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Spadaro: Red-hot D'Andre Swift makes Eagles history, looks for more

D'Andre Swift
D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift wants to keep taking. If defenses want to give him an edge, he's going to take it. If the Eagles' offensive line blows open a hole between the tackles, he's going to run downhill to and through it. If he has to squeeze through a crease and power his way for a few yards, so be it.

When you're on the kind of roll Swift is on right now, you just keep doing what you're doing and know that it's going to work.

"That's the thing," Swift said after his second straight huge game in Monday night's 25-11 win over Tampa Bay. "The offensive line is doing a great job, our chemistry is there, the timing, and it feels natural. We have it clicking the right way."

The Eagles have made it clear since the preseason that all of the running backs on their roster are going to contribute and that, through the course of a long, 17-game season, all will be needed. Both Swift and Kenneth Gainwell have had the bulk of the carries through three games, and, just as clearly, Swift is so hot that it's hard not to give him enough touches to impact games.

Because that's exactly what he's done the last two weeks – he has been an impact player. Swift ran for 175 yards and a touchdown to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in the win over Minnesota in Week 2 and then ripped Tampa Bay for 130 yards on 16 carries in the road victory on Monday night. Remember, the Bucs had given up an average of just 54 rushing yards per game in the first two games of the season and the Eagles racked up 201 yards in the 25-11 win, with Swift leading the way.

"He's a big-time playmaker," quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "He's electric with the ball in his hands. That's something I've been able to witness since his days at Georgia. He's been who he's always been. He's doing that for us now."

Check out our award-winning team of photographers' best shots – some from on the field, some exclusive candids from inside the locker room – from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay where the Eagles beat the Buccaneers on Monday night to improve to 3-0.

Swift's 308 rushing yards rank second in the NFL after three games to San Francisco's Christian McCaffrey, who has 353 rushing yards, and are the most yards by an Eagle through three games since LeSean McCoy had 395 in 2013.

Only Swift, McCoy (twice), and Wilbert Montgomery (twice) are Eagles who have gained 300 rushing yards in the first three weeks of a season.

"Super elusive," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said of Swift. "We know how good he can be catching the football, too. It's just the way the flow of the game has been where we haven't needed that yet, but he's a weapon to catch the football as well and make plays. He's elusive, he's explosive, he's tough – he's really had a nice start to the season."

The key is to keep it going, of course, and to understand that Gainwell could be the focus in the backfield, as well as Boston Scott or Rashaad Penny. It's a team thing, and it's also recognizing who has the hot hand.

And right now, Swift is en fuego.

"Having a guy like that with all the other guys and being able to change things up is a big help," guard Landon Dickerson said. "We can throw out some styles and for defenses that can be a hard thing to handle. I think Swift is doing a phenomenal job now and we hope it keeps going. He's quick and elusive and reads his blocks, has vision. He's been great."

Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman acquired Swift from Detroit on the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, sending the Lions a 2025 fourth-round draft pick and swapping seventh-round picks later that afternoon (a 30-pick difference). The deal has been a huge boost to the Eagles' offense through three weeks, and Swift just wants to stay in his groove.

"I didn't know what the expectation was going to be, to be honest with you," Swift said. "I just made my mind up that I was going to come in the building every day and work. That's the mindset still. Go in there tomorrow and work – day in and day out – get ready for the next opponent."

Washington and its great defensive front is the next challenge. Swift and the Eagles know the Commanders are coming into Lincoln Financial Field to make a statement and will give their best shot on Sunday.

It's nearly here and the Eagles' running game, paced by D'Andre Swift three weeks into the season, is prepared for the challenge.

"That's what makes it fun," Dickerson said. "We know they're going to be tough, one of the best defensive lines in the league. It's going to be a great battle."

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