The Eagles stuck to the ground game Thursday night out of necessity. Doug Pederson was with the Packers long enough to understand that the best way to win at Lambeau — especially when you’re undermanned — is to shorten the game, play ball control and try to wear down the Packers.
The Eagles went away from convention Thursday and executed that plan brilliantly, hammering the Packers on the ground from start to finish.
But could that game plan become more than just a one-time thing?
Pederson indicated Friday that the Eagles’ gameplan Thursday — 33 runs, 27 passes — could be a blueprint for the offense the rest of the season.
I believe it's a little bit of a recipe for our offense,” he said back in Philly on Friday, about 12 hours after the Eagles finished off a 34-27 win over the Packers. “Not having DeSean (Jackson) out there to have that deeper threat down the field, you kind of rely on the running game a little bit. Even with DeSean, I think that's how we can play and utilize that run game. It does open up some things for us in the play-action game and last night was kind of an indication of that.
The 33 carries are the Eagles’ 9th-most in 57 games under Pederson, but several of the higher totals came in blowouts where the Eagles simply were running out the clock.
This was different. This was Pederson establishing the run from the get-go and sticking with it no matter the score.
In terms of running the ball as a primary scheme? This was the first time the Eagles had six more running plays than passing plays since a win at Dallas late in the 2017 season.
I can't say 100 percent that every week is going to be like that because there are times where you have to change and do other things,” Pederson said. “You may end up having to throw 50 times or whatever it might be. But it's definitely something that you would like to lean on more and more as you go.
Wentz’s 16 completions were the fifth-fewest of his career, and his 160 yards were his fourth-fewest. But the balanced attack kept the Packers' ferocious defensive front off balance, Wentz stayed clean throughout and the Eagles made plays both running and throwing the football.
The game was only the fourth under Pederson in which the Eagles had more yards rushing than passing - the first since that same Dallas game in 2017.
To put that into context, in 30 games in between that Dallas game and the win over the Packers, the Eagles averaged 37 pass plays and 25 running plays per game.
So you can see how out of character Thursday night was.
Unless this is what Pederson’s character really is now.
With 22-year-old Miles Sanders and 24-year-old Jordan Howard, the Eagles have a capable running back tandem, and for those fans who are constantly begging Doug to run the ball more, you just may get your wish.
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