Keys to an Eagles' win over the Giants
LeSean McCoy has been held to fewer than 60 rushing yards in two of his last three games. (USA Today Images)
LeSean McCoy was upset with himself. After the Eagles fell to the Cowboys, McCoy said it was one of his worst outings since his rookie season. Earlier this week, McCoy continued with the self-condemnation, saying he failed to “show up” when his team needed him most.
Against Dallas, McCoy had his fewest total yards from scrimmage this year. It’s easy to understand, then, why McCoy was so critical of his performance. And as far as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator is concerned, it was the proper response.
“I'm glad he feels that way,” Pat Shurmur said. “I think we all did -- that we need to play better and perform better. But he's a competitor. He's taken a very mature approach to this season. And he just wants to do what he can to help us win games. I think when a guy says that, he's saying I want to try to do better. I think he could be an outstanding player in this league. He did some really good things the other night. In his mind, he was just saying I've got to do more.”
The Eagles need McCoy to do more -- or at least they need him to do more than he managed against the Giants the first time around this season. In their initial meeting three weeks ago, New York held McCoy to 46 rushing yards on 20 carries. It was McCoy’s fewest rushing yards this year, and his 2.3 yards per carry was his worst output since averaging just 1.6 a year ago against the Detroit Lions.
“Up front, they made some plays,” McCoy said about the first game against the Giants this season. “A lot of stunts. And, to their credit, they have some guys up front that are pretty good. It was a good defensive strategy for that week.”
New York’s run defense allows 110 yards per game (21st in the NFL). The Giants have been strangely successful against some of the better running backs in the league while struggling against other rushers. Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams amassed 120 yards against the Giants. The Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray posted 86 yards. And McCoy’s best buddy, Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, had 93 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
And yet that same Giants run defense held Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles to 65 yards on 18 carries. More recently, the Giants limited Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson to 28 yards on 13 carries.
“There’s some games, some tape you watch, when guys are gashing them,” McCoy said. “And there’s other tape where you watch myself and Adrian where we didn’t do so well against their run defense.”
Chip Kelly, Shurmur and McCoy all mentioned how the Giants made a concerted effort to stop the Eagles’ run game in their first meeting. But Kelly also said “there were a couple of runs when LeSean hit it and came out the other side and was one guy away from making it into a really, really big play.”
“We learned from it,” McCoy Said. “Going back to the Giants game, we took some things out of it. We’re going to utilize it this game. I think we have a good matchup. I think we made the right adjustments. Coach Kelly is good at that -- finding different ways to get us in space to make plays.
“A game like this, in the division, where we need a win, coming off a bad week last week, where we didn’t play too well at all -- we need to get a win and get back on the winning side of things. It makes this game so important.”