McCoy breaks 1,000, but has 'more yards to get'

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McCoy breaks 1,000, but has 'more yards to get'

Gunn and Mosher break down Eagles' win over Redskins

November 17, 2013, 7:30 pm
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LeSean McCoy passed Duce Staley on Sunday to move into fourth on the Eagles' all-time rushing list. (AP)

In the preseason, Jason Peters predicted that LeSean McCoy would rush for 1,000 yards by Week 10.

Peters miscalculated, but only slightly.

McCoy surpassed the 1,000-yard mark Sunday at the Linc in the 11th game of the season, a 24-16 win over the Redskins that helped the Eagles snap their 10-game home losing streak and climb back over the .500 mark (see Instant Replay).

The Redskins crammed the box and tried all sorts of games up front to stop the NFL’s leading rusher, and McCoy still rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a 49-yard pass that set up the Eagles’ first touchdown.

Even after leaving late in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, McCoy returned and rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown.

What’s it mean to have eclipsed 1,000 so early in the season?

“It just means a lot more yards to get,” McCoy said. “I think the whole offense, the whole offensive line this year, is playing excellent. They’re giving me lanes, giving me one-on-one opportunities. They’re rolling, and I’m just running behind them.”

McCoy briefly fell out of the top spot as the league’s leading rusher going into last Sunday’s game, then reclaimed the throne by shredding Green Bay for 155 yards.

With his latest effort, he upped his season rushing total to 1,009 yards. He broke the 1,000-yard barrier for the third time in his past four seasons and raised his career rushing total to 4,875 yards, leapfrogging Duce Staley into No. 4 on the franchise's all-time list in career rushing yards.

McCoy said he hadn’t kept track of his total rushing yards. As for passing Staley, his position coach?

“I did know this, though,” he said. “I had 10 yards to pass Duce. So I knew that was going to happen.”

At at his current pace, McCoy will finish with 1,468 rushing yards this season, which would be the second-best total in franchise history behind Wilbert Montgomery’s 1,512 in 1979.

McCoy, in the second year of a big-time contract extension, is already tied with Montgomery, Staley and his boyhood idol -- fellow Harrisburg, Pa., native Ricky Watters -- for the franchise’s most 1,000-yard seasons.

After scorching the 'Skins for 185 rushing yards in the season opener at FedEx Field, McCoy faced a much different defensive strategy in the rematch. In the opener, Washington went small up front and exclusively played nickel defense. The 'Skins also played more zone, which is supposed to aid the run defense.

Neither strategy worked then. This time, the Redskins crowded the line with seven, sometimes eight, defenders to get more bodies on McCoy. Early on, the plan worked. McCoy lost one yard on each of his first two carries, brought down the first time by Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo and then by cornerback Josh Wilson.

But the attention paid to stopping McCoy’s rushing attack opened the door for the passing game.

Before he gained his first positive yard on the ground, McCoy had roasted outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on a wheel route to the right side that went for 49 yards to the Redskins’ 4 and set up Nick Foles’ one-yard touchdown run (see 10 observations).

“We gave them a run look and [Kerrigan] played with me, which I guess they thought was a good idea,” McCoy said. “Nick found me and threw it. It was a great read.”

It was the third-longest catch of his career and his second catch of at least 49 yards this year. In Week 2, he had a 70-yarder against the Chargers, the longest of his career.

In total, McCoy has rushed for 261 yards and three touchdowns this season against the Redskins. It’s the most rushing yards against any division opponent in any of his five seasons.

“I think many of the guys on our team got a taste of how elusive this guy is to play against,” Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall said. “He got me on one play myself and I tried to wrap him up, but he got away from me and gained another seven yards. He definitely is one of the more elusive backs in this league. We knew this going into the game and we just wanted to stay around him and trap him the best way we could to make plays.”

The ’Skins probably figured they’d have fewer headaches after McCoy walked off the field before the break with a hamstring injury. A series of cutbacks and shakes helped him pick up 16 yards on 2nd-and-19. McCoy had the first down within reach but collapsed to the ground and grabbed his hamstring, drawing an immediate sprint from the medical staff onto the field.

McCoy eventually hobbled to the sideline and had his hamstring further evaluated before being taken back to the locker room.

It seemed then that McCoy wouldn’t come back, but he came out with his teammates for the second half and took the first play of the third quarter for five yards.

“I think it was like a cramp,” McCoy said. “It just grabbed really tight. I was cutting and running and it just kind of gave out. I’m good. It’s not as serious as I thought it was.”