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Running Game Perseveres Without Jalen Hurts and After Jeff Stoutland Scare

The Eagles ran for 185 yards Sunday in a 33-18 win over the Jets, though their O-line coach was rushed to the hospital before the game

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - There was no Jalen Hurts adding 60 yards to the final total, no Jordan Howard to drag tacklers to the chains, and only the presence of Boston Scott, who spent the week battling a non-COVID-19 illness.

From there you had the usual attrition on the offensive line with Nate Herbig settling in at right guard and Jason Kelce getting banged-up again late in the contest.

The curveball this week was a serious one with highly-regarded offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland being taken to a local hospital for tests after falling ill.

Through it all, however, the NFL’s No. 1 ranked rushing offense still managed to pile up 185 total yards in a 33-18 win over the New York Jets, not quite up to their recent standard of 200-plus games but clear of its season average of 159.7.

Without Hurts, who leads the Eagles in rushing with 695 yards and eight rushing touchdowns, Miles Sanders was the workhorse. 

Sanders carried it a career-high 24 times for 120 yards, the first time any Eagles' rusher cleared the century mark this season, before leaving late in the game when he tweaked the same ankle that caused him to miss three games earlier in the season and knocked him out again against the Giants last week.

Rookie complement Kenny Gainwell hit his career-high in rushing with 54 yards on 12 carries with an 18-yard TD.

RELATED: Gardner Minshew Leads String of Standouts in 33-18 win over Jets

And the best news of all was Stoutland returning in the second quarter after his assistant, Roy Istvan, held down the fort.

As good as the performance was, the bigger concern was Stoutland, who has piloted this offensive line through mind-numbing twists and turns over the last two seasons.

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“He went through something in pregame and they wanted to take him to get evaluated. He did and he was back on the sidelines and I was able to give him a hug,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “I was just happy to see him on the sideline and know that he was through the situation he had went through.”

Kenny Gainwell on his way to an 18-yard TD run vs. Jets

Kenny Gainwell on his way to an 18-yard TD run against the Jets.

“That was scary when I didn’t really know,” All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson admitted. “I was just told before that he was rushed to the hospital. When that happens, you’re concerned for him, but Roy came in and filled in for him. Anytime you have something like that it’s a scary situation.”

Somehow the O-Line was able to keep so much focus that Sirianni brought them up first when discussing Gardner Minshew’s spectacular relief performance at quarterback in place of the injured Hurts, one that produced a 133.7 passer rating for the backup QB.

RELATED: Gardner Minshew's Stock Spikes as Eagles Rout Jets, 33-18

“Obviously, it always starts up front and how the protection is going. I thought the protection was awesome,” the coach said. “Not to take anything away from Gardner. He played a great game.”

From here the Eagles have a little respite in the form of a late-bye week where perhaps Sanders can calm his ankle down and Kelce can get right.

There are two things you can back on moving forward: the next challenge is coming and the Eagles’ running game will overcome it.

“It’s just good steps moving forward, honestly, knowing that we have to win these games,” Sanders said. “Getting the win before the bye week and having the extra week to get some rest and get back healthy and hopefully make this run. We all know what we got in front of us, and we know what we have to do.”

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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.