On a blustery, rainy fall day in Buffalo, the Eagles went back to a formula that's worked wonders over the years – dominate in the trenches.
The Eagles rushed for 218 yards, the most by the team in the Doug Pederson era, to defeat the Buffalo Bills 31-13 to snap a two-game losing streak. The Eagles are 4-4 after a three-game road trip and return home for the entire month of November, starting with a showdown against the defending NFC North champion Chicago Bears next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bears are 3-4 after a kicker Eddy Piñeiro missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired, losing 17-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
"We needed a win to keep us at 4-4 and keep us in the hunt, in the conversation," head coach Doug Pederson said. "It would have been a lot harder had we lost this football game to try to come back and make a run. We were just focused on going 1-0 this week."
Jordan Howard nearly became the first Eagle to rush for 100 yards since October 2017, finishing with 96 and a touchdown, and Miles Sanders broke the game open on the opening drive of the third quarter with a 65-yard touchdown run. Sanders had 118 yards from scrimmage (74 rushing, 44 receiving) before exiting the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
"I credit the offensive line, the tight ends. Jordan Howard had a big game," Pederson said. "I think coming into this game, it's a good defense, a good front. Let me tell you that right at the beginning here. The conditions kind of warranted more of a running game. Our offensive line is a very prideful group. They'd run the ball the whole game if you could, but they just did a great job up front. Jordan ran extremely hard. I'm pleased with how we handled that today."
Quarterback Carson Wentz was a very efficient 17-of-24 for 172 yards and a touchdown for a QB rating of 104.9. On the team's opening drive of the fourth quarter, with the Eagles ahead 24-13, Wentz converted two third downs with his legs and then threw a perfect pass to tight end Zach Ertz on a third-and-7 for an 18-yard gain to set up Howard's 3-yard touchdown run. The Eagles ran off 8:17 off the clock, marching 83 yards in 14 plays, in what Pederson called the best drive of the season.
"I thought he played extremely well today," Pederson said of Wentz. "He played tough, made some great decisions. Overall, looking back on the game, I thought he played smart, he played tough, he played aggressive. Threw the ball well, he was accurate. Helped us stay on the field. Played good today."
Defensively, Brandon Graham made what could turn out to be a season-defining play. On a third-and-2 with two minutes left in the first half, Buffalo tried to convert with a designed run for quarterback Josh Allen. Graham knocked out the ball and recovered it at the Bills' 24-yard line. The Eagles capitalized on the short field as Wentz hit tight end Dallas Goedert over the middle for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 11-7 heading into halftime. The Eagles never trailed after that.
Graham added a sack to go along with six total tackles. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox had a strip-sack on the opening drive of the game and finished with 1.5 sacks. Linebacker Nathan Gerry chipped in a full sack, and defensive end Derek Barnett split the other sack with Cox.
Offensively, the Bills were unable to do much throughout the game. Allen was 16-of-34 for 169 yards with two touchdowns for an 81.6 QB rating. Allen was also the team's leading ground gainer with 45 yards. Running backs Frank Gore and Devin Singletary combined for 53 rushing yards on 12 carries. Wide receiver John Brown extended his streak of having at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season with 54 to lead Buffalo. Wide receiver Cole Beasley had the other touchdown for the Bills, finishing with 41 yards receiving on three catches. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery led the Eagles with 64 yards on four receptions.
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' tilt with the Bills in Week 8.