NFL Wire News

Eagles’ O-line comes alive against Saints

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The Sports Xchange

PHILADELPHIA – After struggling during the first four games of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line figured out how to get the job done in Sunday’s much-needed 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints.

The Eagles amassed 519 total offensive yards and 34 first downs as they improved their record to 2-3. The line did an excellent job of protecting quarterback Sam Bradford, who wasn’t sacked at all.

But most importantly, it finally was able to open holes for the running backs. The Eagles rushed for a season-high 186 yards on 34 carries.

“We just blocked better in the run game,” coach Chip Kelly said. “And obviously, if we can get our run game going, then our pass game with our quick game and our play-action passes off of that.

“I think we kept Sam clean and gave him an opportunity to throw the football. But it starts with us being able to run the football, and we did a good job with that.”

Both of the Eagles’ starting tackles – left tackle Jason Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson – were playing hurt. Peters has a quad injury that limited him to six snaps the week before against Washington. Johnson has ankle and knee sprains. But both played the entire game against the Saints.

REPORT CARD VS. SAINTS

–RUSHING OFFENSE: A minus. The Eagles’ offensive line turned in its best performance of the season, helping running backs DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles rush for 183 yards. If Murray had hit even half the lanes he missed, that rushing number might’ve been twice that much.

–PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus. Sam Bradford had a shaky first half. He had a pair of disheartening red-zone interceptions and too many of his passes were behind his receivers. But he went to shorter throws in the second half and completed 13 of 15 passes and averaged 7.9 yards per attempt. TEs Zach Ertz and Brent Celek combined for eight catches, 104 yards and a TD (Celek).

–RUN DEFENSE: B. The Eagles gave up 29 rushing yards to the Saints on their first four carries, but tightened things up after that, holding them to 57 yards on their next 16 carries before Khary Robinson’s meaningless 10-yard run with two minutes left in the game.

–PASS DEFENSE: B plus. The Eagles, who came into the game with just six sacks, picked up five more against Drew Brees. That included three by Fletcher Cox, who also forced fumbles on two that led to scores. Walter Thurmond also had an interception that set up a touchdown. The one downside: the Eagles gave up a season-high seven pass plays of 20 or more yards, including 59- and 46-yard completions.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Caleb Sturgis made all four of his field goals, but missed a point-after for the second straight week. Five of his nine kickoffs went for touchbacks. The Saints averaged just 21.3 yards per return on the other four. Josh Huff had a game-opening 40-yard kickoff return.

–COACHING: A. Chip Kelly mixed up his formations and personnel groupings against the Saints, using more two-tight end sets than he has all season. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis found a way.


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