Can’t keep Boston Scott on the bench now.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday that Scott, the Eagles’ speedy 5-foot-6 running back, earned a regular spot in the team’s running back rotation with his electrifying performance against the Giants.
Scott, forced into action in the second half as rookie Miles Sanders battled cramps, was nothing less than brilliant, turning 16 touches into 128 scrimmage yards and the touchdown that started the Eagles’ comeback.
Scott, who entered the game with only 99 career yards from scrimmage and one career catch, ran 10 times for 59 yards and caught six passes for 69 yards, including a 25-yarder down the right sideline in overtime that was one of the Eagles’ biggest plays this year.
His 128 scrimmage yards are the most by any Eagles running back since LeGarrette Blount had 156 against the Chargers in 2017.
Asked whether that performance earned Scott playing time even when — or if — the Eagles’ running backs are healthy, Pederson said:
Sure, (because of) where we are right now as a team, an offense (and) his performance and what we've seen in practice, too. Really, it goes all the way back to training camp and some of the preseason games where he played and showed some of that speed and quickness. I think he can really make an impact for us.
The Eagles signed Scott off the Saints’ practice squad late last year, but he didn’t play on offense. He started this year on the Eagles’ practice squad and was signed to the 53 when Corey Clement went on Injured Reserve in mid-October.
But the 24-year-old Scott didn’t play much until Monday night, when Sanders left the game in the third quarter with cramps.
The Eagles trailed 17-3 at halftime, but with Scott making play after play, they scored 20 unanswered points and won 23-17 in overtime to keep their playoff hopes alive.
It was good to see Boston get in the game and do the things he did,” Pederson said. “It just gave us as an offense a change of pace. There’s a quickness there, and that's just Boston. It takes nothing away from the other guys. Something we'll continue to implement into our game plan and find ways to utilize him in the offense.
It took four running back injuries — Clement, Sproles, Jordan Howard and Sanders — for Scott to finally get a chance.
Why did it take the Eagles so long to recognize his ability and why did it take four injuries to get him on the field?
But what’s important now is that Scott continues to have the chance to make plays like he made Monday.
He netted his 128 scrimmage yards on just 16 touches and had 122 of those yards after halftime.
He's the first Eagles running back with 128 yards on 16 or fewer touches since Sproles against the Colts in 2014 and only the eighth to do that in the last 40 years.
He also became the first Eagles running back with 122 scrimmage yards in a half since LeSean McCoy had 170 of his 221 in the second half of the Snow Bowl win over the Lions in 2013.
Pederson said Tuesday that Sanders is fine. His 69 scrimmage yards Monday night gave him 948 this year, which quietly broke McCoy’s franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie running back.
But Clement and Sproles are out for the year and Howard remains out indefinitely with a stinger. He hasn’t played since the Bears game on Nov. 3.
As of now, Sanders, Scott and Jay Ajayi are the Eagles’ healthy running backs, although Ajayi has not been productive since his return, with 30 rushing yards on 10 carries in three games. Once Scott started going off Monday night, Ajayi didn’t play.
Looking ahead, Sproles is expected to retire and Howard and Ajayi are due to become free agents.
Sanders is under contract through 2022, and the Eagles control Scott through 2021 and Clement through 2020.
So the reps are there for Scott if he continues to produce. Not just this year, but in the future as well.
After seeing him play Monday night, how can you not play the kid?
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