LANDOVER, Md. — After Sunday’s 37-27 win against the Washington Redskins, in which Miles Sanders paced the offense with 172 yards and two scores, veteran players on the Philadelphia Eagles were casually comparing the rookie to some of the best running backs of the past decade.
“He is on that Shady level. He’s smooth,” Peters said. “He can catch, split him out, same as we did with Shady. He’s going to be a good one.”
Standout right guard Brandon Brooks, meanwhile, argued he’s more like his former teammate in Houston, Arian Foster.
“Arian at his peak, there was nothing he couldn’t do: receive out of the backfield, making guys miss, taking the ball [the distance]. We ran a zone back then — one cut downhill. He reminds me of him a lot,” Brooks said.
Whatever comp you gravitate toward, the production can’t be denied.
With all three of the Eagles’ top receivers injured, and lead running back Jordan Howard sidelined since Week 9 with a stinger, Sanders is precisely the type of do-it-all player Philadelphia needed to emerge. On Sunday, he played the role of lead back, rushing for 122 yards and a score, as well as the role of a reliable receiver, making six catches on as many targets for 50 yards, including a beauty of a third-quarter pass and catch with quarterback Carson Wentz in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard TD.
That performance moved him past McCoy for most rushing yards as a rookie in franchise history (687) and ahead of DeSean Jackson for most rookie all-purpose yards (1,120).
“This stuff doesn’t feel real, but I don’t want to make this about me,” Sanders said. “It’s great to be mentioned with those guys, to be in the same conversation as those guys, but I was focused on getting this ‘W’. We know what we have at stake.”
What’s at stake is an NFC East title. The Eagles need to beat the Dallas Cowboys at home Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox) to position themselves to claim the divisional crown. With Alshon Jeffery and Jackson on injured reserve, and question marks continuing to surround the health of Howard and Nelson Agholor, Sanders becomes a central figure in the season-ending drama.
“Early on I think he was a little bit overwhelmed,” center Jason Kelce said of Sanders’ development. “He’s got that burst, and sometimes that can be a little bit of a negative if you use it at the wrong moment. And I think what you’re seeing now is a guy who is patient and when he sees the thing open up, he sees where he wants to go, he hits it. The athleticism that he has, the big-play ability that he has, that’s something that quite frankly we’ve needed on this offense, and it’s been really good that he’s been able to provide it.”