Miles Sanders carted off with ankle injury after strong start; Eagles defense falling apart vs. Raiders

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LAS VEGAS – The Eagles’ plan to get Miles Sanders the ball early and often was working perfectly.

And then Sanders got hurt near the end of the first quarter, suffering an ankle injury on a pass that lost three yards.

Sanders was helped off the field, then onto a cart. The Eagles listed him as questionable to return, but he didn’t for the rest of the first half.

The Eagles trailed the Las Vegas Raiders 17-7 at the break after Josh Jacobs’ 8-yard TD run with 1:38 left in the half, followed by a fumble by Kenny Gainwell that led to a field goal with 2 seconds left.

The Eagles scored on the opening drive as Sanders ran the ball 5 times for 25 yards. But the Eagles couldn’t get anything going after he got hurt.

The Eagles played their first game without tight end Zach Ertz, who was traded Oct. 15 to Arizona. But they got back two key offensive starters back in tight end Dallas Goedert, who missed the last game because he was on the COVID-19 list; and right tackle Lane Johnson, who is returning after missing three games for a mental health illness. 

Miles Sanders carted off with ankle injury after strong start; Eagles defense falling apart vs. Raiders
© Matt Slocum, AP Philadelphia Eagles free safety Anthony Harris (28) runs on to the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Awful first half for defense

The Eagles defense couldn’t stop the Raiders offense throughout the first half, even after star tight end Darren Waller was ruled out before the game with an ankle injury.

The Eagles allowed the Raiders to pile up 273 yards of offense in the first half. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was 21 of 23 for 215 yards in the first half. His only incompletions were Avonte Maddox’s interception on a ball that was deflected in the first quarter, and an incompletion just before halftime.

Eagles used their RB, and he gets hurt

The Eagles opened the game with a strong opening drive, keyed by handoffs to Miles Sanders.

Sanders, used sparingly the last four games, carried 5 times for 25 yards on that drive. He had back-to-back carries for 16 yards after Goedert’s 24-yard reception gave the Eagles a first down at the Raiders’ 14.

One play later, Jalen Hurts hit Gainwell over the middle for a 13-yard TD.

But on the next series, Sanders was hurt after catching a pass from Hurts that ended up losing three yards. Sanders suffered a leg injury and was helped off the field. He was then taken on a cart into the locker room.

The Eagles announced that Sanders has an ankle injury and his return is questionable.

Eagles safety, Raiders star out

The Eagles announced that starting safety Anthony Harris isn’t playing Sunday because of both hand and groin injuries. Harris had played every defensive snap until suffering the injury in the first quarter against Tampa Bay.

Harris returned later in that game. But apparently his injury didn’t improve enough to play.

That means Rodney McLeod, playing in just his fourth game this season after recovering from ACL surgery last December, will be counted on to play the entire game. McLeod has played 72% of the snaps in each of the three games. Marcus Epps will start next to him.

As for the Raiders, star tight end Darren Waller was ruled out with an ankle injury. Waller was added to the injury report Saturday and listed as questionable. He’s a key part of the Raiders’ offense, with 33 catches for 378 yards.

Eagles inactives

In addition to Harris, the Eagles left the following players off the game-day roster: CB Tay Gowan, who was acquired in the Ertz trade, CB Mac McCain, C/G Jack Anderson, G Sua Opeta and DT Marlon Tuipulotu.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Miles Sanders carted off with ankle injury after strong start; Eagles defense falling apart vs. Raiders

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