Eagles Takeaways: Philadelphia Leans on RB’s, Goedert, Defense in Win
The Eagles needed to get back in the win column before things got really ugly in the Delaware Valley, and they did so for the first time since beating the Carolina Panthers with a decisive 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
After looking unprepared with poor game-plans the last few weeks, the Eagles were very efficient on both sides of the ball against the Lions to get to 3-5 this season.
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Let’s take a closer look at what went right for Philadelphia in Week 8.
The Running Game Shines
The Eagles desperately needed a win to keep any hopes of a playoff berth alive.
Well, they got that win, and that was because they fed their two running backs on offense.
With Miles Sanders out, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard getting the call, the Eagles run game took off. What has been concerning for most of the season was that Philadelphia has leaned too heavily on the passing game while not getting the running backs involved enough.
In seven games this season, Sanders has just 63 carries and 300 yards and no touchdowns, but he wasn't bothers by the amount of work his replacements received on Sunday.
"Actually he texted me, ‘HELL YEA, Coach,’ with all caps," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said on Monday. Miles was obviously super excited for his teammates. Miles is a great teammate. He's a great person, a great teammate, great player. Sure glad we have him on the team. Obviously, we're missing him right now and looking forward to when he gets back. That was his – in all caps, H-E-L-L, space, Y-E-A. So that was his – with an exclamation point after that."
His replacements on Sunday, the duo of Scott and Howard, combined for 24 carries and 117 yards and four touchdowns
"We felt good about practice with Boston," Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said on Monday. "That's why we started with him, just the week of practice that led up into it."
"Obviously we know how important Jordan was to the win yesterday and that we need him on this football team," Sirianni continued.
Goedert Gets Involved
With Zach Ertz now in Arizona, tight end Dallas Goedert is starting to show what he can do alone in the offense, leading the Eagles in both targets and receiving for the second consecutive week.
"I think he's played two great games in a row as the guy, the main guy. No surprise to me," Sirianni stated.
The past two weeks the 2018 second-round pick has nine catches for 142 yards in 12 targets. The previous six weeks, Goedert had just 19 targets, catching 15 balls for 216 yards.
"We were really comfortable that Dallas was ready for this role, to be the guy," explained Sirianni. "He's excelled in it. He’s blocked really hard, blocked really well. He's had 70 yards, I believe, in the last two games. He's had explosive play after explosive play."
"That's why we kind of moved in the direction we moved in, and happy that Dallas is playing and look forward to him continuing to be one of the main contributors to this offense in the passing game and in the running game," Sirianni continued.
Defense Steps Up
The Eagles’ defense did something Sunday it has struggled to do all season in their losses, get to the quarterback.
The defense has given up 32.5 points per game in their five losses, however in their three wins, they have given up just 10 points per game.
The Eagles defense harassed Lions QB Jared Goff, the 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick, throughout much of the game. The Eagles defense came to play, holding Goff to just 222 yards, sacking him six times, adding 12 QB hits.
Two players who stood out, defensive end Josh Sweat, who had four tackles, two quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and two tackles for loss. Rookie Milton Williams also had a big game, with four tackles, a sacks, two tackles for loss and a QB hit, earning a game ball for his effort.
"Milton Williams was "the" guy on defense that got a game ball," Sirianni said. "So, just wanted to throw that out there. Really excited about the way he played and pleased with the way he played."
In addition to the pass rush, the Eagles played a sound game defensively against a lesser opponent. Philadelphia limited the Lions to just 57 yards on the ground and 22 yards in the air, 89 of which went to tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Overall, the Lions had 228 total yards on offense.
If they can continue to play the way they did on the defensive side of the ball moving forward, coupled with effectively running the ball, with one of the easiest schedules in the league the rest of the way, the Eagles can remain competitive for the No. 7 spot in the NFC playoffs.
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