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October 02, 2022

Miles Sanders runs wild in best performance of his career

Head coach Nick Sirianni left little doubt over who the Eagles' top running back is following Sunday's 29-21 win over the Jaguars. 

"Miles Sanders is our No. 1 back!" Sirianni belted out to reporters in his postgame press conference.

Sirianni is never one to hold back from showcasing some energy. He was emphatic about Sanders' play, a day that saw the fourth-year running back rush for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns. 

"There ain't no question about it!" the head coach shouted about the Birds' RB1.

Sanders had a gigantic performance in a comeback win that keeps the Eagles as the lone undefeated team in the NFL. Given the way the Eagles fell into an early hole, mixed with the fanfare surrounding the return of his former coach Doug Pederson and the stakes of keeping a goose egg in the loss column, it was the best game of Sanders' career. 

Sanders has showcased incredible talent in his Eagles tenure. His burst and "home run" ability are elite. He's struggled, however, with fumbling woes, nagging injuries, and, at times, an overeagerness to bounce runs for huge gains instead of simply taking what he can get. On a wet and windy afternoon that saw the opposing Jaguars fumble five times, Sanders was in total control of the Eagles' offense, never fumbling, pounding his way to first down after first down, and killing the clock late. 

It was a game that had a vintage 2021 tint to it. The Eagles have been airing the ball out to start this season, but with weather conditions what they were at Lincoln Financial Field, the focus fell back on the ground game and Sanders. 

"We'll do whatever we need to do to win the football game and, of course, conditions are going to play into that," Sirianni said.

"Whatever the weather conditions are, we practice in this type of stuff," Sanders said about the elements. "We do everything we can to be prepared for this type of stuff."

Prepared they were. 

Credit to Sirianni. Credit to this offensive line that overcame injuries to both Jordan Mailata and Isaac Seumalo. Sanders gassed up that unit, saying, "I'll take our o-line against anybody." Still, Sanders putting together with this type of game on a day where Mother Nature wasn't calling for a pass-first shootout is commendable. I'll be frank. I've wondered over the years if Sanders is the ideal back for this offense, but if he can come close to replicating outings like this when the passing attack needs to take a back seat, the Eagles are going to roll teams all season long. 

Look at the way he slithers between blockers and defenders alike on his first touchdown:

His vision on his second touchdown of the day is something I haven't seen from Sanders consistently in the past. He's patient. He knows when to deaccelerate and then, boom, he barrels his way into the end zone:

It was as complete of a game I've seen from Sanders.  

"I'm excited as heck," Sanders said to reporters after the game. Hey, the team's 4-0 for the first time since 2004. Why shouldn't he be? With more games like that, Sanders is going to have almost 70,000 people as excited as heck well into late January. 

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