PHILADELPHIA (AP)Take a look at all the players getting credit this season for the Philadelphia Eagles’ undefeated start – from offensive standouts Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown to defensive stalwarts Darius Slay and Brandon Graham – and it’s easy to see why running back Miles Sanders was overlooked.
Sanders hadn’t rushed for more than 96 yards in a game and scored only one touchdown over three games. It’s not that he couldn’t do more, it’s that Sanders wasn’t necessarily needed to do as much with Hurts throwing the ball at an MVP-level rate.
In the rain Sunday against Jacksonville, the Eagles needed Sanders. And the back delivered. Sanders had 27 carries and rushed for 134 yards, both career highs, and scored two touchdowns in Philadelphia’s 29-21 victory over Jacksonville.
”He played angry, in my opinion,” Hurts said. ”He played with a purpose.”
His purpose moved the Eagles to 4-0 this season, the only undefeated team in the NFL.
Sanders became the first Eagle with at least 25 carries, 125 yards and two touchdowns since LeSean McCoy ran for 217 yards on 29 attempts and two TDs on Dec. 8, 2013, against Detroit. McCoy’s game was famous in franchise history for being played in a blizzard. Sanders powered his way to a career-best outing in driving rain.
Maybe bad weather makes for the best backs in Philly.
Sanders’ big day moved him to third in the NFL in yards rushing (356) behind only New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (463) and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (459). The Eagles had 210 yards rushing against Jacksonville.
”With the weather being the way it is, we still passed the ball effectively,” Sanders said. ”And the offensive line, we had over 200 yards rushing. So all over, if the team keeps doing that, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
The defense is clicking. The Eagles forced five takeaways, their most in a game since 2017 and most in the NFL this season. The Jaguars were held to 219 total yards.
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Linebacker Haason Reddick had his best game yet since he made his homecoming with the Eagles. The Camden, New Jersey, native and former Temple standout signed a free-agent deal over the summer. He had a breakthrough performance with two sacks, four tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Slay and Graham won the last two NFC defensive player of the week awards. Reddick is certainly in contention to make it three straight winners for the Eagles. Better yet, after playing for Arizona and Carolina, Reddick’s family and friends get to root for him – and their favorite team.
”They are still happy because they get to still root for the hometown team,” Reddick said. ”Not only that, but they also get to root for me, and there are no split feelings. I used to hear from my family that they are a Cardinals fan or a Carolina fan because they are a fan of Haason Reddick, but you knew that their true team was the Eagles and they grew up watching the Eagles play, and they were raised to be Eagles fan. Now that I’m back home, it makes it better for them.”
Slim pickings again for the Eagles, but Brown showed why he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL – and not defenders. In one of Hurts’ few mistakes this season, he had a pass intercepted by Andre Cisco and returned 59 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Brown had a chance to tackle Cisco around the 45 but seemingly gave up on trying to run him down. Brown was roasted on social media – which is also where defended himself late Sunday, tweeting: ”Lack of effort: No (never) Bad decision: yes lol My thought process was to strip the ball and get it back because defensive guys don’t know how to carry the ball but I got blocked. I’ll just tackle him next time lol forgive me.”
Eagles LB Patrick Johnson left the game with a head injury. Tackle Jordan Mailata suffered a shoulder injury. Kicker Jake Elliott was hurt after he was hit hard by Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell on a field-goal attempt. Campbell was flagged for roughing the kicker.
6 – The Eagles are 4-0 for only the sixth time in franchise history. They also won their first four games in 1954, 1981, 1992, 1993 and 2004. The Eagles went to the Super Bowl following the 2004 season behind Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. Bonus number: 7. The Eagles have won seven consecutive regular-season games started by Hurts, the longest active streak among NFL QBs.
The Eagles went 2-0 on their back-to-back reunion tour with wins over former QB Carson Wentz in Washington and then former coach Doug Pederson and the Jaguars. It’s off to Arizona, where the Eagles are already 5 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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