Jordan Howard on Bills: 'They really didn't want to tackle us'

Jordan Howard on Bills: 'They really didn't want to tackle us'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The more they did it, the better it worked.

So they just kept doing it.

The Eagles haven’t been a great running team this year. At times pretty good. Other times pretty bad.

“Splotchy,” is how Lane Johnson put it. “There’ve been times where we’re hitting it and times we haven’t.”

On Sunday, on a cold, windy, blustery day that made passing the ball difficult, Doug Pederson leaned heavily on the running game, and the line and the backs responded in a huge way.

The Eagles ran early and often in their 31-13 win at New Era Stadium, pounding the Bills for 218 yards, the most ever under Pederson and their most since they had 256 yards against the Cowboys back in 2014.

Whenever we kind of start half-assed we can’t kind of do what we want on offense,” Johnson said. “Those are situations you don’t want to be in. … We knew we wanted to run it today. Miles started it all with that big gash and momentum got going. Conditions weren’t ideal for throwing it, but we stuck to it and we went gash for gash. Better day than we had in a long time.

In the second half, the Eagles ran 26 times and threw seven times and controlled the clock for 18 1/2 minutes.

That's unheard of around here.

“We were able to wear the defense down,” Jordan Howard said. “You could tell at the end of the game they really didn’t want to tackle us.”

Howard ran 23 times for 96 yards, Miles Sanders added a 65-yard TD and 74 rushing yards on just three carries before leaving with a shoulder injury that he said isn’t serious, and Carson Wentz scrambled for 35 yards, his most since a game against the Redskins two years ago.

This was only the second game this year the Eagles have run for 130 yards. The other one was the win in Green Bay.

Similar games. Tough opponent. Road game. And the running game was there in a big way.

Kept grinding, man,” Sanders said. “We come to work every day and get better. Be patient with it. It’s a long season so eventually, it’s going to start working for us. We leaned on the running game today. We had high winds and tough weather so we knew it was going to be a run-the-ball type of game.

So often this year, the Eagles have fallen behind early, and Pederson has had to scrap his gameplan.

That didn't happen Sunday, and it allowed Pederson and the offense to really dictate to the Bills instead of the other way around.

“We feel like we can do that vs. anybody,” Brandon Brooks said. “The key was that guys executed across the board. we weren’t shooting ourselves in the foot, and we started off a little bit faster than we usually do.”

The Bills came in 5-1 and were allowing just 91 rushing yards per game.

The Eagles ran OK early — 15-for-62 before halftime. In the second half, they ran 26 times for 156 yards.

It all came together on a massive drive to open the fourth quarter. With the Eagles up 24-13, they drove 83 yards in 14 plays, with 11 runs and just three passes.

“It’s great because we knew we had them at that point,” Howard said. “They couldn’t get us off the field.”

Wentz had a couple of third-down scramble conversions on that drive, and Howard capped it with his seventh touchdown in eight games.

That’s the type of drive we want to have and seal the deal,” Wentz said. “The big guys up front that we have, that’s one of their biggest strengths, establishing the line of scrimmage. And I think everything else that we do from the play actions, from the bootlegs, the nakeds, all of that stems from those guys controlling the line of scrimmage. So to be able to come in here and control it the way we did was huge for us.

It’s been a while since the Eagles ran the ball like this.

Last time they ran for this many yards their tailback was LeSean McCoy.

You could just see yard by yard, chunk by chunk,” Johnson said. “That’s more demoralizing than a big play because they know it’s coming and they still can’t stop it.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson is officially in offseason mode, and he kicked off Pro Bowl week - which he's now officially part of - by showing up on former teammate Chris Long's podcast and shooting the breeze for an hour.

The duo bantered about plenty, from dealing with failure and ego as football players, to Johnson's time as a grave digger. About halfway through, Johnson offered up a seldom-heard explanation for his hairstyle, or lackthereof.

Johnson, of course, famously keeps his hair short (read: nonexistent) on top, and keeps his beard long. He explained to Long that it took some serious self-reflection, and a couple rough games early in his rookie season, to officially start shaving his head:

I was in college, it was my senior year, and my friend goes, 'Bro, are you f***ing losing your hair?' I said, what are you talking about? Then I went to the mirror, and I'd clearly been in denial for some time. I said, 'Bro, this s*** is terrible.' 

So I played with it my senior year, it was bad. I'd comb it over, wear my hats, feather it out in the back, try to look cool. Then I got to the Eagles, and after getting bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney and giving up three sacks to Justin Houston, I just shaved that s*** off. I've been a different man ever since.

The Eagles, you might remember, lost in Week 2 that year to Freeney's Chargers, and then lost in Week 3 to Houston's Chiefs, to fall to 1-3. They went 9-3 the rest of the way, a startling and fun turnaround. I'm not saying it's all thanks to Johnson shaving his head... but maybe?

That's about as good a reason as I can think of to make a hairstyle change. Johnson has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL since he started shaving his head, so maybe he's on to something. He spends very little time focusing on his hair, and plenty of time focusing on his game.

When you go back and look at Johnson with hair, it's... extremely jarring:

Johnson is basically unrecognizable in that video. He looks like a child! Thank goodness for Freeney and Houston shellacking Johnson as a rookie, or he might still be clinging to that brutal hairdo.

Maybe Johnson should've floated this idea to the Eagles' coaching staff years ago. Who knows what a haircut could've done for Nelson Agholor?

You can listen to, and watch, the full conversation between Johnson and Long below:

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