Is LeSean McCoy the Best Running Back in the NFL?

Is LeSean McCoy the Best Running Back in the NFL?

Statistically speaking, yes -- it's that simple.

Only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has accumulated more yards, but the Vikings have played one more game than the Eagles. Once it's broken down, LeSean McCoy is averaging 107.7 yards per game, the highest total in the league. His 5.6 yards per carry is the best of any back with greater than 60 carries. His eight rushing touchdowns are good for second place, one behind AP, and he's the only runner with a touchdown in every game he's played. Just for good measure, McCoy has hauled in 23 passes and added a pair of scores through the air.

There is little doubt now we are currently watching one of the best running backs ever to wear an Eagles uniform.

Perhaps the most amazing part is an Andy Reid offense is actually calling the running back's number with such frequency. McCoy has carried 24 times or more in three games. He's run at least 15 times in two more. Of course, how can the coaches keep the ball out of his hands? Shady is closing in on the career high he set last season, just 326 ticks shy of 1,080. He already has more touchdowns and a higher YPC.

Maybe we shouldn't be taken completely off-guard. As a team, the Birds are by far the best at running the ball. Aided by Mike Vick's 422 on the year, Philadelphia is averaging 20 yards more per game than second-place Oakland, and .6 more per run than second-place Minnesota. Alhough it is rare for Reid to pound the rock this often, it's not even an entirely new concept. Brian Westbrook once finished as high as third in the NFL for rushing yards in 2007, and the '03 club finished fifth in attempts and seventh in yards with a backfield of Duce Staley, Dorsey Levens, and a young Westbrook, boosted by a mobile Donovan McNabb.

And yet none of the backs who have been through here over the past 13 seasons have made the impact McCoy has over seven games. He has a legitimate shot at breaking Wilbert Montgomery's franchise record of 1,512 yards set in 1979, and Steve Van Buren's 15 touchdowns in 1945 is not out of the question either. If Shady continues at this pace, every major Eagles rushing record will have fallen by season's end.

But quite possibly the greatest part of all is McCoy looks like he is in this for the long haul. Because he's so shifty, rarely do defenders appear to get clean shots at him. Even when there is physicality, McCoy is strong and hitting the defender right back. Obviously injuries can happen to anybody, but I'm not watching the game nervous about the running back breaking down as easily as my old '93 Subaru Loyale. He is 23 years old, in his third NFL season, and ready to handle the load.

Is he really the best in the NFL? At the very least, he's in good company. Peterson clearly is a beast, Matt Forte -- who we'll see on Sunday -- is having a tremendous season in his own right, and there are a handful of backs who maybe are not among the top five rushers right now, but might have a claim to the title. At the running back position, the best in show can change quickly.

Something tells me this LeSean McCoy is for real though after hanging 185 on the top-ranked run defense in the NFL, and his name will be at or near the top of the list at the end of year. Ponder that for a moment... the Eagles might have a back lead the league in rushing during the Andy Reid era.

That statement alone should garner some votes for best back.

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).