The 4-0 Philadelphia Eagles have become known for their epic "tush push" move, the nearly infallible quarterback sneak that has become the annoyance of many a teams. In fact, there were this offseason in favor of changing the rule that allows runners to be assisted from behind, but the league did not modify it.
The Eagles utilized this special play in their 34-31 overtime victory over the Washington Commanders on Sunday, as Jalen Hurts converted a fourth-and-1 on the 50-yard line in the extra period to help set up the game-winning field goal. Is this play unfair? Or are the Eagles just better at it than everyone else? On his show, "The Edge with Micah Parsons," the Dallas Cowboys star defender called it a "cheat code."
"The Eagles have the best O-line in the game, so yes, it's a cheat code. They're unstoppable at it," said Parsons, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They have a quarterback who is squatting 600 [pounds], and he knows how to move his legs and push forward. So yes, it's OD."
The play certainly resembles a rugby scrum, which is why some believe it shouldn't be allowed in the game of football. However, it's not as automatic as the Eagles make it look. This weekend, the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants tried the "tush push." All three failed.
There is a technique that goes with this. How the interior offensive linemen get off the ball, how the quarterback pushes forward and which gap he chooses, plus the pushers on the back end have an important duty as well. For example, in the Giants' failure on Monday night, it appeared their three pushers were too far behind quarterback Daniel Jones -- something lamented by Peyton Manning on ESPN's "ManningCast" broadcast.
On Tuesday, Giants head coach Brian Daboll told reporters that center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and tight end Daniel Bellinger (knee) were injured on the failed "tush push," via The Athletic. Daboll also told reporters that his offense walks through this play, but that it's not a live practice rep the team works on. And that may be a reason it failed.
The Eagles have three things going for them when it comes to their "tush push" dominance: One, they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Two, they have a legitimate running back at quarterback who can squat 600 pounds and is tougher to take down in that situation than someone like Mac Jones. Three, the Eagles have more experience with this play, and it's likely something Nick Sirianni, his coaching staff and his players have worked on more than anyone else behind the scenes.
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All other teams
Can’t believe I’m doing this but I’m going to be putting together a whole breakdown with clips showing why the Eagles are so good at the tush push and how they are levels ahead of every team when it comes to the play.— Sean (@SeanTalksEagles) October 3, 2023
We’ve seen teams go 0/3 on the tush push this week. There’s… pic.twitter.com/Q3j9jWkQR8
So, Parsons is right. It is a cheat code. Not because Philly has figured out some loophole in the rules, but because the Eagles offense is well-constructed for these short-yardage situations.