By Chris McPherson, Eagles.com
Tackle Lane Johnson said that the Eagles wanted to rediscover their identity as a running offense. Well, the Eagles were able to do just that Sunday as running back LeSean McCoy gained 130 yards on the ground for his second-highest total of the season and scored a touchdown in the 43-24 win.
One week after the Titans allowed Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell to gain 204 yards on the ground, McCoy chipped away with runs of 15 yards and 12 yards on the Eagles’ first offensive drive. The Titans crumbled early in the second quarter as McCoy was in vintage form as he gashed Tennessee with a 53-yard run down the left sideline. It was McCoy’s longest run of the year as he gained 100 yards exactly by halftime on just 14 carries (7.1 yards per carry). With the Eagles ahead by 17 points entering the game’s final quarter, McCoy traded a helmet for a baseball cap and was on the sideline basking in the glow of the win.
“We just stuck to it. Coming off the terrible loss to Green Bay, everybody focused in and had a terrific week of practice and we just stuck to it,” McCoy said. “I think everybody executed, they got the backs in one-on-one situations. The guys up front really, really blocked well. Even the guys outside, the wide receivers, they blocked well too so it was just all together. I think (Mark) Sanchez played good and made the right calls and the different reads, got points when we needed points and drove the ball well. Overall, we did well.”
McCoy has rushed for 218 yards in two games since a season-low 19-yard output in the rout of the Carolina Panthers. Head coach Chip Kelly said he was unhappy with the offense’s performance in that Monday night win over Carolina and the rushing attack was a big reason why. McCoy was at his best last December. He gained 598 yards rushing in the Eagles’ final five games as the team went 4-1 and won the NFC East. The Eagles will need McCoy, who has 859 yards on the season following Sunday’s win, to be performing at a peak level with games coming up at Dallas on Thanksgiving, vs. Seattle and against the Cowboys in the next three weeks.
“Even though everybody talks about it starting to be a passing league, I think late in the year, you really count on the running game to kind of take some time off the clock, to manage the game, take control over the game and kind of dominate it a little bit,” McCoy said. “So I think late in the year, you have to count on your running game.”
McCoy may not be leading the league in rushing like he did in 2013, although he is currently in third place despite the constant turnover up front as the offensive line unveiled its seventh different starting combination on Sunday with Andrew Gardner starting at right guard. McCoy refuses to look at the Tennessee win as a personal confidence booster. He just thinks it was a good game for the Eagles – as a whole.
“It’s (important) for the team that we all played well,” McCoy said. “You look at our offense. We threw the ball well. We ran the ball well. We made different plays when we needed to make them. Guys were blocked up, guys missed tackles. I don’t look at it like a confidence-type game if that’s what you’re talking about. I just think overall it was a good game for us.”