The Saints came into Sunday’s game with the top run defense in the league, but the Eagles didn’t deviate from their recent emphasis on the ground game.
The Eagles ran the ball 50 times for 242 yards in the 40-29 victory and head coach Nick Sirianni was asked after the game why he thought the Eagles would have success against the Saints when other teams have struggled. Sirianni pointed to quarterback Jalen Hurts, who ran for three touchdowns, as a player who makes defenses have to do things that make them uncomfortable.
“I think Jalen is a special player that forces defenses to play different,” Sirianni said in his postgame press conference. “You look at the tape and again I think I told you guys early in the week, you look at the stat sheet, you look at where they are, you look at their defense, but you also want to do what you do well. We know we have been running the ball well and it’s a little different when Jalen is in there. You try to look at some teams that they’ve played that are similar to that, but you want to make them stop what you do well first and that’s definitely what our goal was going out there.”
Hurts has 618 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on the year and the Eagles have won three of four games since they rededicated themselves to a run-first offensive approach. Sirianni’s comments make it clear that other teams are going to have to force them to do something different on offense, which won’t be easy long as Hurts remains as effective as he’s been in recent weeks.