By Tommy Matthews
Miles Sanders was the Eagles missing man during training camp.
He tweaked a hamstring early on and, except for a couple of neat pass and runs in the Jets exo, he was out.
So, no one really knew what to expect in yesterday’s opener against the Lions.
Amd, when the Eagles called his number, Sanders answered the bell.
He somehow found his way around the left side of a collapsing line and skirted for 24 yards to the Lions’ 49-yard line. It was the final play before the two-minute warning.
“Their defense is a very aggressive defense,” said Sanders. “
They crashed in. I could feel them crashing in. (LT Jordan) Mailata had a great block on the edge, kind of sealed them in. I just stepped to the left and it was wide open. I thought I was going to score. I didn’t see the corner, though.”
The first down was good enough.
“That was a good run,” said center Jason Kelce. “Honestly, I didn’t see anything. I was trying to block a big, fat guy probably. I thought Miles really ran very effectively.
“It seemed like as the game went on, and as we got more comfortable with what was happening, and the backs got more comfortable, we were able to find that rhythm that we had last year.”
Sanders’ first down run forced the Lions to burn their final two timeouts. The Eagles then sealed the win with a Jalen Hurts sneak on fourth-and-one.
“We knew they were going to come out very aggressive,” said Sanders. “Our whole goal this game was to match their intensity and stay to the job. Just grind it out the whole game.”
Sanders finished with a team-high 96 yards, a good start in trying to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career. He reached that total on 13 carries, which is good for a 7.3 yards per carry average.
The best part, though, for him?
He scored a touchdown for the first time since Dec. 27, 2020. His 13-game TD drought is over.
“I felt like a rookie again,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s a blessing. Definitely got more to come.”
That’s 6 for #26 😎, @BoobieMilesXXIV.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 11, 2022
Another good part about Sunday’s win was the fact that all three Eagles running backs and QB Jalen Hurts scored rushing touchdowns.
Boston Scott had a 1-yard run. Kenny Gainwell had a 2-yard run. Hurts scored from a yard out.