Westbrook: 'LeSean McCoy is one heck of a player'
LeSean McCoy enters Week 17 with 189 more rushing yards than second-leading rusher Jamaal Charles. (USA Today Images)
LeSean McCoy has a message for the Cowboys.
Remember 17-3 on Oct. 20 at the Linc?
The Cowboys aren’t getting the same team on Sunday night.
“I can tell you they didn't see the best of the Eagles,” the NFL rushing leader said. “They didn't see the best of Nick Foles or LeSean McCoy.
“They didn't see the best of us, but they will this Sunday, so it'll be a different story.”
If it is a different story, the Eagles will be in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
The Eagles scored a season-low three points in their first meeting with the Cowboys, but over the last seven weeks they’re averaging 34.6 points per game, they’re 6-1 and the first Dallas game seems like a distant memory.
“I can’t even remember that far back,” McCoy said.
The two NFC East leaders will meet at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and –- just like the last day of the 2008 season -- the winner wins the division and the loser is done.
McCoy solidified his hold on the NFL rushing title Sunday with 133 yards on just 18 carries, and after the Eagles improved to 9-6 and clinched their first winning season since 2010 in a game that actually meant very little to them, McCoy said a different Eagles team will travel to North Texas next weekend to face the Eagles’ most hated rival.
“Just the confidence level is out of this world,” he said. “We feel like every play is going to work, every play is going to be effective. There’s always this feeling like, ‘We can’t lose.’”
The Eagles haven’t scored fewer than 24 points in a game since October, and on Sunday night they hammered a playoff-hopeful Bears team to the tune of 54-11 at the Linc.
It was the Eagles’ most lopsided win since 1948, and the Bears’ worst loss since 1977.
That three-point disaster against the Cowboys and the 15-7 loss to the Giants a week later -- the game Michael Vick started when his hamstring wasn’t ready -- both seem so long ago.
Lately, nobody has been able to stop this offense.
Since the start of November, the Eagles are the highest-scoring team in the NFL.
And a big reason is McCoy and a running game that hammered out 289 rushing yards -- the 11th-most in franchise history but only the second-most this month.
McCoy ran for two touchdowns, and Bryce Brown (9 for 115) and Chris Polk (2 for 12) rushed for one each as the Eagles got back to hammering the ground attack a week after McCoy mysteriously got just eight carries in a loss to the Vikings.
“We wanted to dominate and that’s what the guys did up front,” McCoy said. “I felt like last week we didn’t have a chance to and I felt like we could have.”
The Eagles have pounded out 2,429 rushing yards this year, nearly 300 more than any other NFL team. With one game to go, that's seventh-most in Eagles history and the most since the 1990 team had 2,556.
“Once we start rolling, it’s hard to stop us,” left tackle Jason Peters said.
McCoy now leads second-place Jamaal Charles by 189 yards in the battle for the NFL rushing title. No Eagle has led the NFL in rushing yards since Steve Van Buren in 1949.
The 25-year-old McCoy has 1,476 rushing yards this year and needs just 37 against Dallas to break Wilbert Montgomery’s Eagles single-season record of 1,512, set in 1979.
McCoy also needs 93 yards to break Brian Westbrook’s franchise record of 2,104 scrimmage yards in a season, set in 2007.
“The main thing is to win,” McCoy said. “But just to be honest, it means a lot. In this game, stats and records are made to be broken. You train hard and it’s the stuff you dream about.
“Dream about going to the Super Bowl, winning games, dream about breaking records, dream about rushing title ... all that stuff does play a part for sure, but the biggest thing is winning. We want to win. But to break records, that’s pretty cool also.”
McCoy was a first-team all-pro two years ago, when he set his previous career highs in rushing yards and led the NFL with 20 touchdowns.
But this is different. That was a team that was 4-8 before winning some meaningless late games.
This? This is a first-place team that is one win from the postseason.
This time, all those yards and touchdowns and records actually mean something.
“It’s definitely a difference,” he said. “You can feel a difference when the team is not doing well but you’re doing well. You’re going to be pissed because you didn’t win but you had an amazing game, so you don’t get the full effect of the success you’re having because of the bad season.
“Where now ... the stadium’s sold out, we’re winning games, the feeling’s different. The city is going crazy right now ... 'The Eagles, wow,' so it’s a difference when you’re having success and you’re playing well.
“You can really feel the difference. You can enjoy it.”