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Punishing Ground Attack, Sack-Happy Defense Spark Blowout Win in Detroit

Eagles sacked Jared Goff six times while Boston Scott and Jordan Howard each scored two rushing touchdowns in 44-6 win that saw Philly rack up 236 yards on the ground
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This is a win that many may pooh-pooh.

It was the Lions, the critics will say.

Nevertheless, it was a Detroit team that nearly beat the Baltimore Ravens and came close against the Los Angeles Rams last week and others all season long.

The Eagles won’t apologize.

This was a game they needed, an easy, breezy, 44-6 triumph at Ford Field on Sunday. It was their largest margin of victory since hammering the Chicago Bears, 55-11, in 2013.

It was a game reduced to the game’s two simplest elements – pound the ball on the ground and get after the quarterback.

The Eagles did both in spectacular fashion, and the dominating outing snapped a two-game losing streak and upped their record to 3-5 with a visit from the Los Angeles Chargers next week.

It would have been easy for Nick Sirianni to take the cheese.

The Eagles head coach could have easily lined up and thrown the ball against a Lions defense down to deep reserves at cornerback.

Instead, Sirianni ran right at the Lions, unleashing Boston Scott and Jordan Howard in a punishing display of physicality.

"It’s always going to start up front," said Sirianni. "The way those guys were pushing it around was really, I think Miles (Sanders) would have had a big game, too. I don’t want to take anything away from Boston or Jordan because they played phenomenal games, but it started up front. They got behind their pads and they finished the job when the offensive line got the push."

It was the first time the O-line did not allow a sack all season, and they had to do it after right guard Jack Driscoll suffered a hand injury in the first quarter and was relieved by Nate Herbig for the remainder of the game.

"I don't want to say it was a statement win," said Lane Johson, who talked on FOX's pregame show about his battle with anxiety and depression, "but it was a good win."

RELATED: Lane Johnson Opens Up on Anxiety and Depression Issues in FOX Interview

The Eagles led 41-0 before the Lions (0-8, losers of 12 in a row) finally put points on the board with 7:14 to play, spoiling a crazy stat. Had the Eagles managed the shutout, it would have been their first while scoring 40-plus points since they beat the New York Bulldogs in 1949.

Scott and Howard each scored two touchdowns as the Eagles ran for a season-high 236 yards on 40 runs.

It was the first time the Eagles have rushed for 200-plus yards and four touchdowns since Dec. 22, 2013, vs. the Chicago Bears. 

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The last time it happened on the road was more than 40 years ago when they did it on Sept. 14, 1980, against the Minnesota Vikings. It was also in that game that the Eagles had two rushing touchdowns from two different players, with Leroy Harris and Wilbert Montgomery doing it.

Jalen Hurts didn’t have to throw much, attempting just 14 passes, but he added 71 yards rushing on seven carries.

For once, though, Hurts didn’t have to do it all on the ground.

Scott had 60 yards on 12 carries. He was 10 yards away from tying a career-high for yards in a game set against the Cowboys last year.

Howard had 57 yards on 12 carries after being elevated from the practice squad on Saturday to help offset the loss of Miles Sanders, who had been put on Injured Reserve on Friday.

Jalen Reagor's legs helped set up Eagles first score vs. Lions

Jalen Reagor's legs helped set up the Eagles' first TD of the game vs. Lions

Jalen Reagor's legs helped set up the Eagles' first TD, gaining 21 yards on two carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury and not returning.

It was 17-0 at halftime then the Eagles poured it on in the third quarter, scoring 21 points, including twice in an 11-second span.

Howard scored his second of the day then it was cornerback Avonte Maddox who punched the ball loose from D’Andre Swift. Darius Slay scooped and scored from 33 yards away.

Slay spent the first seven years of his career with the Lions, and it was the second TD of his career. The first came in 2018 when he was still with the Lions.

Maddox was playing his first game back in his hometown since entering the league in 2018 and had purchased 35 tickets for his former high school team at Martin Luther King, including the coaching staff. He flipped the ball to his dad in the stands after Slay’s TD.

"That was Detroit on Detroit right there," said Maddox, who added that his father has been there every step of the way in his career.

It was the second defensive TD by the Eagles' defense this year. The first came against the Cowboys in Week 3 when Fletcher Cox scored on a Dak Prescott fumble in the end zone forced by Javon Hargrave.

The Eagles piled up six sacks against Detroit quarterback Jared Goff and hit him another 11 times.

Josh Sweat did the honors twice, sacking Goff both times in the first quarter, making him the first Eagle to record two sacks in the first quarter of a game since Connor Barwin did it on Dec. 16, 2015, vs. New England.

Derek Barnett notched his first sack of the season, this one on third down with Detroit near midfield.

Rookies Milton Williams and Tarron Jackson notched their first career sacks with Hassan Ridgeway adding his second of the season.

Garbage time came early, with Gardner Minshew getting his first snaps of the season in relief of Hurts in the fourth quarter. Minshew completed both his throws for 11 yards.

Tight end Dallas Goedert had six catches for 72 yards.

"I don’t want to say relief, it’s Round Eight to us," said Sirianni about the win. "(Sunday) was Round Eight for us. My message to them was, 'Hey, sometimes it just takes a big round. It takes a round where you cut somebody and win a round to build some momentum.'"

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.