“We can’t just give in because they’re trying to stop the run,” McCoy said. “There’s things I can do.”
The New York Giants shut McCoy down three Sundays ago. With McCoy ineffective, Michael Vick ran for 79 yards in the first half and Nick Foles threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns in just more than one half of relief work.
Tampa Bay focused on McCoy until Foles began picking its defense apart in the passing game. The Buccaneers adjusted and McCoy ran for 116 clock-draining yards.
The Dallas Cowboys last week used some of the same concepts as the Giants. When they were effective against McCoy, Foles was incapable of doing anything to make them pay.
“We need to execute a little bit better in the run game, obviously,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “But I feel like if you're going to try to gang up on one aspect, we need to be able to lean on another aspect for us to be successful offensively.”
Plenty has been written and said about Foles’ stunningly inept performance. But what about the run game? McCoy accepted full responsibility for its ineffectiveness.
“I just wasn’t myself,” McCoy said. “A game like this, my team needed me, I didn’t show up. I started doing too many individual types of plays, not really going with the plays. I was frustrated. I wasn’t making the plays I usually make. I started trying to make too many things happen. I felt it was my worst performance since my rookie year.”
Accountability is a good thing, but McCoy is probably being a bit too hard on himself. There were a few runs against Dallas where he might have found more room cutting outside, or where he turned toward an approaching safety, but that’s probably true in every game. He simply didn’t have that much room most of the time, and that was a result of the scheme and the offensive line’s performance.
“The running game’s a big part of this offense,” left guard Todd Herremans said. “We have to prove we can still run the ball when [the Giants] are running their little stunts against us. Our blocks have to be more precise and give Shady a little more room to work.”
McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher with 685 yards. He has gained 458 of them, or 67 percent, in three games. In the other four combined, he has gained 227, an average of 56.8 yards per game.
When the quarterback has been able to make something else happen -- against Washington, against the Giants, against Tampa Bay -- the Eagles have won. When the quarterback has not -- and when the defense made the offense moot against San Diego and Denver -- the Eagles have lost.
It starts with trying to stop McCoy, but it doesn’t end there.