EAGLE EYE IN THE SKY
BY FRAN DUFFY
The Eagles got a much-needed win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 8. The rushing attack
for the offense needed to be a factor in a bad-weather game. To say it came through
was an understatement, as the Eagles had 218 yards on the ground, the best rushing
performance of the Doug Pederson era against a team that entered the week as a top-
10 run defense in the NFL through seven games.
The Eagles went into the locker room up by a score of 11-7. The spark they needed to
start the second half came from rookie running back Miles Sanders, a 65-yard run to
extend the Eagles’ lead.
2019 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE 29
Fran Duffy is the host of the Eagle Eye in the Sky
podcast, fueled by Gatorade, an Official Eagles
Entertainment podcast. Download new episodes weekly.
There are a few things I love about this play design. First, the Eagles caught the
Bills in their nickel package by lining up in their 21 personnel set (two backs
and one tight end). The Eagles showed this look in the previous week against
Dallas (with both Sanders and Jordan Howard on the field) three times, and
threw it twice. They lined up once earlier in the game against Buffalo and
threw it that time as well. Teams must respect the run with two backs on the
field, and plays like this on film will go a long way toward doing just that.
This is a simple “lead” play from the split gun formation. Quarterback Carson
Wentz is in the shotgun with both backs flanking him on either side.
The Eagles have “4 vs. 4” on the back side of this run, with left guard Isaac
Seumalo and center Jason Kelce delivering the key blocks in the trenches.
Seumalo gets outstanding movement one-on-one against the defensive
tackle, driving him off the ball and removing him from the action. Kelce works
up immediately to the second level and attacks linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
On the play side, tackle Andre Dillard creates a seal on the defensive end,
shielding him away from the run.
Another key block comes from Howard, who releases immediately up to
the second level and blocks the playside linebacker Matt Milano. This is an
extremely unselfish play by the young veteran halfback, who is used to toting
the rock, not blocking for someone behind him. Look at the hole this creates!
It takes all of these elements working together for this play to succeed. When
Sanders reaches the third level of the defense, he lays on the gas and explodes
to the end zone for the longest play of the season for the Eagles’ offense.