LANDOVER, Md. — Miles Sanders made the leap from promising rookie to budding star Sunday with a monster game in the Eagles’ 37-27 win over the Redskins.
Sanders ran for 122 yards, including a huge 56-yard run to set up a fourth-quarter touchdown, and caught 6 passes for 50 yards, with a tumbling third-quarter TD catch on a miracle throw from Carson Wentz.
This was the kind of performance that made Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy superstars in this town.
It was that good.
With all we ask of him really all season but especially since Jordan (Howard) went down, it’s a lot,” Carson Wentz said. “He’s got a lot on his plate, especially as a rookie. He’s picking up blitz protections, he’s running the ball, he’s catching screens, he’s routing people up out of the backfield, and he does it all so well. Game in and game out. He’s a big-play machine. He’s getting it done for us, and I’m so proud of him.
Sanders netted 172 yards from scrimmage, fifth-most in Eagles history by a rookie. He ran 19 times for 122 yards — the Eagles’ first 100-yard performance in their last 45 games — and caught 6 passes for 50 yards.
He was incredible.
Big play after big play.
With Howard, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor all out for the season or indefinitely, there just aren’t many weapons on this team.
On Sunday, Sanders was unstoppable.
I’m going to go out there and do my job regardless, but when you have guys banged up like that and the type of season I’m having?” Sanders said. “Lock in and put the game on my shoulders and let’s go ball out.
Along the way, Sanders:
• Broke McCoy’s franchise rookie rushing record. McCoy had 637 yards as a rookie in 2009. Sanders increased his season total to 687 with two games left.
• Broke Jackson’s franchise rookie scrimmage yards record. Jackson had 1,008 as a rookie in 2008. Sanders increased his season total to 1,120.
• Had the most scrimmage yards in a game by an Eagle in more than five years, since Jeremy Maclin had 187 at Arizona in 2014. He had the most yards by a running back since Darren Sproles had 178 against the Colts earlier in 2014.
• Became only the eighth running back in Eagles history with 100 yards rushing and 50 receiving in the same game.
Miles has been balling all season, man,” Brandon Brooks said. “Since the season went on, it’s kind of slowed down for him, he’s getting more comfortable, making more plays. You’re seeing that home run speed. The one guy Miles reminds me of because he’s able to do both and has vision is Arian Foster. When Arian was at his peak there was nothing he couldn’t do. Receiving out of the backfield, making guys miss, taking the ball a long way, ran the zone back there one-cut downhill. He reminds me of him a lot.
Foster was Brooks’ teammate in Houston, a four-time Pro Bowler, an NFL rushing leader, a first-team all-pro.
Sanders has a way to go to match that kind of resume, but nobody in Eagles history has done what Sanders has done in his first 13 games.
“It’s a blessing, man,” Sanders said. “This stuff don’t feel real. But I don’t want to make this about me. It’s great to be mentioned in the same conversation as those guys, but I just wanted to get the W. We know what was at stake, we know what’s in front of us, we just wanted to get the W today.”
Sanders is leading an Eagles youth movement that’s seen first-year players Sanders, Greg Ward and Boston Scott net 529 yards from scrimmage the last two weeks.
“There’s a lot of confidence,” Sanders said. “We’ve got a lot of our old guys banged up, so a lot of young guys stepped up. I just love how Carson, he just trusts us. He has so much confidence in us, and we just go out and make plays for him.”
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