
Elliott limped on the field, kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third for a 23-14 lead, and gingerly ran off in the third. Sanders had a 5-yard TD run in the fourth.
Lawrence hit Agnew for an 8-yard TD in the fourth that made it 29-21.