There was something different about the Eagles on Sunday, besides the fact they won a game. It was the way they defeated the Giants by finally sticking with the run.
And Eagles fans weren’t the only ones who were grateful. So was the offensive line.
“It feels good to lean on (the defense) instead of set back and let them come into us,” Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said. “It felt good. I appreciate (Doug Pederson) for believing in us and sticking with the run.”
That hasn’t been the case for most of the season. Eagles running backs combined for 27 carries, a number only bested in two other games and not since Oct. 11.
Perhaps most surprising, at no point was the departure from Pederson’s pass-happy tendencies more obvious than the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz attempted just four passes compared to 10 handoffs during go-ahead and game-winning drives.
“It builds momentum,” Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said. “It helps wear the opponent down a little bit. It really just makes the game a lot easier on yourself.
“This is the first game I feel like we finally did what we’ve been talking about.”
Not quite the first game, but too often Pederson has been guilty of abandoning the run, often using the excuse the Eagles were trailing. Behind by as many as 16 points late in the second quarter, the offense easily could’ve fallen into that trap again.
Instead, Pederson never got away from the run, and the offensive line rewarded the coach, wearing down the Giants’ front.
“(Giants defenders) were subbing out,” Peters said. “Guys were laying on the ground. I just kept telling (the offensive line), ‘Keep pushing, keep pushing. We’ve got ‘em.’”
Pederson indicated he used the ground attack in part to keep an Eagles defense decimated by injuries on the sideline. But by the end of the game, it was because his offensive line was asking for it.
“Our guys really rose to the occasion,” Pederson said. “They were coming to me (saying), ‘Keep running, keep running, keep running. They wanted it on their backs.”
Though players appreciated the increase in runs, they were careful to defend Pederson’s play calling. However, running the ball also opens up other aspects of the passing game.
“Doug does his thing,” Peters said. “He comes in, he’s an aggressive guy. He likes to get (Wentz) going.
“When No. 11 is ballin’, we all ballin’, so it’s nothing about him calling passes or runs. We gotta get No. 11 going, which when we’re running the ball and doing what we did today, play actions, (naked rollouts), No. 11 gonna ball. We did well today by doing that.”
There’s no question the approach worked Sunday. The question is, will Pederson revert to his old ways?
And with the Eagles’ record now 5-6, does it even matter?
“It was our most balanced attack this year and you were slowly seeing those guys wear down inside,” Johnson said. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time. Week 10, Week 11, here we are. Little bit late.”
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Source : https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/change-eagles-finally-stuck-run-and-shockingly-it-worked