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DeMarco Murray thrives as Eagles offense generates plays

Eagles running back DeMarco Murray had a season-best 109 yards on 22 carries against the Giants on Monday night. Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA -- The running game was always meant to be the cornerstone of the Philadelphia Eagles' offense. So when the run game was out of sync early in the season, everything else was affected, too.

Finally, six games into the 2015 season, the Eagles' running game appears to be running properly. In Monday night's 27-7 victory over the New York Giants, the Eagles rushed for 155 yards on 37 carries.

DeMarco Murray, who had 11 yards on 21 carries after the first two games, ran the ball 22 times for 109 yards against the Giants.

That was Murray's second solid game in a row. He gained 83 yards on 20 carries a week earlier against the New Orleans Saints. But the Saints have the NFL's 30th-ranked run defense. The Giants were at No. 1 going into Monday's game.

"I feel like we have been converting third downs more," Murray said after the game. "I feel like a lot of guys are playing well. The receivers are making plays downfield. The offensive line was blocking a lot better. We're running the ball more physical and running through some tackles."

For perhaps the first time this season, Murray looked like the back who led the NFL in rushing last year with the Dallas Cowboys. And the Eagles offense looked like the offense that ran the ball effectively with LeSean McCoy as the lead running back in 2013 and 2014.

Murray's 12-yard touchdown run was precisely the kind of play the Eagles weren't producing early in the season.

"When you watched his touchdown run, the entire front … had two great double teams," coach Chip Kelly said. "Both tight ends did a really nice job. Then DeMarco got up to the free safety and that was the free safety he beat, kind of with a stiff arm, and knocked him to the ground. When you have a run play that pops and gets to the free safety, then that means the front seven did their job and they all did their job on that play."

It all starts up front.

"Our offensive line is executing," Kelly said. "We have not changed any schemes; we are doing the same things we have always done. But I think our offensive line is starting to come together and gel and they are executing and really getting good push at the point of attack."

One key to Kelly's uptempo offense, as Murray mentioned, is getting it started. Getting that first first down of a drive is the key. Until then, the opposing defense can focus on forcing a quick punt and getting off the field. The Eagles' first drive Monday night lasted just 46 seconds.

But once the Eagles start moving the chains, the tempo begins to have an effect. The whole idea behind the tempo is to run a lot of plays, tiring the opposing defense out. The Eagles had a slight edge in time of possession Monday night -- 30 minutes, 30 seconds to the Giants' 29 minutes, 30 seconds -- but that translated into the Eagles running a total of 76 offensive plays to the Giants' 64 plays.

"It all goes back to getting more plays and converting on third down," Murray said. "I think we're all on the same page and we'll continue to get better."