It’s ironic that the 2021 NFL season started with a chorus of “run the damn ball” from Eagles fans and media members, and ended with the team setting a new franchise record for rushing yards. In Week 18 against the Cowboys, Kenny Gainwell ran the ball in for the team’s 25th rushing touchdown of the season — tying the franchise record — and in the process, hit 2,623 total rushing yards for the offense this season.
The offense hit their low point in Week 3, netting just 64 total rushing yards against the Cowboys, and turned things around with 149 just 15 weeks later.
Once they really established the run under Nick Sirianni, the first-time head coach really embraced it. He credited Jeff Stoutland for putting together a lot of their game plan with regards to the run game, and also often lauded the offensive line for making it so effective. They ran for a season-high 242 yards in Week 11 against the Saints — one of the league’s top run defenses — and had five games with over 200 rushing yards this season.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts led the offense in rushing yards, with 784 yards in 15 games, followed by Miles Sanders (754 yards) and Jordan Howard (406 yards). Sanders may have been second in rushing yards, but he didn’t score a touchdown all season, unlike Boston Scott, who may have only ran for 373 yards but got into the endzone seven times — second only to Hurts who scored 10 rushing TDs.
Rookie Kenny Gainwell also had an impressive season, proving to be a valuable 3rd down and red zone rusher. His touchdown on Saturday night against the Cowboys was his sixth of the season.
With injuries affecting several guys in the RB group, the offense at times followed the running back by committee approach, and other times it was the Sanders show. Still, it was nice to see the position group have depth, be successful week-after-week, and eventually hit that single-season franchise record in Week 18.