Eagles rediscover their ground game to roll past Vikings in Week 2-ZoomTech News

PHILADELPHIA — Three drives into the Philadelphia Eagles’ dwelling opener, the followers have been booing — loudly. And the unusual half is the boos have been directed on the offense. They usually weren’t undeserved.

The Eagles offense has been sloppy to start out the season. Jalen Hurts, the $255 million quarterback, regarded out of sync. His throws have been astray. His safety was breaking down. It was all a giant, ugly mess.

So the Eagles determined to strive one thing completely different. They went again to doing what they do greatest.

“When you may get in a rhythm within the floor recreation,” mentioned Eagles heart Jason Kelce, “It will possibly actually get you rolling.”

That is precisely what occurred. The Eagles received rolling on offense with a monster, 16-play, 75-yard landing drive within the second quarter that included 13 runs for 63 yards. And it, in fact, ended with their patented, tush-push, quarterback sneak for Hurts to offer them a lead they’d by no means relinquish. They went on to hurry for 133 yards within the half and 259 within the recreation, together with a career-high 175 yards from D’Andre Swift, as they powered their solution to a 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

It was similar to outdated occasions, the best way they dominated the road of scrimmage and simply out-muscled the opposition. That is the best way Eagles GM Howie Roseman constructed this workforce. It was a giant a part of why they went to the Tremendous Bowl final yr.

“Whenever you’re capable of run the ball, it makes every little thing else simpler,” Kelce mentioned. “When you may grasp your hat on one factor, it makes the opposite issues simpler to do.”

That is actually one of many Eagles’ core philosophies, which is why their efficiency of their season opener appeared so weird. The Eagles received 25-20 in New England however solely ran for 97 yards and did not take a look at all just like the bodily imposing juggernaut they have been on offense final season. A few of that was on the coaches, who made Kenneth Gainwell (14 carries, 54 yards) their lead again and barely let Swift contact the ball.

Swift, who came visiting from Detroit in an offseason commerce for a fourth-round choose, was compelled into motion on Thursday evening with Gainwell out with injured ribs, and he shortly confirmed why ignoring him within the opener was a giant mistake. He was a drive your complete evening along with his stunning 28 carries. On that large drive that settled the Eagles offense down, he ran eight occasions for 38 yards.

“The O-line was working at the moment,” Swift mentioned. “They made it straightforward. I simply tried to take advantage of it.”

He received assist from Boston Scott (5 carries for 40 yards) earlier than he left with a concussion, and naturally from Hurts (12 carries, 35 yards and a pair of touchdowns). Even Rashaad Penny, who was a wholesome scratch for the opener, took some late-game snaps and carried thrice for 9 yards.

What that did was create some room for Hurts to function, and it clearly settled him down. He completed with workmanlike numbers: 18-of-23 passing for 193 yards and a landing, most coming after he shook off an early and ugly interception. As soon as the offense settled right into a groove, he appeared extra correct, even hitting DeVonta Smith with a lovely 63-yard landing go within the third quarter. These aren’t MVP-caliber numbers by any stretch, however Hurts regarded so a lot better as soon as the dashing recreation gave him room to breathe. And it began with that lengthy drive that clearly put the Vikings protection on its heels.

“Clearly these lengthy drives, they are a robust factor to do in follow,” mentioned Eagles guard Landon Dickerson. “So you have simply received to know once they’re not subbing defensive guys, they’re getting drained. It will possibly take a toll on folks.”

And that’s what the Eagles do once they’re enjoying at their greatest. They take a toll on opposing defenses by grinding them into submission. They weren’t the very best dashing workforce within the NFL final season, partly as a result of they’ve so many good weapons within the passing recreation that they love to make use of. However they did common 147.5 yards per recreation and 4.6 yards per carry. Once they actually wished to decide to the run, few groups might cease them from doing it.

That is what they did to the Vikings on Thursday evening. They did get loads of assist from the Vikings’ 4 turnovers, together with as soon as on the Eagles’ 1-yard line when Justin Jefferson fumbled out of the top zone with 34 seconds left within the first half. However the Eagles capitalized on the breaks by pounding away on the Vikings and breaking their will. They out-rushed them 259 yards to twenty-eight. They usually dominated the time of possession within the recreation, 39:28 to twenty:32.

On the very finish, when the Vikings had closed inside 27-21 with 7:41 remaining, the Eagles turned to the bottom once more and bullied their solution to victory. They ran seven occasions on an eight-play drive, all by Swift, for a complete of 63 yards. That included a 43-yard run that arrange Swift’s 2-yard landing that put Philly up 34-21 and principally put the sport out of attain.

“You at all times attempt to put your gamers in the very best place to succeed,” mentioned Eagles coach Nick Sirianni. “However you wish to do what you do nicely. We’re lucky we run the ball nicely.”

They appeared to overlook that of their opener, however they remembered it in opposition to the Vikings. They rediscovered the offensive method that labored so nicely for them final season and performed to their energy — their offensive line. They’ve at all times been the engine of the offense. It is the operating recreation that will get the Eagles rolling. 

And as they proved final season, and once more on Thursday evening, as soon as they’re rolling, they’re actually onerous to cease.

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