The Eagles got the ball with just 5:22 left in the fourth quarter and got to work.
In front of a crowd that had already chanted “Run the ball!” loud enough that the head coach couldn’t deny he heard it, the Eagles began to, well, run the ball.
“It was real big. It was important we got it going,” D’Andre Swift said. “Anytime one of our numbers get called, run game gets called, we try to execute for the team.”
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The 4-minute drill is something the Eagles were great at in 2022 but haven’t been so great at in 2023. But the Eagles had some real success on Monday in their 33-25 win over the Giants.
The Eagles got the ball with 5:22 left and took 4:12 off the clock with a 9-play, 50-yard drive. They forced the Giants to burn their timeouts and left them with 1:10 and needing eight points to tie the game.
“Really important,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “Gosh, feels like we’ve had a bunch of four-minute drives this year, sometimes being successful, sometimes not. We spend a lot of time working on that. Again, some of those runs by [Swift] and the offensive line to open it up, and the tight ends, it was just a good team effort to take that clock down, be able to — you know, sometimes what’s not said sometimes in the four-minute drive is the field goal was huge to put us up eight.
“Getting them to use their timeouts was huge. Management of the game by Jalen (Hurts) to hold the huddle, break the huddle at a certain point to make sure we’re using every second of the clock.”
Swift started the drive with 5 straight runs for 48 yards, including a couple that will end up in his season highlight reel.
The best play of the drive came when Swift was able to reverse field, pick up a first down and slide in bounds to force the Giants to use a timeout.
“The play to the right kind of got bottled up,” Swift said. “Tried to make something happen. Shoutout to Jalen getting in the way, getting a good block. Was able to slide and keep the clock moving.”
Late in the second quarter, the Eagles had some time management blunders as they tried to get points before going into the locker room. But Swift showed great situational awareness to keep the clock ticking.
The other highlight play?
He took a handoff out of pistol, busted through the line, hurdled Giants safety Dane Belton and picked up 17 yards.
How does Swift decide when to hurdle a defender?
“I didn’t. It just kind of happened,” he said. “I still gotta go back look at the play see exactly how it happened. It was just an in-the-moment type of thing.”
After those five runs for 48 yards, Swift was bottled up on the next two. He lost one yard and then lost four, setting up a 3rd-and-15. So Hurts hit Devonta Smith for a 7-yard gain before Jake Elliott nailed a 43-yard field goal to push the lead to eight.
The Eagles obviously would have preferred to get a touchdown on that drive but they were still able to burn clock and basically eliminate the chance of the Giants winning in regulation.
“That’s what we talk about as an offense, 4-minute, closing games,” Smith said. “We want to finish the game with the ball in our hands. Unfortunately, we only got 3 but we still won. We got something rather than us getting nothing.”
The Eagles’ running backs had a good game, combining for 174 scrimmage yards on 30 touches. Swift didn’t catch a pass but had 20 carries for 92 yards (4.6) and a touchdown.
That’s his highest rushing total in a game since Week 3 and he’s just 12 yards shy of his first-career 1,000-yard rushing season.
“That’s a great bench mark for any running back,” Swift said. “Close to it or whatever. As long as we winning, that’s really all I care about.”
Sometimes those things go hand-in-hand.