Eagles

Jay Ajayi wastes no time asserting himself in Eagles debut

Jay Ajayi looked confused. 

With his backpack hoisted over his shoulders and a beanie cap holding down his black and blonde dreadlocks as he walked through the Eagles' locker room, Ajayi needed some directions. 

He didn't know how to get out of the stadium. 

He didn't look nearly as lost on the field. Just five days after a trade brought him north from Miami for a fourth-round pick, Ajayi carried the ball eight times for 77 yards, which included a 46-yard touchdown in the second quarter in the Birds' 51-23 win Sunday over the Broncos (see breakdown)

"[The touchdown] was special," Ajayi said in his delightful British accent. "First off, it was my first touchdown of the season. And it's exciting for it to have been in Philly in my first game as an Eagle. I don't think it could have been written any better than that." 

Not only was Ajayi's touchdown the first of this season, it was also the first rushing TD the Broncos had given up all year.

Once Ajayi busted through the line, he thought he had a chance to score. He had a couple blockers in front who were able to lead the way. The touchdown run was the Eagles' second-longest of the season and the fourth-longest run of Ajayi's career. He capped it by diving head-first into the end zone. 

"I saw him hauling ass and then I saw him diving for the pylons," right tackle Lane Johnson said. "Fantastic run, man."

"We saw it on the big board," fellow running back Corey Clement said. "It's hard to miss it. He did a great job of getting into the end zone. Couldn't be happier."

He was also pretty happy to be playing in front of the home fans at the Linc for the first time (see Roob's observations). Every carry he got, the crowd got pretty loud. He called the atmosphere "electric" and was excited to experience it. 

While the Eagles haven't given Ajayi the entire playbook just yet, they did want him to feel comfortable with 10-15 plays. Before he was given a handoff, Ajayi was on the field as what looked like a decoy. It seemed pretty clear Denver expected him to get the ball when he was in. 

Ajayi led the Eagles in rushing Sunday and put together the second-best individual rushing performance against the Broncos all season. Only the Giants' Orleans Darwka rushed for more. In fact, Ajayi rushed for more yards on his own Sunday than four teams have against the Broncos this season (see report card). The Broncos came into Sunday with the second-best rush defense in the league. The Eagles — led by Ajayi — put up 197 yards against them. 

"I'm excited to have [Ajayi] here because I've been a fan of his all the way back to last year," said LeGarrette Blount, who had 37 yards on nine carries. "He is a really good player and is an exciting and dynamic player to watch."

In the days since the trade brought Ajayi to town, he and running backs coach Duce Staley "had some long nights" trying to teach Ajayi the playbook. 

"It's impressive," Carson Wentz said. "Hats off to him. He came in with a 'I want to work' attitude right away. That was great to see. Great communication he fits in well in the locker room and everything as well. He's a smart kid and he picked up on things pretty quickly."

The 24-year-old Ajayi thinks the bye week is coming at the perfect time for him. He'll be able to finally breathe and have some more leisurely time to learn the playbook before the Nov. 19 game in Dallas against the Cowboys. 

Things have been pretty hectic for Ajayi over the last week. 

"It was just about coming in and getting ready for Sunday," Ajayi said. "That was the main focus. Then I can focus on finding my place and getting my life situated out here." 

And getting out of the building.