Philadelphia Eagles: Why not give Jordan Howard one more carry?

(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

While the Philadelphia Eagles’ dominant rushing attack was key to their Week 8 win, the decision to ice Jordan Howard four yards short of the century mark is a shame.

It took an act of God to make Doug Pederson changes his pass-happy ways, and even out the Philadelphia Eagles record at 4-4.

With the passing game heavily stifled by winds gusting to over 40 mph, the Birds were quite literally forced to commit to a run-focused assault and did so at an unprecedented clip. With the run-pass ratio typically split 60-40 favored towards the pass, the Eagles rushers went off to the tune of 218 yards on 41(!) carries.

And believe you me, this was quite literally a team effort.

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While the running backs corps obviously led the way with the brunt of the carries, Carson Wentz and Nelson Agholor also helped the team keep the chains moving with a combined 10 carries for 42 yards.

But things weren’t always copacetic for the Birds ground game in their super needed win over Buffalo, as Boston Scott fumbled a punt that gave the Bills wonderful field position, Miles Sanders suffered a shoulder injury, and Wentz put the ball on the ground more times than he’d like to admit.

However, the most egregious misstep of the afternoon has to belong to Jordan Howard, or should I say the situation he was placed into.

In his first game back as the team’s unquestioned lead rusher since Green Bay – another game the Eagles won in spectacular fashion – Howard put the team on his back and kept the ball moving early and often. With a 4.2 yards per carry average, a 20-yard run, and a rushing touchdown, Howard wasn’t just a key part of Doug Pederson‘s offense; he was Doug Pederson’s offense for much of the afternoon.

Without Howard moonlighting as a fullback in a two-back set, Sanders wouldn’t have scored his now-career-defining 65-yard touchdown. The team also relied heavily on Howard down the stretch with Sanders out, trucking him between the tackles to keep the ball matriculating down the field while the clock continued to tick.

Had this been a Philadelphia 76ers game, Howard would have surely been asked to ring the bell in the locker room, but unfortunately, Pederson and company appear far less sentimental.

That’s right, despite Fox’s commentators raving about how Howard was four yards away from becoming the Eagles’ first running back to pass the century mark in 35 games midway through the fourth quarter, the coaching staff opted against running their lead back once the win was secured. Instead, the Eagles pulled a page out of their Week 7 playbook, pulled Howard out of the game with four minutes left to play, and ran Scott five consecutive times before the two-minute warning.

Just like that, Howard’s afternoon was over, despite being four yards away from 100.

Now granted, it would have been a disaster if Howard would have suffered an injury in garbage time, especially after Sanders went down with a shoulder injury mere hours earlier, but with locker room morale at an all-time low, shouldn’t Pederson have done his best to the game’s best offensive player a personal win?

With a 4.2 ypc on the game, it shouldn’t have taken more than one or two carries to get Howard over 100.

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Look, I get it, this isn’t fantasy football and a win is a win regardless of the score, stats, or storylines, but for a team like the Philadelphia Eagles with an abundance of off-field issues and a desperate need to get things back on track to avoid an early winter break, getting Jordan Howard over the century mark could have done wonders for the team’s overall morale. Sigh, hopefully the team’s sheer dominance will convince Doug Pederson that this team’s identity is on the ground once and for all and Howard can break the streak before Christmas.