Boy that was a fun Sunday huh? The Eagles ran over the Detroit Lions 44-6 in a game that saw them run the football, and run it to perfection.
236 yards on 46 rushes (!!) culminated in one of the most dominant victories we have seen in quite some time. A sight for sore eyes of a 3-5 ballclub. As good as that win was though, the frustration level shouldn’t go away when it comes to the outlook of the team. In fact, it should only enhance that the fans have the right idea:
Run. The. Ball.
It’s been well reported that Jeffrey Lurie wants to win by throwing the football. The last time the Eagles went to the playoffs (2019), Lurie was upset that the Eagles won in Lambeau Field, against Aaron Rodgers, by running the football. It’s very odd for an owner to be outspoken about the xi a team wins a football game. It’s even odder when you look at the team’s history surrounding the running game.
Lurie can complain all he wants how he wants to win because of passing, but in reality, the most successful Eagles teams in history have been built and won through a powerful rushing attack.
The most obvious example of how important running the football has been to this franchise came in 2017.
The Super Bowl Champs were third in the NFL in rushing behind a committee approach. We talk about the importance Wentz and Foles were to that team, but in reality, the Eagles went 13-3 behind a dominant offensive line and a rushing attack that was overwhelming opponents.
I’m not saying the Eagles need to invest in the RB solely, but I am saying it’s important to invest in running the football.
It goes even further back though this past decade. The Eagles won the division in 2013 behind LeSean McCoy leading the league in rushing.
The 2010 team? 5th in the NFL in rushing.
The 2019 team? 11th.
The Eagles won the division four times this last decade and each time, they were in the upper echelon of teams that ran the football. It’s not a coincidence.
Andy Reid may have been a pass happy HC, but that doesn’t mean the most successful years under his tenure had poor rushing teams.
The 2003 Eagles were ninth in the NFL in rushing behind the Buckhalter, Westbrook, Staley triple threat. The team was seventh in 2002. Even in 2004, when the Eagles didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher, they had over 120 yards rushing in both playoff games! In 2006, Brian Westbrook was the catalyst to the Eagles winning the NFC East and winning a playoff game against the Giants.
We tend to associate the Andy Reid teams with pass-happy teams and an aggressive defense, but in reality, the most successful years in Philadelphia have been centered around successful rushing attacks.
The late ’70’s
In the early 1970’s the Eagles were a really bad organization.
Then came Dick Vermeil.
The Eagles became a ground and pound offense behind the likes of Wilbert Montgomery, and then poof, the team ended up winning multiple playoff games and even got to a Super Bowl in 1980. Montgomery was 4th in the league in rushing in 1979.
In 1980 Montgomery was hurt for most of the year. But in the team’s first conference championship he rushed for 194 yards against Dallas. The team ran for over 200 yards total in that game also.
When the Eagles needed wins, they ran the ball, and ran it to great success.
Jeffrey Lurie has talked a ton about winning by passing the ball but there is far more evidence that shows a highly successful rushing attack has been the key to the Eagles success throughout their franchises history.
Even the Andy Reid years show how important it was to run the ball. The Eagles have had great running backs throughout their team’s history.
It’s no mistake that their success has led to victories for Philly. It may not be what Lurie wants, or what looks pretty, but style points don’t matter in the NFL.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire