Sitting in a news conference after the Hawks’ 38-7 win over the Giants, Myles Saunders asked questions about his success, offensive line Jalen’s injury.
Then his face lit up when he was asked about Kenny Guinewell.
“Ah, man,” Sanders said. “I don’t know if you guys can see my reaction, but I’m so happy for him. The first 100-yard rushing game in the playoffs is big. I don’t think he knows how big that is, but I’m going to make sure he Yes. I’m proud of him.”
Well, Miles, if you need some help putting Gainwell’s accomplishments in perspective, we’ve got you covered.
Gainwell rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries and finished the fourth quarter with a 35-yard touchdown on Saturday night.
Gainwell, 23, became the seventh player in Eagles history to rush for more than 100 yards in the playoffs, and the three players ahead of him are all inducted into the Hawks Hall of Fame.
Steve Van Buren: 196
Wilbert Montgomery: 194, 1 TD
Brian Westbrook: 141, 1 TD
Brian Westbrook: 116 points, 2 touchdowns
Kenny Guinewell: 112, 1 TD
Donovan McNabb: 107
Heath Sherman: 105, 1 TD
Only eight players in NFL history have rushed to 100+ with fewer attempts in the playoffs, the last three being Colin Kaepernick, Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb.
And Gainwell became the first player selected in the fifth round or later since Justin Fossett in 2015 to rush to 100+ in the playoffs, and Gainwell is only the fourth in this century .
“I’ve tried to do everything I can all season to make sure I can go to this game and run and do my best and run as hard as I can,” Gainewell said. “I gave it my all all season, put in the work and believed in what I could do.”
There’s no doubt that Sanders has been the Hawks’ No. 1 guard all season, but Gainwell is a great addition. Most of his minutes came on third down and the Hawks’ 2-minute drills. Sanders, Gainewell and Boston Scott complement each other in a “one-two-three punch,” as Gainwell puts it.
Gainwell’s usage rate has been up and down all season, but he embraced his role entering his second NFL season.
“It’s been a bit of an ups and downs, but everyone knows I’m the third defender,” Guenwell said. “I went down for the third time. Every time I got an opportunity to go out there and help the team, I was so grateful. It just had its ups and downs, but I can’t say how I’m going to handle business there.”
The Hawks’ offense has reached new heights this season, but Gainwell’s numbers are actually down from his rookie season. As a rookie, he had 68 carries for 291 yards, five rushing touchdowns, 33 receptions for 253 yards and another score. In Year 2, Gainwell had 53 carries for 240 yards, 4 rushing touchdowns and 23 catches for 169 yards.
Not a huge drop, but not the expected production increase from Memphis’ second-year pro.
“Yeah, but I know my role and I’m going to play my role to the best of my ability,” Gainwell said. “I don’t take it for granted. I go out there and work really hard and stop as much as I can. When I do get the ball from beyond the arc, I execute.”
The Eagles will have to move quickly and start preparing for the 49ers in the NFC title game, but if Saturday’s mood is any indication, Lincoln will be rocking this weekend.
“It’s electric, man,” Gainwell said.
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