September 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch:
“There’s a time to ball your fists and fight and there’s a time to rely more on finesse and trickery, and yesterday definitely was a time for the latter rather than the former.
The Eagles’ offensive line, with a new center and a new right guard and a left tackle playing on a bum leg, isn’t in any shape to do Mike Tyson impersonations right now. If it tries to play smashmouth with anyone, it will be its own mouths that will end up getting smashed.
So, coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg spread out the Lions out with an array of three- and four-wide receiver formations to widen the running lanes for second-year running back LeSean McCoy and lessen the need for hole-opening blocks by their linemen. The strategy worked.
“It was important to run,” said Reid, who watched the elusive McCoy rush for 120 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 35-32 win. “They’ve got a very good defensive front and we wanted to keep them off-balance.
“But you can’t pack it in [tight and run] against them. They’re good in a slugfest. They’re pretty good at that. So we spread them out.”
All but 14 of McCoy’s rushing yards and all three of his scores came out of three- and four-wide receiver sets.
“They came with a lot of blitzes, a lot of stunts,” McCoy said after notching the first 100-yard rushing performance of his young career. “They’re very aggressive and fast, and we kind of used that to our advantage.”
McCoy’s 16 carries against the Lions was his biggest rushing workload since Week 12 of last season when he had 17 rushing attempts in a win over the Redskins. He carried the ball just seven times in last week’s season-opening loss to the Packers.
In the Eagles’ previous seven games, he had rushed for a total of 168 yards on 44 carries. He hadn’t had more than 10 carries or more than 50 rushing yards in a game since that Redskins game.
But that changed yesterday.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had that many carries; I’m gonna get that sore feeling tomorrow,” said McCoy as he rubbed his right shoulder.
McCoy had four double-digit carries against the Lions, including a 46-yard run up the middle out of a three-wide receiver, one-back set with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter that put the Eagles up 35-17.
He is the first Eagles running back to notch three rushing touchdowns in a game since Charlie Garner in 1995.
McCoy’s rushing total would have been even higher but for a pair of penalties that negated two other double-digit runs. A holding call on right tackle Winston Justice wiped out a 35-yard run just three plays before his 46-yard TD run. And a 13-yard gain was brought back because of an illegal formation penalty.”
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