Eagles offensive line keeps opening holes, gashing Lions on the ground
Detroit —Sometimes, the best thing a coach can do for his team is listen.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Siriani knows that better than anyone right now. After the Eagles’ first few drives against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field, his offensive line kept coming back to the sidelines and telling him that Detroit’s front was simply no match.
“We got some good runs early on, and the offensive line kept coming back to the sideline and saying, ‘Hey, we got a lot of momentum right here, we’re pushing them up front,’” Siriani said following the Eagles’ 44-6 dismantling of the Lions.
“We wanted to establish the run game early. We really value our offensive line and what they can do.”
Eagles tackle Lane Johnson concurred after the game, saying Sunday’s effort was “the most consistently we’ve (rushed the ball) so far this season.”
“I just think really from the jump, you could see how it was going to go,” Johnson said.
Philadelphia racked up 236 yards on the ground among five different rushers. None was more effective than quarterback Jalen Hurts, who had 71 yards on seven attempts. Running back Boston Scott, who entered Sunday with just 24 yards on seven carries, had 60 yards on 12 totes.
“It’s very frustrating,” Lions safety Tracy Walker said. “Honestly, you see on the emotions on my face that I’m not too happy. They ran for 230-something on us. At the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do.”
Scott and running back Jordan Howard each picked up two touchdowns for the Eagles (3-5). It could have been much worse for the Lions, who got torched by Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor on a gadget end-around and jet sweep before Reagor exited the game with an ankle injury in the first quarter.
“We just wanted to be physical,” Scott said. “That’s what we had in our mind going into the week.”
The Lions (0-8) entered Sunday with the league’s 10th-best rushing defense in yards per carry and gave up just 47 yards on the ground a week ago against the Rams. The Eagles, meanwhile, entered Sunday ranked 26th in rushing attempts.
“They weren’t really running the ball a lot,” defensive end Michael Brockers said. “They were a lot of 11 personnel. Today they were a lot of 12 personnel, 13 personnel. They ran the ball a lot more than they have in the past, but that’s not an excuse for us. We have to be better no matter what, how the game goes, how they’re playing.”
The Lions have a bye week coming up. Their rushing matchups don’t get any easier when they resume. They’ll face a Steelers team in Pittsburgh led by Najee Harris on Nov. 14, before traveling to Cleveland to face the league’s best rushing attack, and then it’s back home for Thanksgiving against the Bears.
The Lions can only hope Mike Tomlin, Kevin Stefanski and Matt Nagy aren’t good listeners.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.