Miles Sanders thought he had a touchdown in his NFL debut. The exciting rookie slashed through the Redskins defense and darted into the end zone for a 21-yard score in the third quarter.
Hold up, wait a minute. The play was called back after the referees threw a flag on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for holding. On first glance, it seemed like a ticky-tack foul. Turns out, it was. According to The Morning Call, the league reviewed the penalty and admitted they made a mistake. Sanders should have been credited with a touchdown.
“Everybody upstairs said it wasn’t holding, everybody on TV said it wasn’t holding and even the NFL officials association said it was a bad call,” Arcegea-Whiteside told Nick Fiero. “So, I mean, it’s part of the game. Sometimes you’re going to make mistakes.”
Even if it wasn’t a real mistake. Sanders didn’t get his first-ever NFL touchdown, but the Eagles ended up netting a field goal on the drive.
“Stuff happens,” Sanders told reporters after Sunday’s game. “It doesn’t matter. It’s cool.”
Miles Sanders Could Be Eagles’ ‘Hot Hand’
How will the Eagles distribute the carries in their backfield this week against Atlanta? That’s what everyone wants to know, especially fantasy football owners. No one really knows. Head coach Doug Pederson has tended to use a “ride-the-hot-hand” approach during his tenure in Philadelphia. That philosophy doesn’t seem to be changing.
Darren Sproles had 16 touches in Week 1, the most of any Eagles running back. He turned those snaps into 47 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards and 46 on yards on punt returns. It was a solid showing. However, it’s way too many carries for a 36-year-old. Pederson admitted those early touches were by design.
Later in the game, he turned the keys over to Miles Sanders who finished with 11 carries for 25 rushing yards. He also dominated the snap count with 36, or 48% of the offensive snaps. He had a few negative runs and one would-be touchdown called back.
“Miles had a couple nice runs late in the game, third quarter, fourth quarter, the touchdown that came back, so you can see how dynamic that can be and we’re just going to continue to work it that way,” Pederson said. “Sometimes it’s the hot hand, but sometimes it’s based on game plan and who is in at that particular time.”
Eagles Need Jordan Howard More Involved
Meanwhile, Jordan Howard was running with power and agility. As O.J. Simpson pointed out, he averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Surprisingly, the coaching satff didn’t seem to stick with the veteran long enough. Head coach Doug Pederson seems excited to get Howard more involved in the offense this week.
“He runs behind his pads. He’s low. He’s a powerful guy,” Pederson said. “Quite frankly, he made some catches out of the backfield, some difficult catches that were low and being able to snag the ball. So this guy, we’re excited about him, and we just have to keep him coming and keep him in the mix.”
The Eagles brought Howard in to be the team’s closer and seemed to under-utilize the bruising back against Washington. Considering the Vikings gashed the Falcons on the ground — 38 rushes for 172 yards and three touchdowns — it might be a good night to feed the horses in the backfield. Pederson also hinted that Corey Clement could see more action.
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