This time, McCoy thrives alongside Foles

Eagles' LeSean McCoy leaps past Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Dashon Goldson during the third quarter. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles' LeSean McCoy leaps past Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Dashon Goldson during the third quarter. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 15, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. - LeSean McCoy struggled rushing the ball when Nick Foles entered the game last week, but he had no issues in Sunday's 31-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCoy rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries, helping balance the offense. This came one week after he was limited to minus-2 yards on eight carries while playing alongside Foles against the New York Giants.

McCoy downplayed the dramatic difference from one week to the next.

"I feel like everybody wants us to run the ball for so many yards like the first game," McCoy said. "The thing is, the defense gets paid, too. They have [good] players on the other side, and when you lead the league guys want to stop you."

Coach Chip Kelly noted the difference in the defenses they played. The Giants have hefty defensive tackles who occupy space in the middle. The Buccaneers have different body types on their defensive front, with a Tampa-2 defense behind them. And the Eagles stayed committed to the run, giving McCoy the ball 16 times in the second half.

"I think we called more - probably a little bit more called runs," Kelly said. "They're a little bit smaller, faster defense, and I think probably a little bit better matchup for us."

The Tampa Bay defense stifled the Eagles rushing game one season ago, holding Bryce Brown to 6 yards on 12 carries. McCoy missed that game with a concussion.

The Bucs have been stingy against running backs this season, too, entering the game with the ninth-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. But McCoy was adept at making the Tampa Bay defenders miss. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

"There's more missed tackles than we've had, for sure, but we haven't played against Shady McCoy, either," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "We're not the last team he's going to make miss tackles."

Offensive tackle Lane Johnson said that the Eagles studied the Buccaneers and prepared for the stunts that disrupted their running game last week. It was a focus of the offensive linemen to correct those issues, and they did Sunday. That's why when Jason Peters was asked the difference in the running game on Sunday, he replied without hesitation, "It worked."

"We trusted [the coaches], and they trusted us to keep calling it," Peters said. "Sometimes when it don't work, coaches tend to shy away from it and throw the ball more. But it started working, and they kept believing, and we kept running it and running it."

The successful running game helped Foles, allowing the Eagles to play with a balanced offense and forcing the Tampa Bay safeties to creep closer to the line. That opened plays downfield for Foles and made play-action passes more effective. The final touchdown of the game - a 36-yard pass to DeSean Jackson - came off play-action.

"I think when you've got a good supporting cast around you," McCoy said, "it makes it a lot harder and tougher for the defense to adjust."


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