The Birds entered last Thursday night’s game as road favorites. Their opponent, the Green Bay Packers, were undefeated and looking to continue their winning streak at historic Lambeau field. Yet when all was said and done, the Eagles emerged victorious with a final score of 34-27.
An interception near the goalline by linebacker Nigel Bradham iced the game at a crucial moment. The dangerous Aaron Rodgers was knocking on the door and had a very real chance to tie the game and force overtime. The Philadelphia defensive unit stepping up at this pivotal juncture put away the Packers thoughts of a comeback for good.
However, the sustained success of the Eagles running attack throughout the game should not be overlooked. Philadelphia’s offensive line dominated the front seven of the Packers. This led to Jordan Howard’s monster three touchdown performance, easily his best showing of the season. Howard is a bruiser of a back who works most effectively when running downhill and being fed the rock often. This aligned with the Birds gameplan on offense as the Packers had proven suspect defending the run this season.
Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders also had a productive day. His 6.5 yards per carry on 11 attempts were his most efficient of the season. He also splashed with a 67 yard kickoff return that gave life to an Eagles team that found themselves in an early 10-0 deficit.
This ground and pound formula, when executed successfully, kills two birds with one stone (don’t worry, the birds aren’t eagles). In addition to gaining steady yardage and keeping time of possession in a team’s favor, an effective ground game also prevents a defensive pass rush from getting in rhythm. This was especially true against the Packers who failed to register a sack for the first time all season.
Looking forward, the Birds hope to continue this trend of dominant running against the reeling New York Jets this Sunday. This is a home contest for the Eagles and lends itself to the ground and pound gameplan that won them their week four matchup.