HERE’S THE POINT, DOUG PEDERSON: EAGLE RYAN MATHEWS’ 109 YARDS, 2 TDS MAKES HIM THE LEAD BACK!

By Michael Bennett

So, who was that masked man wearing the Eagles’ No. 24 yesterday against the Falcons?

You know, the guy who carried the ball only nine times in the last two games?

Ryan Mathews posted his first 100-yard game of the season and emerged as the ‘hot-hand’ that head coach Doug Pederson has relied on in the backfield over the past several weeks when Darren Sproles was the feature back.

Against Atlanta, the Eagles dominated time of possession (38:10 to 21:50) and out-gained the Falcons on the ground 208 yards to 48, showing once again how critical an effective running game is to this offense.

“It’s real good,” Matthews, who rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns said. “It shows a lot. I know the linemen love run-blocking too. It was a fun game out there. It was hard. You have to give it to them; they played great. We just went out there and tried to give it 110 percent.”

In addition to Mathews’ season-best performance, rookie Wendell Smallwood averaged 5.4 yards per carry, posting his second-largest output of the season with 70 yards on 13 carries.

While Sproles became a focal point of the passing game with eight catches for 57 yards, this week it was Smallwood who provided the complement to Mathews in the ground game.

“It’s tough for one guy to come in and another to come out who can do things differently than the other,” Smallwood said. “I think it’s tough for them to adjust to it and kind of get a feel for either one of us because there’s a different one every time.”

Sunday was the Eagles’ first time the Eagles have posted 135 rushing yards or more since the season-opener against the Browns.

“Like I said throughout the week,” Mathews said. “If any of us get to touch the ball, we’re giving it 100 percent every time. We’re trying to make it all count. My line played great today. You have to give it to them. They really did all they could to open up holes for us today.”

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