Eagles Insider

Was that really the Eagles that ran 46 times for 236 yards?

Eagles Insider

The biggest surprise wasn't that the Eagles came out running the ball. It was that Nick Sirianni stuck with it.

The Eagles, the team that never runs the ball, rammed it down the Lions' throat Sunday on the way to a 44-6 win at Ford Field.

Would you believe 46 carries for 236 yards and four touchdowns? 

"It definitely can be a morale breaker," Boston Scott said. "Stop us. You know? Stop us. If you don't, we're going to keep doing it."

Even without Miles Sanders, Eagles running backs ran 37 times for 144 yards and four touchdowns. 

That's after averaging 13½ carries and 63 yards the first seven weeks of the season.

The 46 carries is the Eagles' most in eight years -- they had 49 in Washington in Chip Kelly's first game as Eagles head coach -- and the 236 rushing yards is their most on the road since they had 256 in Dallas in 2014.

About time.

The amazing thing is the Eagles got most of the production from two running backs who didn't have a carry this year until last week, when Sanders got hurt.

Boston Scott got a few carries in Vegas, but Jordan Howard hadn't even suited up before Sunday and technically remains on the practice squad.

But Scott ran 12 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns, and Howard was 12-for-57 with two touchdowns. Hurts added seven scrambles for 71 yards.

"The running backs did a hell of a job today," Dallas Goedert said. "It didn't matter if they were getting hit in the backfield, they were still falling forward for five (yards), so that was really cool. Great job for them. Being able to run the ball like that, we were able to get our play action, able to find some soft spots in the zone, get the linebackers to step up, because we were able to run the ball so well. 

 

The first six weeks of the season, running back runs accounted for 23 percent of the Eagles' offense.

Sunday, that figure was 60 percent.

"We went out there and had fun, we just did our jobs, that's what the NFL is," Scott said. "`Whenever the opportunity knocks, that's when you've got to step up and you've got to go out there and produce, and me and Jordan have been motivating each other during the time leading to this moment, and I think we did a good job out there. We're committed to helping the team, that's all we want to do."

Yes, the opponent was the winless -- and hapless -- Lions.

Still, it was encouraging to see Sirianni get away from his usual M.O. and do what made sense to beat this team down.

Running the ball means the Eagles -- last in the NFL in time of possession -- held the ball for 35 minutes. Running the ball means keeping the Lions' pass rushers off Hurts. Running the ball means moving the sticks, and the Eagles hammered out 19 rushing first downs, their most since the NFL began tracking rushing and passing first downs in 1999 and 5th-most by any team since 1999.

And the Eagles did all that without injured right guard Jack Driscoll. He was replaced early by Nate Herbig with no dropoff.

"It's always going to start up front," Sirianni said. 'I think Miles would've had a really big game today, I don't want to take anything away from Boston or Jordan because they played phenomenal games. But you know it started up front. I just think they got behind their pads and they went and finished the job when the offensive line got the push."

Scott and Howard have both played a lot of football. Scott had over 1,000 scrimmage yards in 2018 and 2019, and Howard was the 3rd-leading rusher in the NFL from 2016 through the middle of 2019.

They had seven combined carries this year before Sunday's game. 

But when their number was finally called, they were both ready in a big way.

"I just think it's patience, man, and really putting things into perspective," Scott said. 

"Every time you take a step on that field, it's a blessing. If you look at it in that positive light, it can definitely help your perspective. 

"If you think that you're entitled to this or entitled to that -- and we all battle with that type of thing, you're a competitor, you did this (in the past) -- but each year is a new year and you've got to earn it. You've got to prove it each year."

 

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