Wendell Smallwood tested himself all week preparing for Sunday’s game against visiting Indianapolis. He knew that running backs Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) would miss the game and he knew the coaching staff would be leaning on him for production. So he was ready when his number was called, and called, and called in the 20-16 win on Sunday.
“I pushed myself, I prepared myself, and I felt I was ready for this game,” said Smallwood, who had 10 carries and 56 yards, including the game-winning 4-yard touchdown run with 3:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. Smallwood also contributed three receptions and 35 yards in the victory.
“I felt good to get out there and have my number called. I’ve been working hard in the offseason and in the summer through Training Camp. All of us in the room (running back room) knew we would have to take some of the load off of Carson (Wentz). We were down a couple of guys, so it was up to me and Corey (Clement) and Josh (Adams) to make plays.”
They did that, combining for 32 carries and 142 yards, with Smallwood’s touchdown as the needed cherry on the top.
“I feel like we broke their will by being physical and running hard and finishing our runs,” Smallwood said. “The line did a great job and we also created our own yards by being so physical and fighting for extra yards. It felt good to be out there.”
Smallwood took a simple handoff from Wentz and barreled through a hole for the game-deciding points. It was a combination that worked well all day – the line did its job and Smallwood was fast to and through the hole. The Eagles had success early gaining yardage to the edge, and then they pounded the interior with the ground game.
In the end, the Eagles needed every yard from their backfield. It was that kind of close, nail-biting game.
“I feel like we don’t blink when we know we’ve got to do something,” Smallwood said. “When we’ve got that pressure on us, don’t think about it. We just go out there and do. We’ve practiced those situations through camp, so we know what to expect.
“On the touchdown, I was not going to be denied. I saw two safeties playing high and that means they were playing zone. I just had to be patient and wait for Kelce (center, Jason) and Wiz (left guard Stefen Wisniewski) to get their double-team in place and then I saw the hole and I got through it.”
Big play, big moment and, for Smallwood, a game to show the coaches that when he’s given a chance, he’s going to deliver.
“I’ve always felt they trusted me, but you have to wait your turn," he said. "That’s just how it works in this game. You have to be ready when your number is called.”
Check out all of the best photos from Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts on September 23, 2018.