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Eagles running on many cylinders | Sports Daily

Coach Nick Sirianni has apparently decided to quit pushing a square passing play into a round running hole.

It’s as if Nick Sirianni finally listened to all the fans yelling from the stands to run the ball. Or maybe he looked at the Eagles’ roster and realized that of all the things his football team does well, running the ball is something that can be done by the widest variety of options.

Jalen Hurts can run the ball well.

So can Miles Sanders. Jordan Howard. Boston Scott. Tight end Dallas Goedert, for his part, can haul in a short pass, even a not-great one, and then run pretty darn well. Even on defense, cornerback Darius Slay has proved he has wheels as well.

No matter how many pretty pass plays Sirianni might have written up in his little black playbook, perhaps he has finally decided to quit pushing a square passing play into a round running hole. He has decided to let his runners run, and so far, they’ve rewarded him, and all Eagles fans, with wins.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

The Eagles finally won at home — tell us what that means to you as a local fan:

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Early Birds

The Eagles have won three of their last four games to move into the discussion as a potential playoff team. And toward the end of Sunday’s 40-29 victory against the Saints, Hurts called game.

His 24-yard, ankle-breaking run for his third touchdown of the game left a defensive end on the turf and essentially ended New Orleans’ hopes of a comeback. If the Eagles were lacking an offensive identity before, it has emerged with Hurts using his feet to consistently find the end zone and his running backs and offensive line wearing out opposing defenses.

Is that the formula the Eagles can use to find their way to the playoffs? We’ll have to see. But in a league that features many mediocre teams and with the Eagles’ coming schedule an easy one on paper, don’t count them out.

Against the Saints’ vaunted rush defense, the game plan still worked. Hurts pulled off timely completions as well, with Goedert coming up with five catches in his first game since agreeing to a contract extension. And now it’s the New York Giants up next for the Eagles.

Off the Dribble

The 76ers haven’t had many bright spots in recent weeks. But while Joel Embiid is still out with COVID-19 and Ben Simmons remains mentally unfit to play, Tyrese Maxey has continued to emerge as a long-term answer at point guard.

The Sixers have lost six of their last seven games as Embiid, Simmons, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and Isaiah Joe all missed time for a number of reasons. In that time, Maxey has done his best to steady the team, averaging 24.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in the last seven games. The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey adds more details on Maxey’s emergence.

Next: The Sixers are somehow still playing out their six-game road trip. They will face the Kings at 10 p.m. Monday in Sacramento’s first game since firing coach Luke Walton.

On the Fly

Life is good. The Flyers are off to an 8-5-3 start.

Well, things might not be quite as good as they seem. The Flyers have lost two straight, and as Sam Carchidi writes, things are about to get tough.

The Flyers’ goaltending this season has papered over a lot of the team’s cracks, and with three games against playoff opposition this week, the Flyers are about to be tested. This week’s opponents have a combined record of 36-8-6, so the next three games will be a litmus test for the Flyers’ fortunes.

Next: The Flyers play in Tampa, Fla., against the Lightning on Tuesday night at 7 (NBCSP).

Fleet Street

The NWSL champions, the Washington Spirit, overcame difficulties in their season, including a coaching change amid abuse accusations and players subsequently coming out publicly against the team’s primary owner, Steve Baldwin, calling on him to sell his controlling stake in the club to Y. Michele Kang, a co-owner. Now, as champs, they might have more leverage in their demands.

The Union opened up their MLS playoffs with a banger of a winning goal that also made history as the latest-ever playoff score.

Next: The Union will find out their next opponent on Tuesday as the MLS playoffs continue.

Worth a look

  1. Frosh prince: Penn State battled a viral bug entering Saturday’s game vs. Rutgers, then starting QB Sean Clifford went down. But freshman Christian Veilleux delivered with three TD passes in a rout.

  2. Tired starters: Is Villanova deep enough to make a long run in the NCAA Tournament? Mike Jensen pondered the question after the Wildcats fell to Purdue, 80-74.

Your reactions

Sports Daily asked readers last week for their reactions to the Bryce Harper MVP news. Here’s a sampling.

Elated: The man has class, as a professional athlete, he has his priorities in the right place. — Kirby; Congratulations, Bryce Harper. Keep on leading us to the promised land! — Dave He is one of the top five in all of baseball and deserved this year’s MVP award. — John; Time for the Phillies to build a TEAM around Harper before it’s too late. — James; The thing I like best about Harper is that he plays baseball the way it is supposed to be played. Hard-nosed, in your face, all out. — Bryce; I never enjoyed watching baseball on television or in person until the pandemic hit and nothing else was on TV. I became a rabid fan of the Phillies and Bryce Harper. — Janis

Unimpressed: Juan Soto deserved it more. — Stephen; I’d be more impressed if they won the World Series. — Kim