Finally, Eagles offense looks like it's beginning to click

There are many reasons for the recent surge, with the offensive line's improved play at the top of the list

The Eagles offense is, finally, beginning to click.

Receiver Golden Tate is being more seamlessly integrated into the system.

Running back Josh Adams has asserted himself and is providing a consistent running attack.

Corey Clement has settled into the role he was probably more suited for, and that is as a complementary runner and pass catcher out of the backfield rather than a No. 1 back this team has lacked since losing Jay Ajayi for the year early in the season.

The offensive line is playing at its highest level since being the best line in football during last season’s Super Bowl run.

And don’t forget Darren Sproles, who provided a nice spark in the Eagles’ 28-13 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

It has all added up to a 6-6 record and date in Dallas against the Cowboys on Sunday with first-place in the NFC East on the line.

“Well, you'd like for it to start earlier but I think you're still seeing - you're seeing flashes of it,” said head coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday. “I think the flashes are a little more consistent now. It still wasn't perfect in the game (Monday). Still some mistakes that we need to clean up.

“We had more opportunities to score and we didn't do that. So those are things we need to focus in on just a little bit, but I think what you're seeing now is the offense kind of coming together, rhythm.”

For the second straight game the Eagles scored at least points and the little boon in point scoring has allowed them to record their first two-game winning streak of the season.

They ended a drought of five straight games without a first-quarter when Tate snared his first TD as an Eagle to cap a 12-play drive that lasted more than seven minutes on the Eagles’ first possession of the game.

It’s an offensive outburst that shouldn’t be confused with what the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, or Kansas City Chiefs are capable of, but the Eagles desperately need to improve on the 20 points per game they were averaging in losing six of their first 10 games.

“I think we are really playing well together, really meshing together,” said quarterback Carson Wentz in Monday night’s postgame news conference. “Kind of what we do best and that is run the ball, kind of relying on those big guys up front from play-actions, nakeds to boots, trying to stay on the field on third downs. We have to clean up some things in the red zone for sure, we left some plays out there no doubt, but we are kind of starting to mesh a little bit offensive.”

The Eagles converted seven-of-13 third downs against the Redskins (54 percent).

They got a 14-yard rushing touchdown from Sproles in his first game since Sept. 6. It was his first rushing score since December of 2016.

Adams had 20 carries and responded with a career-high 85 yards, topping his previous high of 84 on 22 carries set last week in a 25-22 win over the New York Giants.

Clement was busy in the screen game on Monday, grabbing three short throws and turning them into 47 yards offense while being used as a change-of-pace back from Adams, rushing for 27 yards on five carries.

Tate was targeted eight times and none of them felt forced as forced as his targets were since being acquired nearly a month ago. He also showed, for the first time since arriving from the Lions in exchange for a third-round draft pick, the ability to pick up yards after the catch. In addition to scoring his first TD as an Eagle, he later tacked on a nice catch to complete a two-point conversion pass.

Then there’s the offensive line, which seems to be getting healthier as the weeks go by.

“Obviously it starts up front,” said Pederson. “I think the offensive line is playing at a high level right now, and we kind of ride them. The running game has been consistent. We've gotten consistent play from Josh, obviously, and Corey, and then mixing Sproles in there. I think it's a little bit longer than expected, obviously, but as I say, you should be playing your best football down the stretch and hopefully this is the spark that kind of gets us going.”

PLAYER NOTES:

Carson Wentz did not get sacked against Washington, the first time this season that has happened.

“Hats off to the offensive line,” said the Eagles quarterback. “They played a great football game, both in running the ball and keeping me upright. It’s hard to say exactly what the difference is but again just as an offensive unit, we are finally starting to kind of mesh and play together. Again, we are leaving plays out there. There are plenty that I want back, but I think the offensive line is starting to mesh and play together.”

Second-year linebacker Nate Gerry played just 11 defensive snaps, but seemed to make them count. He had two tackles and recorded his first career interception, picking off Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter and returning it seven yards to put the Eagles at the Washington 40. The turnover led to a field goal that opened up a 25-13 lead for the Eagles with 11:41 to play in the game. A fifth-round draft pick out of Nebraska, Gerry was converted from a college safety to an NFL linebacker as a rookie.

Pederson said that left tackle Jason Peters, who got rolled up on late in the game, should be OK, but will be day-to-day during this short week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. Also day-to-day are linebacker Jordan Hicks and cornerback Avonte Maddox, both of whom have missed two straight games with injuries.

Cornerback Jalen Mills, who has missed four straight games with a foot injury, is further away from returning than Hicks and Maddox, Pederson said.

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who missed Monday’s game with back spasms, is expected to be available to practice this week, according to Pederson.

Tight end Zach Ertz established a new single-season franchise record for receptions (currently 93), surpassing the previous mark of 90 set by Brian Westbrook in 2007. Ertz’s 93 receptions are tied for the 13th-most by a tight end in NFL history. He is only seven receptions shy of becoming just the fourth tight end in NFL history to reach 100 in a season, joining Jason Witten in 2012 (110), Tony Gonzalez in 2004 (102) and Dallas Clark in 2009 (100). Ertz now has 978 receiving yards, which are the 2nd-most by a tight end in single-season team history, trailing only Pete Retzlaff in 1965 (1,190).

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