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How Eagles dominated run game behind Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell to advance to Super Bowl 57

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The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the top rushing offenses in the NFL, finishing fifth in the league in yards during the regular season and leading in touchdowns.

On Sunday, the Eagles rode that dominant running game to the Super Bowl, beating the 49ers, 31-7, using a committee approach. Whether it was the aptly-named Kenneth Gainwell, Miles Sanders, or Jalen Hurts, no matter who has touched the ball for the Eagles this year, they’ve had a positive impact.

The Eagles broke an NFL record held by the Frankford Yellow Jackets since 1924, picking up their 39th rushing touchdown of the season behind four TDs against the 49ers in the NFC championship game. Boston Scott tied the record in the second quarter, and Hurts broke it with a dive into the end zone in the third.

In the win, Hurts broke an individual record, as well. 

The physicality of the Eagles was a defining characteristic of their game all season. Hurts in particular was praised for his aggressive rushing style all year, and that was on display even when the Eagles took a commanding win.

MORE: Eagles advance to Super Bowl after outlasting injury-filled 49ers

Eagles rushing stats vs. 49ers

The Eagles didn’t do much different against the 49ers from what they’ve done all year.

In their 19th game of the season, they scored four touchdowns with three different players, just a week after three players scored three touchdowns on the ground against the Giants.

Despite not getting in the end zone himself, Gainwell led the way with 14 carries for 48 yards. Sanders was next with 11 carries for 42 yards and a pair of scores, and Hurts had 11 carries for 39 yards and a QB sneak for a touchdown. Boston Scott, meanwhile, had six carries for 21 yards.

Kenneth Gainwell 14 48 0 3.4
Miles Sanders 11 42 2 3.8
Jalen Hurts 11 39 1 3.5
Boston Scott 6 21 1 3.5

One thing that stands out is that all of these players were under four yards per carry. While that was helped along by the 49ers’ debacle on the offensive side of the ball rendering them inert after the first quarter, there’s something to said for continuing to pound the ball.

The Eagles ran the ball 53 percent of their plays against the 49ers, continuing to stay around 50 percent run-pass, as they have much of the year. It was that dominance that led them to the Super Bowl.

MORE: 49ers-Eagles NFC championship game fight results in multiple ejections

Eagles rushing stats in 2022 playoffs

The Eagles’ second game went much the same as the first. A dominant performance defined by physical play.

The Eagles rushed for a ridiculous 268 yards against the Giants, with three more touchdowns. One from Gainwell, one from Hurts, and one from Scott. 

Kenneth Gainwell 26 160 1 6.2
Miles Sanders 28 132 2 4.7
Jalen Hurts 20 73 2 3.7
Boston Scott 12 53 2 4.4

The Eagles aren’t deviating from their game for anyone, whether it be the Giants or the 49ers. It’s been that way all season. They rushed 64 percent of the time against New York in Divisional Round, putting their total at 58.5 percent for the postseason.

There were concerns about Hurts’ status coming into the playoffs but the Eagles have shown they don’t have to lean on him in the ground the game. Rather, they want to. The various players getting touches has made the Eagles difficult to beat all season. And now they’re heading to the Super Bowl behind that philosophy.


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