LOS ANGELES – Somehow, Wendell Smallwood stayed sharp in the last four weeks when he only had four total carries and was, in reality, a forgotten man in the Eagles' offense. He certainly wasn't forgotten on Sunday night. The Eagles needed Smallwood and Smallwood stepped up and delivered.
The third-year running back had 48 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries as the Eagles used a balanced offense and a takeaway defense to defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 30-23. Smallwood was the key player in the running game, showing power inside and burst through the hole and a very definite nose for the end zone.
Wendell Smallwood? In the heat of the playoff chase? Two touchdowns?
It truly does take every player on the roster to win these kinds of games.
"It was just fun out there. I felt comfortable. Me and Nick (Foles) joked around before the game that we've done a lot of scout team these past couple of weeks and this was comfortable for us. It was fun," Smallwood said. "We were running the ball good and we were doing what we wanted to do out there. We had confidence in Nick and what he could do and them having the confidence in me running the ball felt good."
Despite the lack of activity, Smallwood has been preparing to be a starter. That's the mindset a player has to take every week for moments like this. With the Eagles playing minus Corey Clement (placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury), the offense leaned on Josh Adams (15 carries, 28 yards, one touchdown), Smallwood, and Darren Sproles. Adams was in and out of the game with a back injury, so Smallwood had his most work since gaining 51 yards on 18 carries in the October win at the Giants.
The three backs combined for 28 carries, 106 yards, and three touchdowns.
"I didn't know what role I would have, but I thought I would have time, so I made the most of my reps in practice during the week," Smallwood said. "I was hoping I would get a chance to help any way I could."
Smallwood scored from 9 yards out to give the Eagles a 20-13 lead in the third quarter, following a Lane Johnson block, seeing Zach Ertz seal the edge – the Eagles call it a "Sombrero" block – and Smallwood got through the hole, made a spin move and scored his first touchdown since the September 23 win over Indianapolis. On the second touchdown, one that gave the Eagles a 30-13 advantage, Smallwood followed left tackle Jason Peters and bulled into the end zone.
"It felt great. It was so much fun out there," Smallwood said. "I've always believed in myself and it was just a matter of going out there and doing it. This is the time to keep going forward. That's what we need to do, keep pushing ahead and getting better."
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Los Angeles Rams.