The Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) defeated their division rival, the New York Giants (0-3), 27-24 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The win came a week after the Eagles lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, and many questions about head coach Doug Pederson’s play calling were brought up by fans and players alike.
Specifically, questions about the run game, or rather the lack of it, popped up after the Eagles abandoned the run game in the second half of last week’s game. The play calling needed to be more balanced, as shown by the 17 run plays and 41 pass attempts that the Eagles ran in their week two loss to the Chiefs.
Free agent acquisition LeGarrette Blount failed to receive a carry, his one carry was called back to an offensive holding penalty, in the loss. When reporters asked him what he thought after the game, he gave an interesting response.
“It’s the way the game went,” Blount said, via CSNPhilly’s Dave Zangaro. “I can’t argue with how the game is going, the flow of the game. You just have to ride the wave and whenever your number is called, it’s called.”
Darren Sproles was the main running back being used in the loss to the Chiefs, totaling 48 yards on ten carries. The run game was successful, until Pederson abandoned it in the second half of an extremely close game. Blount, who was brought in to be used in short-yardage situations, found himself left out of the running back rotation.
“You gotta ask Doug,” Blount said, via CSNPhilly’s Dave Zangaro. “I don’t know things are going to go next week. I can’t really predict the future. That’s something for him to answer.”
Fast forward to the Eagles 27-24 win over the New York Giants and fans saw a much more balanced game plan from the Birds. 33 run plays and 31 pass attempts, something that the Philadelphia faithful have wanted to see all season. When they finally got it, it became a massive part of why the Eagles were able to get their second win of the season.
One change that the Eagles made occurred along the offensive line. Chance Warmack began the game at left guard, but after missing a few blocks in the first drive of the game, was benched in place of Stefen Wisniewski. Once Wisniewski came in, the offensive line got rolling and everyone knows what happened after that.
Wendell Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount were tied for the team lead in carries with 12. Smallwood finished with 71 yards, Blount with 67 yards and a touchdown. Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement also got in on the action with 22 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Darren Sproles, the leader of last week’s running back rotation, found himself with three carries for 11 yards before getting hurt and having to leave the game.
The passing game never really got going against a very tough Giants secondary, but the ground game, and more importantly, the head coach sticking to that ground game proved to be the fuel that kept the Eagles offense rolling.
Blount received 12 carries and showed why he should be a big piece to the offense every week. He scored a touchdown on a goal line play, something that he excels at doing. He also endeared himself to the Philadelphia fans by running over a couple of Giants defenders on a run in the first quarter. Hopefully, the Eagles continue to use Blount in a similar manner throughout the season.
In a side note, Darren Sproles was diagnosed with both a torn ACL and a broken arm. As a result, he will presumably miss the rest of the season. How this will affect the Eagles’ fluid running back rotation is unknown.
Mandatory photo credit: Drew Hallowell/www.philadelphiaeagles.com