You’d think the opener in New England might have left D’Andre Swift wondering where he fit in.
One carry for three yards in the fourth quarter. One catch for no yards. Just 19 snaps, most of them spent watching Kenny Gainwell total 74 scrimmage yards on 18 touches.
This is what life with the Eagles was going to be like?
And maybe Swift wasn’t thrilled to be a non-factor in the Week 1 win over the Patriots, but instead of complaining about his role, he just prepared for Week 2 the same way he prepared for Week 1.
“Frustrated? No, we got the win,” he said at his locker. “I wouldn't say frustrated. Just we have to prepare and be ready for another opportunity to come out here and play.”
And he was sure ready.
With Gainwell inactive Thursday with a rib injury, Swift took over the Vikings game, rushing 28 times for a career-high 175 yards in the Eagles’ 34-28 win at the Linc.
Running through gaping holes carved out by the Eagles’ offensive line, the Philly native and St. Joe’s Prep graduate wiped out his previous career high of 144 yards, which he set on opening day last year against the Eagles at Ford Field in Detroit.
“He’s a great talent, a great player, and a great person and teammate,” Jalen Hurts said. “He took advantage of the opportunity that he had and he had a career day. I don’t know if he’s ever rushed for 175, but it was a hell of a job and we needed it from him.”
They needed it because Hurts and the Eagles’ passing game has yet to find itself two weeks into the season.
On their first two drives Thursday night, the Eagles ran 12 plays and only one was a designed run.
At that point they led 3-0, but the offense was sputtering, and it was clear something had to change.
Next drive, Swift got the ball on the first play. Seven yards. Then four yards. Then 12 yards. Hmmm. Maybe we're onto something here.
Early in the second quarter, now trailing 7-3 and with the passing game still doing nothing, Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson just decided to trash the playbook and give Swift the ball every play until the Vikings proved they could stop him.
They still haven’t.
Swift ran for 112 yards after halftime, 68 in the fourth quarter in recording the most yards by an Eagle since LeSean McCoy ran for a franchise-record 217 yards against Swift’s old team, the Lions, in 2013.
Swift’s 175 yards are 13th-most in Eagles history. Only Shady (three times), Wilbert Montgomery, Steve Van Buren and Timmy Brown (two times each) and Bryce Brown, Duce Staley (Swift’s former coach) and good ol’ Swede Hanson in 1934 have had more yards in a game for the Eagles.
He also had the most yards by a player the Eagles didn’t draft since Brown’s 180-yard game against the Cards at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 1965. Brown was a 27th-round pick of the Packers in 1959 before starring for the Eagles.
It was also the 4th-most yards by an Eagle in a prime-time game – Shady has the record with 185 against the Cowboys on a Sunday night at the Linc in 2011.
Swift’s 43-yard run with 4 ½ minutes left was the Eagles’ longest run since Miles Sanders’ 82-yarder against the Saints back in 2020 and essentially put the game away.
“Should have scored,” he said. “Should have scored. I know that for sure.”
Swift did score two plays later to give the Eagles a two-possession lead with just over four minutes left.
Swift showed tremendous vision and balance and ran with a rare combination of speed, power and elusiveness.
Watching him run Thursday night you couldn't help wonder what on Earth the Eagles were thinking ignoring him Sunday.
“It’s a blessing, especially home opener, first game, playing in the stadium (for the first time),” Swift said. “There’s a lot to work on, a lot that needs to get better. I’m looking forward to watching the film and taking it to the next level.”
Gainwell should be back a week from Monday, when the Eagles face the Buccaneers in Tampa. Let’s not forget Boston Scott, who ran eight times for 40 yards Thursday night before leaving with a concussion. Rashaad Penny got his first three carries as an Eagle for nine yards.
But it’s hard to imagine anybody but Swift as the Eagles’ lead back moving forward.
The Eagles desperately needed someone to take over the game Thursday night, and Swift responded.
“He's just real fast, he just hits it,” Jordan Mailata said. “That's why you practice, man. You kind of get a feel of where the ball is going to hit, and you trust that the running back is going to see that hole and it's like the blast, you know? A gust of wind when he hits it. You feel it.”