The Philadelphia Eagles have the third best rushing offense in the NFL. Sounds crazy, right? After all, Andy Reid’s pass to run ratio has been reported to be the highest in NFL history. This year, though, the Birds are getting production on the ground. Philadelphia’s 151.1 rushing yards per game are third in the league, and the Eagles’ 5.4 yards per carry lead the NFL.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – that it’s all because of Michael Vick. While Vick has accounted for 25 percent of the Eagles rushing yards, they’d still be 13th in the league without his 341 rushing yards, and that’s without subtracting any other quarterback’s totals.
While the Eagles yards per carry do come down from 5.4 to 4.88 without Vick’s numbers, that’s still second best in the NFL, just above the Raiders’ 4.85 yards per attempt. The only team with a higher per carry average would be the Houston Texans.
LeSean McCoy’s been no slouch either, with 4.7 yards per carry, good for a ninth place tie among running backs with at least 50 attempts this year. McCoy is also tied for 8th among running backs in rushing touchdowns, with 5 so far in 2010.
It appears the Eagles now have some depth in the backfield as well, with Jerome Harrison running for 109 yards on 11 carries in the 59-28 win over Washington on Monday night. Harrison’s 50-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was a thing of beauty, and his 8.8 yards per carry as an Eagle are likely to earn him more attempts.
If those numbers don’t drive the point home soundly enough, here are a few more interesting figures. The Eagles have had just 13 running plays stopped behind the line of scrimmage, the fewest in the NFL. That despite having the fourth fewest combined starts in the league along the offensive line.
Philadelphia also sits atop the NFL with 41 rushes of 10 or more yards, although Vick obviously plays a large part in that. But, at some point, you have to say so what? A run is a run. It moves the ball and it keeps the clock moving, so why not be as impressed by a run from Vick as any other Eagle, especially when the statistics above prove that the Eagles can move the ball on the ground with the best of them in a traditional sense as well.
For all of the attention the Eagles passing game has gotten this week, it’s reasonable to expect teams to focus more and more on slowing down Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin while spying on Vick. That could make the Eagles underrated rushing attack increasingly important down the stretch.
Follow Ryan Messick on Twitter.