A sea of midnight green at StubHub Center made the Eagles feel right at home in Sunday's 26-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The win continues the Eagles' promising start to the season and now puts them at 3-1 on the season.
With impactful injuries that certainly impacted both the offense and the defense, it was a strong running game performance that helped the Eagles seal the win on the West Coast.
Running back LeGarrette Blount had 16 carries and rushed for 136 yards, 88 of which were in the fourth quarter alone.
"It's two weeks in a row now that he's done a great job," head coach Doug Pederson said. "Big guy at the end of the game, you saw the big long run. I don't think he has anything to prove, it's the guy that I knew that we were getting back in the spring."
Blount's "big long run" came with 13:42 left in the fourth quarter. The 68-yard run through the Charger's defense was sprung by a block from tight end Zach Ertz. Blount's run through the line of scrimmage ended when he was tripped up from behind at the Los Angeles 3-yard line.
A 3-yard run from fellow running back Wendell Smallwood finished the scoring drive and gave the Eagles a 26-17 lead.
"Really the biggest thing was the back side and the tight end, Zach Ertz, made a great block on that to spring him," Pederson said. "He's (Blount) so big and powerful late in the game when defenders sometimes can be a little more fatigued and tired. He just runs through tackles and it was well blocked and a great run."
Major contributions from the running backs, specifically Blount, kept the Eagles' offense strong today against a solid defensive front that featured the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in Melvin Ingram.
"It definitely helps the overall execution of the offense," Pederson said. "I think it opens up a lot of things, in the passing game as well. But the running game that is something we feel comfortable in doing and we just have to continue to execute it each week.
The Philadelphia Eagles topped the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 at StubHub Center.
"It's not only the runners but the offensive line. When I can see them and the look in their eyes when they're looking to the sidelines for, 'Let's go, let's keep that thing rolling.' It makes my job as a playcaller a little bit easier, just feed them again."
Sunday's game was certainly going to be a battle without two key players due to injury in running back Darren Sproles (ACL, forearm) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf).
"I think the players really responded well in both of their absences," Pederson said. "Two tremendous players to not have out there but the guys are resilient, they're warriors."
While recognizing the impact Cox's absence has on the Eagles' defense, Pederson believes it set the offense up well and helped the team finish out the game.
"We got to eliminate the big play defensively, we got a couple penalties in the second half today that kept them on the field. We just have to learn to play a little better, a little more discipline in those situations, defensively," Pederson said. "But overall they had great takeaways for our offense, they're putting our offense in great situations and they're going to have games like that. That's where you want to see your offense take over and finish the game like we did today."
It's the second week in a row that it has come down to the end and the Eagles have been able to pull out a win. Pederson believes the team is taking last season and each game thus far in 2017 as a learning experience.
"They're learning from last year," Pederson said. "They're learning from this year even though we're only 4 games in. This team is really beginning to believe in themselves, believe in each other. It's never really one aspect. The offense is bailing out the defense, the defense is bailing out the offense, and special teams sometimes bails out everybody. And that's what they're learning. They're learning to play together and come together and that's exciting and it's fun to watch."