Now, the Players Are Questioning Eagles' Abandoning of the Run Game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The numbers speak for themselves.
Entire game: 56 pass plays, 13 running plays.
Second half: 38 pass plays, five running plays.
"In order to win games in this league, you have to able to run the ball," Lane Johnson said. "Unless you got Tom Brady, guys like that. But we have to run the ball. We have to take pressure off Carson."
Once again, Doug Pederson abandoned the run, and once again, Carson Wentz threw a ton of passes.
Wentz was 25 for 46 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the Eagles' 27-20 loss Sunday to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium (see breakdown).
Include six sacks and four Wentz scrambles, and that's 56 pass plays.
Darren Sproles ran 10 times for 48 yards - a respectable 4.8 per carry - but the Eagles had only three other runs by the running backs, and Sproles only ran three times in the second half.
Pederson said he abandoned the run in the second half because it wasn't working, but a 4.8 average is formidable.
"You can't be throwing the ball 40 times in a game," Zach Ertz said. "How many times did he throw today?
When told Wentz threw 46 times, Ertz continued:
"That's not ideal. Low 30s is probably where you want him at. Thirty runs, 30 passes, if you're going to get 60 plays.
"We want to be a balanced offense. We've got the linemen to do it, we've got the running backs to do it, we've got the tight ends to block, we've got the receivers to block, we've just got to go out there and put it together."
This, of course, has been an issue for two years under Pederson.
Last year, Wentz threw 607 passes, second-most ever by a rookie. He's now thrown 85 passes in two games this year, and his 692 career passes are one fewer than Andrew Luck for most passes in NFL history by a quarterback after 18 games.

He's thrown 45 or more passes six times in his career. Only two QBs in NFL history - Luck and Drew Bledsoe - have more 45-attempt games at this stage of their career.

Yet Pederson insists the running game is struggling.
"It's an area we have to address," Pederson said. "We have to fix offensively. Obviously, I was not pleased with how we ran the ball really in the first two weeks.
"It's not one individual, it's a team effort. We've got to fix that going forward."
But the numbers say the Eagles' backs averaged 4.0 yards per carry against the Chiefs, right around the league average of 4.1 (see Roob's observations).
On a day that LeGarrette Blount - who had 14 carries in the opener - didn't get a single carry, the only back other than Sproles with a carry was Wendell Smallwood. He ran three times for four yards but did have an eight-yard gain in the second half.
So was Pederson's observation the Eagles struggled to run the ball based on Smallwood's two first-half carries?
Pederson did admit that 56-to-13 is an untenable ratio.
"I would agree," he said. "That is not a balance for success. By no means do you want to do that at all."
Through two games, Pederson has called 85 pass plays and 41 running plays.
This is only the fourth time in franchise history the Eagles have run more than twice as many pass plays as running plays through two games.
This is also only the fourth time in franchise history the Eagles haven't had a running back with a 50-yard game after two games.
Their leading rusher going into Week 3?
Wentz, with 61 yards.
"There's no consistency on offense right now," Ertz said. "We're facing so many 3rd-and-longs. When we're facing 3rd-and-3 and 3rd-and-5, we'll be a good offense."
It's not like the game got away from the Eagles.
The Eagles either led or trailed by three or fewer points until the last 6½ minutes.
With Blount getting no carries, Donnel Pumphrey out for the year, Corey Clement getting no carries and Smallwood just three - including that eight-yard gain on his final touch of the day - it's difficult to understand how the running game struggled.
The only back with more than three carries averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
"Doug's calling the plays, I'm just going out there running them," right guard Brandon Brooks said. "Yeah, I wish we would have ran the ball more. But we didn't."

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