The Washington Commanders have been a thorn in the Philadelphia Eagles’ side for three consecutive matchups. They won on Monday Night last November and have pushed the Eagles in two games this season. The Commanders even stuffed the Eagles’ most consistent play, the dreaded “Tush Push,” that I will never call the “Brotherly Shove.”
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On the goal line, the Eagles fumbled the snap and turned the ball over to the Commanders. It was like watching the Orlando Magic beat the Chicago Bulls in 1995, or George Foreman knocking out Joe Frazier in 1973. Something perceived to be unstoppable was halted in its tracks.
The Eagles would go on to win the game, 38-31. When they took over on downs, deep in Washington territory, with just over two minutes remaining, the win was theirs. All that they had to do was run off as much clock as possible and maybe kick a chip-shot field goal to up by two scores.
Even if the Eagles only went up 34-24, that late Commanders’ touchdown would have resulted in the same onside kick play that has an extremely low success rate in the modern-day NFL. However, the Eagles took a 38-24 lead shortly after the two-minute warning with a remix of the Tush Push.
Instead of hurling Jalen Hurts across the first-down line, they rocked the entire NFL world. He faked like he was going for the sneak and then pitched the ball to D’Andre Swift for a seven-yard touchdown. Maybe they should have just gone with their sneak play and then ran the clock out to avoid any late drama, but they put something on tape that will have opposing defense coordinators punching holes in their office windows.
Life just got real for the rest of the NFL. Opposing defenses have already been losing at a high percentage to the Eagles’ modified quarterback sneak. Now there is a wrinkle to the play in which a running back can accelerate up to full speed with grass in front of him.
What if the Eagles’ add a Florida Tim Tebow jump pass to this play? A.J. Brown plays wide receiver for them. He can be on the field for one of these yard-to-gain plays and leak out on a jet sweep or a quick pass.
The NFL world will never be the same after Week 8 of the 2023 season. Now loading up the line to stop the Tush Push leaves much larger yardage gains available. The Eagles have a better than 90 percent success rate on the play. If teams have to seal the edge, and maybe even drop a player into pass coverage, in 2024, the success rate will be 100 percent.
Those of you who hate the play, be prepared for that loathing to burn with the heat of a thousand suns. The Eagles have turned the Tush Push into a base formation that can be used to run more than a single.
Be afraid NFL. Be very afraid.