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Eagles respond in a big way after tumultuous two weeks

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Following a tumultuous couple of weeks in Philadelphia that included a pair of blowout losses, criticism from anonymous teammates and former cornerback Orlando Scandrick teeing off on his former club, safety Malcolm Jenkins was asked whether he was interested in seeing how the Philadelphia Eagles would respond.

“I’m not interested to see,” he said after practice Friday. “I know we will respond.”

The Eagles did indeed respond in a 31-13 win against the Buffalo Bills that will calm some nerves both inside Philadelphia’s organization and out.

The running game had its most productive output under Doug Pederson as coach, racking up 218 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Miles Sanders was having a breakout game with 118 total yards and a touchdown before he exited in the second half with a shoulder injury. Jordan Howard picked up the slack with 96 rushing yards and a score.

Defensive end Brandon Graham paced an inspired defensive performance with two tackles for loss, a sack and a strip fumble on Bills quarterback Josh Allen that led to points on conjured-up memories of his heroics in Super Bowl LII, when he dislodged the ball from the grip of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Had the Eagles (4-4) lost in Buffalo, the wheels could have come off this season. But they rose to the occasion and now return home for a key three-game stretch against the Chicago Bears, Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Pivotal play: Sanders broke off a 65-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to give the offense a much-needed spark and extend the lead to 17-7. Credit Pederson for the play design. He deployed a rare two-back look and had Howard crash into the hole first to throw a block that sprang Sanders for the long run.

QB breakdown: It was less than ideal conditions for quarterback play with strong whipping winds throughout. Carson Wentz ended 17-of-24 for 172 yards with a touchdown and a 104.9 QB rating while adding 35 yards on eight carries. He made a few clutch plays, including a 38-yard toss down the right side to Alshon Jeffery that set up a second-half score, and a pair of first-down runs to help ice the game. Most importantly, the team responded under his leadership in a crucial spot.

Eye-popping next-level stat: With his touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert, Wentz now has 26 pass touchdowns targeting tight ends since the start of 2017. The only QB with more pass TDs to tight ends in that span is Russell Wilson (27), per ESPN Stats & Information.

via ESPN

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