Miles Sanders hadn’t even crossed the goal line on the tail end of his 82-yard touchdown run on Sunday afternoon before I started thinking it:
Now, THAT’S why you have to keep feeding Miles Sanders the rock.
Because you know what Sanders’ stat line looked like before he broke off the longest run of his NFL career?
He had 14 yards on seven carries.
It just so happens that Sanders’ eighth carry on the afternoon, late in the second quarter, went for the longest run from an Eagle since Brian Mitchell had an 85-yarder back in 2000. And that’s why Doug Pederson’s penchant for abandoning the run early drives so many of us crazy, especially with this running back.
Because Sanders this season already has three runs of 70+ yards. He has two 74-yarders and now this 82-yarder. He’s proving to be one of the biggest home run-threat running backs in the NFL. And the only way to hit home runs is to keep swinging.
Sanders finished the Eagles’ 24-21 win over the Saints with a total of 115 yards rushing (8.2 average) and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries, becoming the first Eagles’ player to go 100+ with 2 scores since Ryan Mathews in 2016.
In addition to Sanders’ big day on the ground, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts went for 106 yards on 18 carries and that includes the yards he lost on a few kneel downs at the end.
To put this performance into perspective, the Saints hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since November 2017. And the Eagles had TWO against them on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles’ 246 rushing yards are the most they’ve had in a game since 2014 in Dallas. And the 246 rushing yards surrendered by the Saints are the most they’ve allowed in a game since 2014. So this is something that hadn’t happened either way in six years.
On Sunday, the Eagles blocked well, but it also helped Sanders to have Hurts at quarterback. Just the mere threat of Hurts’ legs created opportunity for Sanders, including on that 82-yard run.
“Opened up a lot of stuff,” Sanders said. “From the first play to the last, they had to respect him and his legs and he’s been doing a great job just reading it. Reading the [defensive end]. Reading his keys to either pull it or take it. That was a regular inside zone.
“They’d been playing over the top the whole time, letting the linebackers hit certain gaps. But I think the frontside linebacker hit the wrong gap and I just took it out the front and Zach (Ertz) had a hell of a block, made one guy miss and to the house I go.”
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