Early in the 2021 campaign, Philadelphia Eagles fans could be heard sarcastically cheering when coach Nick Sirianni finally called a run play. Now Philly has evolved into a ground-and-pound squad.
Sunday's 30-13 road win over Denver marked the third consecutive game with 175-plus rushing yards for the Eagles (the fourth time Philly has rushed for 175-plus yards in three consecutive games in the Super Bowl era.)
It's not just that the Eagles are running the ball that has helped the offense find its groove. During the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles went over the 100-yard rushing mark three times, but much of that came from Jalen Hurts' penchant for keeping the ball. Now Philly is leading on handoffs to churn out chunk gains.
Jordan Howard has been a revelation, pounding the rock between the tackles. And Boston Scott can run inside or outside, giving the Eagles offense diversity. The duo combined for 164 rushing yards on 23 carries Sunday, a 7.13 average per tote.
The Eagles are averaging 208.7 rushing yards over the past three games.
"We just want to do what we think is best for us to win each football game and that always starts with what you think you do well first," Sirianni said Monday, via The Associated Press. "And then it goes into the team's scheme that you're playing and their players. We've known we've had a good offensive line the whole time. We've always wanted to get the run game going to help Jalen be more successful as a quarterback, because that takes some of the pressure off him."
Hurts had his best half of the season last week in Denver, dicing up the Broncos defense short, long and intermediate. Then the ground game took over, and the QB needed to attempt only three second-half passes -- one completion, one bad INT -- as the blowout ensued.
The evolution of the Eagles offense as the season has gone on speaks well of Sirianni's ability to adjust and adapt at this early stage of his coaching career.
If Hurts continues to mature each week and the ground game keeps racking up big days, the 4-6 Eagles will remain in the playoff hunt in a muddled NFC.
"All I see is improvement every day from him because it starts with the type of person that Jalen is and how much he loves this sport, and how much he loves his teammates and how tough he is. And he doesn't make the same mistake twice," Sirianni said of Hurts. "I just see his arrow completely pointed up."