PHILADELPHIA — DeVonta Smith didn’t mince words when D’Andre Swift’s name was brought up. All Smith said was what the entire city of Philadelphia was thinking after Swift rushed for a career-high 175 yards in his first career start.
“Oh he’s amazing,” Smith said. “He’s a bad motherf—er.”
Limited to just two touches in Week 1, Swift was the starting running back because Kenneth Gainwell was out with a rib injury. The Philadelphia native made sure he’s the first-team running back for more than one start.
Swift finished with 28 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings, only the second time he’s rushed over 20 times in a game. The 175 yards were the most by any Eagles running back in a game in 10 years, as only LeSean McCoy had more rushing yards in a driving snowstorm in a 2013 victory over the Detroit Lions (Eagles fans remember that game well).
“I’m self-motivated,” Swift said on his career performance. “The way I prepare, week in and week out. I’m ready whenever. … That’s what I can do.”
Swift was even more impressive than the normal box score suggests. When the Vikings had the typical seven in the box, Swift averaged 7.6 yards per carry. The Eagles were in shotgun for all of Swift’s carries, as he averaged 6.3 yards per carry. On first down, Swift averaged 8.3 yards per rush.
He was the spark the Eagles needed when things were going lackluster on offense. When the Eagles needed someone to take over the game, Swift was the player they turned to.
“He just runs the ball,” said Eagles left guard Landon Dickerson. “He’s successful at it. He just finds the hole. He’s agile, he’s quick. He makes those cuts and gets those yards in key situations. … You just let him do his thing.”
The Eagles have been hoping someone in the running back-by-committee would take the reins as the No. 1 back. Gainwell was the player they trusted the most in camp because of his familiarity in the offense, and it showed throughout the summer. That was even more evident in Week 1 when Gainwell had 18 touches to Swift’s two.
The discrepancy of carries seems even more foolish after Swift had his first opportunity to be the lead dog in the pack.
“It was not anything that I didn’t know,” Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “He’s a great talent, a great player, and a great person and teammate. He took advantage of the opportunity that he had and he had a career day.
“I don’t know if he’s ever rushed for 175 (yards) but it was a hell of a job and we needed it from him.”
Swift’s teammates were waiting for a night like this from him. Plenty of them know the talent he possesses and how he adds another dimension to an already explosive offense.
“Oh man, he works very hard,” Smith said. “He deserved this, getting out there and getting those touches. Doing the things he can do. I’m very proud of him and very proud for him.”
Seems like the Eagles are ready to make Swift the RB1. Swift made the decision much easier for the braintrust.