After being given the reins to Eagles backfield, teammates are rallying around Josh Adams

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It’s been a long November month for the Philadelphia Eagles, but it ended in the best way possible. Not only did the Birds come back from a 19-3 deficit to defeat the hated Giants, but they saved the season in the process. It took a team effort to fight their way back from the brink of collapse, but there’s one player in particular who deserves some recognition.

The Eagles rushing attack has been underwhelming all year long. Injuries have left the backfield without much in the way of reliability, but as Smallwood and Clement continued to squander their plentiful opportunities, one undrafted free agent waited patiently on the sidelines.

Notre Dame’s Josh Adams was finally granted an opportunity against the Panthers and since then, has done nothing but hit home runs every time he’s on the field. Against the Jags in London, Adams took over the backfield breaking off the first 20+ yard run in what would be a streak spanning 3 games. Adams was rapidly becoming the Eagles’ most efficient back in terms of yards per carry and explosive plays, something neither Clement or Smallwood had much success with all year.

While the loss to New Orleans lacked many positive takeaways, Adams scoring his first NFL touchdown was certainly one of them. The Giants 21st-ranked run defense lay on the horizon and given that the Saints did all they could to take away the run and force Carson Wentz to carry the team, one could only imagine what Houston or L.A. would do with that same mentality. It was imperative that Adams stepped up and the Eagles, regardless of the score, continued to balance the offense, if they were to have any mystique coming into the closing stretch.

It worked like a charm.

Carson Wentz threw 28 times while the backfield compiled 29 rushing attempts. Josh Adams was responsible for 22 of those, totaling 84 yards and his second NFL touchdown. He would’ve had a 57-yard score on top of that too if not for a holding penalty. Needless to say that Adams not only inspired the fans, but those around him.

“That was big.” Franchise quarterback Carson Wentz said excitedly after the game. “He was big for us. Josh did a great job. He’s done a great job in everything we’ve asked him to do this year. Today he got the workload [and] he did a great job. He took it and ran with it. At the same time, the offensive line did a great job to lean on them. They made some nice holes and then Josh finished the runs really well and we got it done.”

“He’s fast, man.” Right tackle Lane Johnson pointed out. “He’s really quick, he’s getting his knee healthy. He goes about his business, really smart and doesn’t say a whole lot. [He’s] one of those guys that’s just a silent killer. As the season has gone on he keeps improving and improving and I’m really proud of what he did today.”

It’s been a bumpy road for Adams, who struggled during the offseason with injuries that limited his time on the field. In a backfield so competitive, that was always going to be a detriment to his ability. But the Eagles saw enough out of the back who amassed 7 runs of over 79 yards during his career with the ‘Fightin’ Irish’.

With the Giants having to account for the run, it opened the floodgates over the middle for another productive afternoon from Zach Ertz, who became just the fourth TE in NFL history to record 400+ receptions in their first six NFL seasons. Ertz broke his career record for single-season receptions on Sunday, as well as setting a new career-high 895 receiving yards. But even after his 91 yard outing, he still had plenty of kind words for Adams.

“I thought [RB] Josh [Adams] played really, really, really well.” The Stanford product said. “I don’t know if anyone expected that out of him. But it was definitely something that we needed. It really sparked the run game. I thought [G] Brandon Brooks and [T] Lane Johnson were really rolling guys off the ball like they always do. I’m not going to not give support to my guy so I’m definitely going to agree with whatever he says.”

After a season of uncertainty, the Eagles may have finally found their feature back…which is just as well. There’s December Football right around the corner which means plenty of carries and thudding hits that are just as sharp as the bitter conditions the players will be trying to fight for a playoff berth in. With his teammates all standing firmly behind him, encouraging Doug Pederson to run the ball more, the Birds may have found the answer to their backfield problems after all.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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