The Philadelphia Eagles are 11-1 thanks to a ground game that’s produced 23 rushing TDs by players who combine to make just $5.2 million.
After the Philadelphia Eagles score a touchdown at home, you can hear their fight song played at Lincoln Financial Field and belted out by fans around the world. “Fly Eagles Fly” is the song’s title, but ironically, the Eagles are 11-1 mainly due to their dominant ground game.
Wide receiver A.J. Brown took over headlines ahead of Sunday’s 35-10 win over the Tennessee Titans, who traded him to Philly in the offseason, and excelled during it with eight catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. But the Eagles ran for two additional TDs to bring their season total to 23. That number not only leads the NFL but tied them for the third-most rushing TDs by any team through 12 games since 2000.
Only the 2006 San Diego Chargers and 2005 Seattle Seahawks had more, and both of those running games were led by two players in LaDanian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander who went on to win MVP in those years, the most recent RBs to win the league’s top individual award. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has nine of those TDs and is an MVP candidate but isn’t the favorite to win. The value Philly is getting out of its historically excellent running game has to be some of the most efficient football spending we’ve seen in a long time.
Hurts, Miles Sanders (nine TDs), Kenneth Gainwell (four), and Boston Scott (one), have combined for the Eagles’ rushing TDs and have a total 2022 cap hit of just $5.19 million according to Spotrac, an absurdly good value for a team with a $219 million payroll. It becomes even more insane when compared to the other top rushing teams in the league and how much they pay their TD scorers.
- The Dallas Cowboys‘ 19 rushing touchdowns were scored by Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, Malik Davis, Dak Prescott, and Peyton Hendershot. Their combined 2022 cap hit: $39.93 million.
- The Cleveland Browns‘ 18 rushing touchdowns were scored by Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jacoby Brissett, and Anthony Schwartz. Their combined 2022 cap hit: $17.22 million.
- The Detroit Lions‘ 18 rushing touchdowns were scored by Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. Their combined 2022 cap hit: $6.7 million.
- The Chicago Bears‘ 16 rushing touchdowns were scored by Justin Fields, David Montgomery, and Khalil Herbert. Their combined 2022 cap hit: $8.2 million.
Detroit and Chicago come a little bit close to approximating the immense value Philadelphia is getting from its running game, but the Eagles still got five and seven more TDs, respectively, than its NFC counterparts for less money. Not to mention Philadelphia is getting significantly more bang for its buck out of its backfield at 11 wins, three more than the Lions and Bears combined.
If the Eagles do indeed fly to their second Super Bowl title, it’ll largely be because of the historic value they’re getting from their hugely prolific ground game.
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