Nick Sirianni admitted what we all already knew.
He didn’t use Miles Sanders enough.
Sanders, who began this past weekend 15 yards behind Saquon Barkley for the NFC rushing lead, didn’t get his first touch in the Eagles-Bears game Sunday until 6:41 left in the second quarter. By then the Eagles had run 15 offensive plays.
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It was the first time this year Sanders didn’t have a carry in the first quarter.
He ran just three times in the first half for 12 yards and finished the game with just 11 carries for 42 yards. The only times he had fewer carries this year were in blowout wins against the Steelers and Titans when the backups finished the game. The Eagles ran 71 plays and 55 involved Jalen Hurts either running or throwing.
“We’ve got to get him the ball more,” Sirianni told Mike Quick on the NBC10 postgame show. “We’ve got to do a little bit more called runs. That’s on me. That’s on me. Me and Shane (Steichen) will get that done. Just a couple more called runs and get him in a groove."
Sanders, 25, ranks 5th in the NFL with 1,110 rushing yards, 5th with 11 rushing touchdowns and 2nd among running backs with a 5.2 rushing average.
He's on pace to become the first Eagle ever with 1,000 rushing yards, 10 or more touchdowns and a 5.0 average.
The Eagles beat the Bears 25-20 and they did net 421 yards of offense and 309 net passing yards. But with Sanders a non-factor for much of the game, the offense never did get into a rhythm, and the heavy workload on Hurts may have caught up with the Eagles with the shoulder injury that will likely sideline him for the Cowboys game Saturday.
Sanders had just the one carry until the Eagles got the ball back with 2:49 left in the first half trailing 6-3. By that point, the Eagles had run 19 plays, just one a Sanders run.
But Steichen, the Eagles’ play caller, dialed up Sanders on the first two plays of that late second-quarter drive and he ran for six and five yards on his second and third carries of the first half.
Sanders added an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter on the drive that ended with Jake Elliott missing a 38-yard field goal.
“Sometimes when you call some reads or you call RPOs you’re dictated by what the defense does,” Sirianni said. “But you don’t want to be extreme in any way.
“We need to get Miles a couple more touches in that first half to let him get going. He had some nice carries going into the two-minute drive of the first half and then he had some good carries to start off the (second half), but we’ve got to get him going a little bit earlier. That’s my mistake and we’ll get that fixed."
On his WIP radio show Tuesday morning, Sirianni emphasized that the Bears – although they entered the game ranked 27th in rush defense – sold out against the run Sunday, which opened things up for the passing game.
A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith became the first Eagles wide receiver duo ever to combine for 300 yards.
“I know what they’re ranked in the run (defense) game, but if a team wants to say, ‘I’m going all in and you’re going to have to throw to beat us,’ we’re lucky that we’re able to be balanced and be able to adjust to say, ‘OK, you’re going to do that, we’re going to do this.’ And A.J. had 181 yards and DeVonta had 126. [...]
“We knew we could hurt them on the outside. We threw the crap out of it because we knew we had an advantage.”