Why Has Doug Pederson Abandoned the Running Game The Past Two Weeks?

The offseason hype for the Eagles offense was a fun bandwagon to hop on. Pro Football Focus believed that the Eagles had the best wide receiver group in the entire NFL (lol), but they also believed that they had the best offensive line in the league, with a great tight end duo and running back group to boot. Now at 5-6, the Eagles offense has been the one stalling of late and costing the team games.

The past two games the Birds were missing their #1 running back in Jordan Howard. However, rookie Miles Sanders has shown he belongs in this league and can be a dynamic 'back in the offense and could have filled in just fine taking on the extra carries. For some reason though, Doug Pederson didn't want to trust Sanders and the rest of the running game against the past two opponents, having Carson Wentz throw a combined 85 times even though both games were basically one score games throughout the majority of those contests.


Outsiders might think that the running game just wasn't working in those games and that led to Pederson abandoning that part of the offense, but in those two games Sanders has averaged 4.4 YPC on 23 carries. Even with the Howard out, Sanders never received more than 12 carries in those games, which is a head-scratcher.


Remember this touchdown that showed us that Sanders has home-run type of plays in him?

As NBCSP's Reuben Frank points out -- the Eagles have had 42 possessions since that score, and Sanders has 33 carries total in those possessions (that's less than one carry/possession).

Pederson hasn't given a specific reason why Sanders hasn't been more involved in Howard's absence, but there is no excuse at this point. With some weaker opponents coming up, the team doesn't need the long ball to win these games. Instead, Sanders and Howard (or Jay Ajayi if Howard isn't healthy enough to play) need to bring that thunder and lightning approach to wear out the defense. This will also take some pressure off of Wentz and maybe lead him to no-longer messing up some of the easy throws he has been blowing lately.

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