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Punishing Running Game Helps Eagles Thwart Chargers

punishing running game Keith Allison via Flickr

NFL

Birds Use Punishing Running Game To Defeat Bolts In Los Angeles

The Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) have snapped another dreaded losing streak this regular season. Philadelphia was on a three-game losing streak against AFC teams before their hard-earned 26-24 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) on Sunday afternoon. This victory could not have been possible without their punishing running game.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has been criticized by fans, and the media, this season for not utilizing the talent the Birds possess at the running back position. It seems like Pederson has been listening and even he cannot deny that it made his job less stressful against the Bolts.

Blount Proves He Can Help Eagles Offense Achieve New Heights

Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount carried the ball 16 times, and the reward was colossal for Philadelphia. His 68-yard run in the fourth quarter showed the Eagles that he is a valuable asset when given the opportunity. His hard run helped spark an Eagles scoring drive that was capped off by a Wendell Smallwood 3-yard touchdown run. That touchdown put the Birds up by 9 with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter. No doubt that other Eagles running backs like Corey Clement deserve some credit, but it was Blount who led the Eagles’ punishing running game against Los Angeles.

The Eagles Owned The Chargers In Possession Time

According to NFLGSIS, Philly currently has the highest average of possession time in the league. Their offense averages 35:29 minutes of possession time a game. They have a total of 281 offensive snaps, which ranks them in second place when compared to the other 31 NFL teams. The Eagles had the ball for 39:18 minutes, while the Chargers only had it for 20:42 minutes. The Bolts (400) almost matched the Eagles (454) in total offensive yards, but what proved to be key for Philly in their victory was keeping the ball away from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and his offense. It let the Eagles injury-riddled defense get extra rest compared to the Chargers defense.

Zach Ertz Is Carson Wentz’s New Best Friend

Birds tight end Zach Ertz is projected to finish with 100 receptions for the first time in his NFL career. He has been Wentz’s safety blanket this season. Sunday afternoon was no different. Wentz continues to go to him whenever he needs a big play. Ertz has elevated his game and has given his quarterback a reliable target. Ertz’s emergence could prove to be vital to the Eagles offense. He can help his fellow teammates on offense by having defenses mainly focus on him in games. Crazy, right?

Kicker Jake Elliott Is On Fire

Someone call Caleb Sturgis and let him know there’s a new sheriff in town. Elliott kicked four field goals (45, 40, 53, and 47 yards) against the Chargers. His confidence is at an all-time high, and the Eagles are reaping the benefits. It would be a huge mistake for Philly to get rid of him after back-to-back crucial performances. The rookie has a hot leg and deserves to continue kicking field goals for the team until further notice.

Final Thoughts On The Game

There’s no doubt that the Eagles winning this game is the most important thing. The punishing running game is one of the biggest reasons for a Philly victory. However, that does not mean the team played a perfect match. The defense, especially the secondary, struggled against big plays. Two Chargers wide receivers, Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams, both finished with 100+ receiving yards. The Eagles defense has to learn how to defend the big play as a unit because opposing teams will eventually catch on to their weakness.

Quarterback Carson Wentz continues to impress and has played mistake-free football for the second week in a row. The Eagles have to be careful with Wentz and some of the hits he absorbs during games.  His video-game moves are entertaining and all, but he is still a quarterback. Wentz is arguably the most important player on the team. Protecting him should be Philly’s biggest concern moving forward.

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