The Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) fly into Los Angeles to take on the Chargers (0-3) on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. The run game is going to have to be something that the Eagles carried with them from their home opener last week against the rival New York Giants.
The Eagles attempted 39 run plays (including six by quarterback Carson Wentz) and totaled 193 yards and two touchdowns. The run game played a crucial role in why the Eagles were able to defeat the Giants last week. On a day where the passing game couldn’t get going, the team was forced to rely upon the ground game to move the offense up and down the field.
The Birds’ opponent this week is the Los Angeles Chargers, a team that boasts one of the NFL’s top pass rushing duos in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Ingram is coming into this game with 5.5 sacks, good for second in the NFL going into week four. Bosa totaled 2.5 sacks through the first three weeks of the season.
The Eagles are going to need to come in with a game plan centered around neutralizing the Chargers’ pass rush. Pounding the ball with your running backs is one thing that will go a long way towards neutralizing the most dangerous piece of that Los Angeles defense. What better way to tire out a defense than to feed the football to your workhorse running back LeGarrette Blount.
The Chargers also are one of the worst defenses against the run so far this season. The Chargers currently rank second worst in the NFL at 146.7 rushing yards allowed per game. Running the ball should be something that fans see the Eagles do early and often on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles’ defense is also banged up, so the longer that the Eagles have the football, the less time that Chargers’ veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers has to try to pick apart a weakened secondary.
Utilizing the ground game this week is crucial to the Eagles winning this game. Running the ball takes away the Chargers’ pass rush, and it matches up well with the overall inability of the Chargers’ defense to stop the run.
Head coach Doug Pederson needs to continue what he did last week and center the game plan around pounding the football in the run game. Coming out of the team’s first west coast trip of the year with a win would be a much needed confidence boost for Pederson. If the Eagles utilize their run game this weekend, they have a good chance at winning the game and moving to 3-1 on this young season.
Mandatory photo credit: Yong Kim/philly.com staff photographer