The Philadelphia Eagles have found their new starting running back and his name is D’Andre Swift.
Following another uneven victory — this time in a 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings — the Eagles’ offensive MVP was none other than the former Detroit Lions running back, who ran for a career-high 175 rushing yards while starting for the injured Kenneth Gainwell.
It was a performance that was not only noteworthy because of the career-high stat line and the win — it was notable because it came at a time when Swift needed it most. Just four days prior in a 25-20 win over the New England Patriots, Philadelphia gave Swift just two touches during the game, leading reporters to question head coach Nick Sirianni on why he wasn’t utilizing his high-profile running back.
There should be no more questions following this game — Swift is the Eagles’ go-to running back.
“That’s what I can do,” Swift said following the game. “I didn’t even scratch the surface of what I can do yet.”
Swift turned in the highest single-game rushing total by an Eagles back since six-time Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy did it back in 2013. He was the catalyst for a Philadelphia offensive rushing attack that posted 259 yards on the day. The rushing performance also helped alleviate the mediocrity of the passing game, which saw Jalen Hurts throw for 193 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception while taking four sacks.
“He’s amazing, man. He’s a bad motherf*****,” said DeVonta Smith of Swift.
Swift’s breakthrough performance in his second game with the Eagles is what Philadelphia was hoping for when they traded a 2025 fourth-round draft pick to the Lions for Swift during the 2023 NFL Draft. The versatile running back was expected to enter the season as the starting running back before Philadelphia decided to start Gainwell in Week 1.
It’s no secret that Philadelphia struggled in the run game department in Week 1 against the Patriots. That was a rushing attack spearheaded by Gainwell, where he posted just 54 rushing yards on 14 carries for 3.9 yards per carry. The team as a whole averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in the win over the Patriots.
By comparison, the Eagles averaged 5.4 yards per carry while rushing for three total touchdowns in their win over the Vikings. Their 259 rushing yards far exceeded the 147.6 rushing yards per game Philadelphia averaged during the 2022 season, the fifth-highest total in the NFL last season.
After allowing Pro Bowler Miles Sanders to walk in free agency following his four-year, $25.4 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, finding a new franchise running back was perhaps the Eagles’ biggest glaring hole entering Week 2 of the 2023 season.
Following their narrow Week 1 victory, there were major questions surrounding the Eagles and how they planned to solve their running game woes. Swift silenced those questions rather quickly with his dominant performance in Week 2.
In a game in which the Eagles struggled drastically in slowing down Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, Swift and Philadelphia’s rushing attack helped control the time of possession, holding the ball for 39:28 in comparison to Minnesota’s 20:32.
The most impressive drive of the night wasn’t any of the Eagles’ four touchdown drives — it was a drive that ended in a punt. While leaning on eight running plays — four by Swift — Philadelphia ran 15 plays for 44 yards while running off nine minutes heading into the fourth quarter.
That grind-it-out, clock-chewing game plan proved pivotal as the Vikings ended up scoring two touchdowns during the final 11 minutes of the game. Minnesota averaged 6.8 yards per play. For an understanding on how prolific that is, the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs led the league with 6.3 yards per play.
The Eagles struggled on defense and the passing game was a bit sluggish. It didn’t matter in the end due to Swift’s rushing dominance.
As Philadelphia continues to regain its offensive dominance from last season while playing under first-year offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, leaning on Swift to complement Hurts will likely prove pivotal as the Eagles seek another Super Bowl bid this season.