There was some uncertainty surrounding the availability of Eagles running back Josh Adams when he turned up on the team’s Friday injury as questionable with a hip injury.
There was no such uncertainty from Adams. He knew he playing against the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
“I knew,” he said following the Eagles’ 28-13 win. “It’s just long week, one of those things where you get a little banged up from the previous game and you don’t feel it til days later, but it was nothing serious. Just had mind focused on getting mind ready for this game.”
Adams, an undrafted rookie free agent from Notre Dame who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, attending Central Bucks South High School, has restored order to the Eagles’ running attack.
Last week against the New York Giants, he carried the ball 22 times to become just the second running back under head coach Doug Pederson to have 20 or more carries in a game since Ryan Mathews did it twice back in Pederson’s first year, 2016. He responded with a career-high 84 yards.
Against Washington, Adams lugged the ball 20 times and responded with a new career-high of 85 yards.
The back-to-back games with 80-plus yards makes him the first Eagles runner to achieve that feat since DeMarco Murray in 2015 against the Saints and Giants.
“I don’t know how many carries I get, you just never know at the beginning of the game, but at the end of day you just try to go out and take advantage of my opportunities and do my best to help our unit, help the offense, and stay aggressive,” said Adams. “If it gets to that number, hopefully I put it to good use. We got a win and that’s what I’m most happy about.”
With Adams now in a feature role, the Eagles run-pass balance has become sharper. Last week, they actually had one more running play than they had pass plays. Pederson said during the week he wasn’t sure he had ever had that happen since he began coaching.
On Monday, the Eagles had 39 passes to 33 runs.
Adams seems to be running more freely as the season has gone along. Early on, it appeared as if he was doing more thinking and that led to some tentative steps.
Not anymore. He leads the team in rushing with 376 yards on 76 carries (4.9 yards per carry).
Sure he was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but that wasn’t his fault. He had nowhere to run and Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks had a miscommunication and both blocked down. That opened up the edge for Washington linebacker Zach Brown to have a free run at Adams, knocking down the running back for a two-yard loss.
Not only that, but the Eagles telegraphed the play was going to be a run because tight end Zach Ertz, the team’s top red-zone target, wasn’t on the field and quarterback Carson Wentz lined up under center.
“Running the football is really our bread and butter,” said Wentz. “I think it gets those big boys out front going. It gets the defensive line out of pass-rush mode, so that is something that is big for us. Just staying balanced is something that is our M.O.”
With Adams now asserting himself, the Eagles are finding that balance and winning games.
Monday’s victory marked the first time this season they have two in a row. It’s a modest winning streak, but by doing that, they have kept their season alive heading into Sunday’s showdown against the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.