It’s been an interesting season for the Philadelphia Eagles, but a season that may have a happy ending if they can pull off a fourth straight win as they take on the New York Giants. There’s so much at stake for this team come Sunday. The NFC East is on the line but there’s another story brewing that has been kept in the shadows for more than half of the season.
While the Eagles have been losing bodies left and right, it hasn’t been the fallen veteran players that have impacted the team more but instead, it’s been the young players on the rise that have shifted the season for this team. It all started with one rookie who set the tone for all of the young players.
This rookie was an afterthought as he struggled to find his way in the running game. He fumbled twice against the Lions and it gave Eagles’ fans a flashback of Ryan Mathews. He was inconsistent in finding the right holes to hit on a weekly basis. The public complained of his non-stop jumping around in the backfield like LeSean McCoy once did.
It was all about finding his comfort. Miles Sanders exploded on to the scene for the Eagles but not as a running back, instead as a wide receiver. Sanders currently has more receiving yards than any Eagles receiver this season with 510 so far, the only two players ahead of him in receiving yards are the tight ends: Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Out of the 500+ yards, he has eight catches for 20+ yards, another category that he leads all the Eagles playmakers in.
After losing Jordan Howard in Week 9, the Eagles turned to Miles Sanders as the RB1 with very few contingencies in place. It was risky due to the rookies’ inconsistencies but it was exactly what the Eagles needed. Since week 9, Sanders is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has collected 472 rushing yards alone. He currently has 766 rushing yards for the year and is averaging an impressive 4.5 yards per carry for the season as well.
Now that I’ve introduced you to the kid in the Eagles backfield that’s making all the noise, how about I help you to believe why he deserves to be the offensive rookie of the year. First and foremost, let’s see who the competition may mostly be. Josh Jacobs and Kyler Murray are two of the top candidates for ROY.
Jacobs has been shut down for the rest of 2019 after his surgery and will finish the season with 1,150 rushing yards, 166 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns in 13 games while his team has a 7-8 record. If we’re talking total yards, then Jacobs currently has Sanders beat by 40 yards which is very possible for Sanders to exceed on Sunday against the Giants. Jacobs also has only one touchdown more than Miles which may also change this Sunday.
As for Kyler Murray, he’s having an impressive season statistically but he hasn’t done much in helping his team improve. While the rookie has put up 3,397 passing yards, 18 touchdowns with a 64% completion percentage; he also has 10 interceptions for the season so far while his team hasn’t shown much improvement either. The Cardinals are currently 5-9-1 which isn’t a big improvement from last year’s record of 3-13. These things take time, I know that but that isn’t my point.
My point is this, while the Eagles were labeled as done by the entire NFL, the players in that locker room believed. Carson Wentz put this team on his back with the help of Miles Sanders. Sanders could be tied with Jacobs for touchdowns right now but instead, he chose to slide for the first down to help his team seal the victory against a divisional rival.
Sanders has made the biggest impact out of the three as his team is one win away from being crowned the NFC East champs. He’s one win away from playing in the playoffs. It’s hard to ignore the fact that the Eagles might not be in the position they’re in if it wasn’t for the stellar job that Sanders has done rushing and receiving the ball. The thought of Sanders winning rookie of the year shouldn’t be as farfetched as the world has made it seem. It should define the very reason as to why this award exists.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports