The stats show LeSean McCoy was once again bottled up and stymied. He rushed for just 44 yards. He carried the ball 12 times. He averaged just 3.7 yards per rush.
McCoy only saw the outcome, a 49-20 rout of the Raiders in which his quarterback went berserk, his team racked up 542 offensive yards and the Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak to get their mojo back.
“I‘m not frustrated,” said McCoy, who was held under 56 rushing yards for the third straight game and fourth time in in his past five. “We were scoring and striking every chance we had the ball. I thought if I had the ball about 20-something times, I probably would have over 100.
“You can’t really worry about that kind of stuff. The individual yards and stuff will still come out at the end. The biggest thing is winning. I’d rather be winning than have a ton of yards. Plus, I mean, I’m still leading the NFL in rushing, so I can’t be that pissed.”
McCoy’s rushing took a backseat to a resurgent passing game led by Nick Foles, who threw for 406 yards and tied an NFL record by tossing seven touchdowns. The way McCoy sees it, his success from earlier this year, when he put up video game-like statistics, helped clear open the door for Foles’ historic day.
The Raiders frequently played man coverage and brought an extra safety into the box, a strategy the Cowboys and Giants employed with success during the Eagles’ two-game losing streak.
It just so happened that Foles had imploded against Dallas, and the Eagles were forced to juggle an injured Mike Vick with an unprepared Matt Barkley the following weekend against the Giants. Without fearing the passing game, the Cowboys and Giants zeroed in on McCoy, who ran just 32 times for 103 yards combined in the two losses.
The Raiders tried the same strategy, but Foles made them pay. And if the Packers are the next to play single-high safety, McCoy said they’ll pay, too.
“They’re trying to do as much as possible to stop the run,” he said, “but like I said before, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll take our shots in the quick game, the sidelines, over the top, things you’ve seen last week. It’s a matter of what you really want.”
The decrease in workload could actually benefit McCoy, who was on pace for 328 carries after the first six games. He was averaging 105 rushing yards per game on nearly 21 handoffs. At that pace, he would have finished with 55 more carries this year than he took in 2011, when he carried the ball a career-most 273 times.
In 2011, he was 23 and the Eagles were still a pass-first team under Andy Reid. McCoy often went long stretches without a heavy workload. Under Kelly, whose offense emphasized the run heavily in September and the first half of October, McCoy felt the tackles adding up.
“It’s a difference,” he said. “You can definitely can feel it, from going from an offense where you don’t really run the ball to where you do run the ball enough. You can feel it, just the small tackles over and over and over again.”
In the past three games, McCoy has averaged just 49 rushing yards on 15 carries. But he’s really not playing second fiddle; he’s just being used differently. He has 14 receptions in those three games after having 15 in the first six. Against Oakland, he caught a 25-yard touchdown when the Raiders forgot to assign someone to cover him.
“I guess they weren’t worried about me,” he said.
And he’s not worried about his loosening grip on the NFL rushing title. After Week 6, McCoy had led Arian Foster by almost 100 yards (630 to 531) for the league’s rushing lead. Going into this weekend’s action, McCoy (777) has a 51-yard edge over second-ranked Marshawn Lynch (726).
McCoy figures to see more offensive balance against the Packers. It’s not reasonable to expect Foles to toss another half-dozen or so touchdown passes. But if the passing game is moving the chains, that’s fine with him.
“I don’t mind it,” he said. “Coach Kelly is the type of coach where you can talk to him about anything, on or off the field. And if carries are a concern, I would bring that up.”