The Eagles left Buffalo on Sunday with a huge victory against a team that only had one loss prior to the game. The 31-13 score was no fluke at all, but it was a score that few expected because of the lack of consistency the team’s passing game has shown.
Behind the mess of dropped passes, anonymous sources, and Mack Hollins continuously looking lost at the line of scrimmage, lies the identity of this Eagles offense. The running game.
Winds were high, the rain was pouring, and the atmosphere was hostile. It was not an easy day at the office for the Eagles, and specificially, QB Carson Wentz. If they had any chance of winning this game, finding a way to creatively run the ball was absolutely neccesary.
Spearheaded by Duce Staley, the Eagles finally have the ground game they need. Jordan Howard brings the thunder while Miles Sanders flashes the lightning. Howard rushed 23 times yesterday for 96 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Howard looked like a wrecking ball at times, bulldozing his way through defenders and fighting for the extra yards.
Meanwhile, Miles Sanders looked explosive. We must credit Howard for the huge block on Sanders’ 65-yard touchdown, but don’t overlook the progress the rookie has made as a runner. Before that big run, Sanders had two carries for about 9 yards. On those two rushes, Miles found the holes quick and pushed his way forward for key gains in the first half. Let’s not forget the ability that he’s shown in the passing game. Sanders racked up 44 yards on 3 receptions with a huge 25 yard catch.
Before this game, Doug Pederson stated that he needed to trust the running game more instead of bailing early on, and it paid off. The Eagles rushed for 218 yards against a very stingy Bills defense who hadn’t allowed more than 21 points scored against all season until Sunday.
How good this running game is should come as no surprise to anyone. This offensive line thrives in the run game, Carson Wentz thrives when he has a strong run game behind him. It opens up the field for the Eagles QB with play action as long as he has the right weapons at his disposal (Hint for HOWIE).
In week 4 of this season against the Green Bay Packers, on the road, the team’s running game put up 176 yards on the ground to help lead the Birds to a stunning 34-27 win. That dominance looks to have returned.
The formula is there for Doug Pederson. He has the right ingredients for a salivating recipe in Howard and Sanders. If the Eagles don’t add a big deep threat before Tuesday’s trade deadline, the coaching staff is going to have to accept the fact that their identity lies within the running game, at least, for now.
Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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