Miles Sanders has been nothing short of a season changer for the Eagles.
What started as a slow rookie campaign dominated by questions regarding his ability to read gaps, stuttering too much before committing to a hole, and ultimately not being used much in weeks 6-8, took a very pleasant turn.
Stepping up when the team was desperate
Since week 11, when the Eagles lost to Seattle at home, Miles Sanders started a stretch with consistency and versatility.
On 92 carries, Sanders averaged 4.83 yards per carry, and was even more lethal in the passing game: 29 receptions, 6.8 yards pr reception. All of that with 4 touchdowns.
The step-up couldn’t have come at a better time. Howard was injured, the receiving core was going through a shift from hurt veterans in Agholor, Alshon, and Hollins to Ward, Perkins, and Davis, and the team was missing an offensive identity.
During the 4 game run winning run to finish the season, you can argue Sanders was the most important offensive weapon next to Wentz and Ertz.
Making history with a former teammate
The versatility Sanders has shown in his rookie season is pretty remarkable. In fact, it’s quite historic:
Since 1965, only 2 players have rushed for 800+ yards, caught 500+ yards, while rushing for 4.5 yards prt carry or more, indicating a certain level of consistency, minimizing players who simply get a ton of carries but don’t get too many yards.
The two players to do it? Former Penn State teammates, now divisional rivals Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders.
Rookie production is in elite company
Digging deeper in similar productions to Sanders, we find some really good players. Miles has 1,300 scrimmage yards this season, and his consistency in production is evident with 4.5 yards per carry and around 10 yards per reception.
Other players to have done that since 1987 include Alvin Kamara, Clinton Portis, Barry Sanders, Ezekiel Elliot, and fellow Eagles Jordan Howard:
Preparing for an epic finish
Unlike Barkley, Sanders will have a chance to prove himself in the playoffs in his rookie season.
Although injured in the season finale against the Giants, all reports are that Sanders should be fine, and that the MRI showed a mild low ankle sprain.
Sanders should be ready to roll against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports