Eagles let Cowboys shut down McCoy

October, 20, 2013
10/20/13
7:30
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Somebody made LeSean McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher, look average. It can be debated whether it was the Dallas Cowboys defense, the Eagles' offensive line or Chip Kelly’s game plan.

“We will have to go back and watch film and see exactly what the reason was that we weren’t successful running the ball,” center Jason Kelce said after the Cowboys smothered the Eagles’ offense, 17-3. “But it was a poor game for us running the ball.”

[+] EnlargeLeSean McCoy
Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsLeSean McCoy couldn't get on track against the Cowboys, gaining just 55 yards in 18 carries.
McCoy carried 18 times for 55 yards, just a 3.1-yard average. Bryce Brown carried twice for 4 yards.

A week ago, McCoy rushed for 116 yards with Nick Foles at quarterback, apparently debunking the idea that the run game relied on the threat of Michael Vick. After Sunday’s anemic performance, that question was inevitable.

“We ran a lot of power, a lot of sweeps,” Kelly said. “Go through the amount of plays we ran, we really didn’t run a ton of zone read at all. So I think running power plays and sweep plays, it’s just executing your blocks and finish(ing) things, and we didn’t do that.”

It would not reflect well on Kelly if his running game relied on his quarterback, especially with a talented back like McCoy at his disposal.

“We pride ourselves on being a good running team,” Kelce said. “That was embarrassing.”

Turns out, the Cowboys felt embarrassed by their previous games against McCoy and the Eagles. So even without defensive end DeMarcus Ware, they were determined to make a statement Sunday.

“I remember the last time I came up here, two years ago, (McCoy) went for 180 and he ran all over us,” Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said. “So all week during practice, we worked on finding a way to stop him and I think we did that.”

Time after time, the Cowboys would get to McCoy in the backfield or prevent him from getting into their secondary. He is remarkably elusive and hard to tackle once he gets moving.

“They weren’t loading extra guys in the box,” Kelly said. “They did exactly what they did coming into the game.”

“They had similar looks to what they had done leading up to today,” Kelce said. “Their safety had a few tackles where he came down late and was not accounted for. Usually, LeSean on a safety is a missed tackle, for the most part. They did a lot of slanting and angling, but they did that on tape. We knew that was coming.”

The Eagles just couldn’t get McCoy free. Or he couldn’t find his way to freedom.

“I think that this was one of my worst performances since being a rookie,” McCoy said. “We have to get better. There was so much to gain from this game. We just didn’t get it done today.”

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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