The Eagles beat up the Jaguars with an amazing run game that featured just about every concept and scheme you could imagine.
In each of their first three games of the 2022 season, the Philadelphia Eagles threw the ball at least 20 times in the first half. That worked well for them, as the Eagles came into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 3-0 record.
But the Jaguars shot out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and given the fact that Jacksonville came into this game with the league’s most formidable run defense, you’d expect head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to direct quarterback Jalen Hurts to throw it all over the yard.
This, they did not do. They did the exact opposite thing on their way to a 29-21 comeback win. Philadelphia ran the ball 50 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns in a performance that defined old-school for an offense that can be as new-age as you’d like.
The last time an NFL team ran the ball more than 50 times in a game in which they trailed at any point, it was the Kansas City Chiefs on October 7, 2012 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Chiefs went down 3-0, they never had a deficit of more than six points, and their quarterbacks were Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. When that’s your situation, and Jamaal Charles is your primary running back, you’re going all-out even if you lose, 9-6.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are leading with a third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has shown exponential progress as a passer, so there’s no need to hide your quarterback. This was more about Hurricane Ian blowing up the East Coast, turning the game into a rainy slogfest. And the Eagles are quite happy to slog you right through the mud.
The star was running back Miles Sanders, who set career highs in carries (27) and rushing yards (134), and tying his career high with two rushing touchdowns.
“We’ll do whatever we need to do to win the football game,” Sirianni said after. “Of course, conditions are going to play into that. We look at everything. We take everything into account. We were running the ball really well. That second quarter, our offensive line was rolling. And that’s a good defensive line. I’ve known that going back to my Indy days that that’s a really good defensive line.”
Of course, nothing was going to happen without the front five, and Sirianni was eager to point that out.
“Our offensive line, I’ll take them over anybody in this league. I love that group. They are gritty. They are grimy. They are tough. They are physical. And we had to play some guys today. You can see how good of a job that Coach Stout [Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland] does of developing guys and getting guys ready to play that might not play.”
The Eagles also did all of this with two of their offensive linemen (left tackle Jordan Mailata with a shoulder injury, and right guard Isaac Seumalo to an ankle injury) leaving during the game
“[T/G] Jack Driscoll, [G] Sua [Opeta], those guys stepped in and did a really nice job,” Sirianni concluded. “I told you guys this: nine sacks, you get a game ball for the defensive line. 200 yards rushing, you get a game ball for the offensive line. If I had eight game balls, I would have thrown them out right there, but [Vice President of Equipment Operations] Greg [Delimitros] didn’t have them ready for me quite yet.”
Mr. Delimitros might want to get all eight game balls ready, because this offensive line performance, from coaching to scheme to execution, was about as good as it gets — against a run defense that was about as good as it got until it ran headlong into this.