At the point Dallas Goedert got hurt in the second Commanders game, Jack Stoll had four catches for 49 yards in 10 games.
Quez Watkins had 12 catches for 134 yards and one touchdown in 10 games.
And the Eagles’ running backs had combined for 21 catches and an NFL-low 89 yards.
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Who was going to pick up the slack?
Turns out it was all of them.
Here we are three weeks later, and Stoll is coming off a career-best four-catch, 41-yard game, Watkins has 12 catches and 162 with two TDs since Goedert’s injury and the running backs had their biggest game of the year Sunday against the Titans with 6-for-57.
Add it up, and Stoll, Watkins, Sanders, Gainwell and Scott averaged a combined 27 yards per game before the Goedert injury. And they’re averaging 84 yards per game since.
The Eagles needed to find new ways to move the ball in Goedert’s absence, and they have.
And once Goedert gets back – presumably a week from Sunday in Chicago – all of a sudden the Eagles will have some weapons they didn’t know they had before he got hurt.
“It will still always be an issue of you only have one ball to spread around,” Nick Sirianni said. “Obviously, when Dallas comes back you're going to want to get him involved just like you wanted to get him involved before he got hurt. But it is nice that the guys are stepping up in his absence and making plays, which is only going to make it more difficult to defend.
“When you gain that confidence in guys, you say to yourself, ‘Well, maybe I can have one more play for him or one more play for that.’ It definitely forces you as a coach to think about how you are going to get all these guys the ball.”
A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Goedert will always be the three centerpieces of the offense when they’re healthy.
But it’s good to have options.
“Yeah, absolutely,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “When someone goes down, everyone has got to step up, and as coaches you've got to be creative in putting guys in different spots and then those guys have to go execute the plan, which they've been doing a heck of a job at. I love the group because everyone is so selfless, and it's all about winning.”
It's really incredible what the Eagles were able to do offensively while a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
In three full games without Goedert, the Eagles are 3-0, averaging 31 points and 422 yards.
Once Goedert is back, the offense will once again be mainly Brown, Smith and Goedert.
But you have to think that Steichen, the Eagles’ play caller, and Jalen Hurts, the guy distributing the ball, will have more trust now in Watkins, Stoll and the running backs than a month ago.
And the more legit options they have, the more dangerous this offense is.
“The offense ran through those three guys, and when Dallas gets back, when that happens, we'll be obviously excited to get him (and) the offense will still go through those three guys,” Sirianni said.
“But then you are going to just have some things in your mind, well, he made a play here, he made a play there and we have to give Quez the ball because Quez is really dangerous with the ball.
“It will definitely make us harder to defend and people will have to plan for everybody on that side of the ball to stop.”
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