PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — LeGarrette Blount, the veteran running back, and Corey Clement, and undrafted rookie tailback, had a moment on the sideline when they looked at each other and laughed. Maybe it had to do with anything that the pair wanted to do, they did. Anywhere the Eagles offensive line (Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Stefen Wisniewski and Jason Peters) pointed to collectively, gaping holes were open to run through.
The Eagles rushed for 214 yards on 42 carries, averaging 5.1 yards, and made life much easier for Carson Wentz, the Eagles and the defense in forging a 26-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon—and a 3-1 record at the quarter mark of the NFL season.
The Eagles now sit atop the NFC East and are arguably—right now—playing like one of the top three teams in the NFC (with the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions).
Blount smashed through the Chargers for a game-high 136 yards on 16 carries, including a 68-yard run that set up the Eagles eventual winning score. Clement sliced through Los Angeles for 30 yards on 10 carries, including a key 4-yard run to the Chargers’ 38 with 2:22 left to play on a third-and-one. And Wendell Smallwood rushed for 34 yards and the deciding touchdown, a 3-yard score with 9:14 left.
What was most impressive was the Eagles’ last drive.
Clinging to a 26-24 lead, with the ball at the Eagles’ 25 after a Chargers’ score, with 6:44 left to play, the Eagles reeled off 13 plays, traveled 55 yards and picked up 4 first downs in draining the remaining time from the clock. Wentz was 3-3, for 22 yards, and the Eagles ran the ball 8 times. Wentz finished 17 of 31 for 240 yards and a touchdown—and at times looked brilliant.
It wasn’t that long ago that many in Philadelphia were questioning head coach Doug Pederson. Not that many are now.
The last drive “just showed the resiliency of the team,” Pederson said. “I’ve said it quite a few times that there is no quit in this team. They’re learning to play as a unit, play together and that’s good to see. Each week is game-plan specific and we have designed plays for each one of them.
“Give credit to the offensive line and the tight ends. It’s two weeks in a row now that [Blount] has done a great job. A big guy at the end of the game. I don’t think he has anything to prove that the guy we were getting back in the spring.”
Jake Elliott has continued his magic. He booted four field goals of 40, 45, 47 and 53 yards.
What really won the game was the offensive line. They got a great push all afternoon. The Eagles ran the ball 42 times and passed 31 times. They amassed 454 yards of total offense and didn’t turn the ball over.
Much of that, Pederson was quick to point out, was because of the offensive line.
“When I can see them and the look in their eyes when they’re looking to the sidelines, let’s go, let’s keep this thing rolling, it makes my job as a play caller easier, just feed them again,” Pederson said. “The credit goes to the offensive line and the tight ends.”