December is almost upon us. That means snow, a countdown to Christmas, gingerbread lattes and of course, December Football. As temperatures drop, conditions toughen and the stakes rise, teams throughout the league will typically lean on their running backs a little more than usual. A recent surge in production and carries from Josh Adams have given the Eagles plenty of offensive hope in a time they need it most.
Balancing the offense has long been a problem for this Eagles team. The rushing attack has been sporadic at best (ranking 24th in the league) and a backfield that’s been riddled with injuries has been unable to step up to the mark, for the most part.
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.
“We had a lot of success.” Said offensive coordinator, Mike Groh. “The offensive line did an outstanding job throughout the course of the game. [RB] Josh [Adams] really found a rhythm and did an excellent job of reading his keys and even making people miss and getting more out of what might have been there. He had a really fine day.”
“He’s just been coming on and making really good progress each and every week and I think earning everybody’s trust with the way he’s handled everything that he’s been asked to do.” Grow continued when asked about Adams. “We’ve gotten a lot of production out of him when he’s been in there. He’s done a good job.”
As he also mentioned, the offensive line showed signs of life after a really inconsistent start to the year that was plagued by lingering injuries and disappointing penalties. If the Eagles have any success of sustaining this level of production from their backfield, it all falls on the guys up front to set the tone.
“We’ve talked about all season long our ability to be balanced is important.” Groh explained on Tuesday. “The offensive line just did a really good job. We had a really good game plan that was in place, and then Josh [Adams], like we talked about, and [RBs] Corey [Clement] and Wendell [Smallwood], the three of those guys combined, they all did a really good job when they had the opportunity and the ball in their hand. We were able to possess the ball and keep their offense off the field.”
The Eagles face a tough run of games starting on Monday Night at home against a tenacious Washington run defense that’s ranked 8th in the league. After that, it’s the fourth-ranked run defense of Dallas and the seventh-ranked Texans. It’s going to be tough to run the ball as easily as they did on Sunday in any of these fixtures and if they are to find a balance, it’s going to take persistence and execution.
“You try to control the line of scrimmage every week. I mean, it definitely does start up front, O-line and D-line.” The Eagles Head Coach said following the victory. “That’s where every game – probably every coach says the same thing each week…
…and then offensively just continuing to put a lot on the offensive line and let them kind of control the line of scrimmage. They did a really good job of that throughout the entire game.”
The offensive front finally found a rhythm on Sunday and it’s about time. Even if it did involve a 57-yard touchdown run being called back, the unit were decimating the line of scrimmage which opened up the alleys for Josh Adams to storm through. With an increased emphasis on the run and the coaching staff all getting behind their new lead running back, there’s no better time for the Eagles to go all-in on taking the weight off the shoulders of Carson Wentz, limiting turnovers and pushing the team into what could be a surprise playoff run.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports