The Philadelphia Eagles had many frustrating trademarks in the Andy Reid era. One thing the Eagles became known for above all was an unbalanced offense, even when Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick weren’t equipped to throw 40-50 passes a week. But on Sept. 9 against the Washington Redskins, Chip Kelly took Philadelphia back to a time where running plays were called as much as passes, and LeSean McCoy made it pay off in spades.
The Eagles’ 33-27 victory and 33-7 lead after 30+ minutes came in large part from McCoy, who dodged tackles all night and fell one yard short of a career high performance. With a whopping 31 carries for 184 yards and a touchdown, McCoy helped show how different things are going to be under Kelly.
The Eagles had 53 offensive plays in the first half alone, but the real shock was that more than half of them were runs instead of passes. In fact, Philadelphia’s final touchdown drive in the first half had only one pass, with Michael Vick running into the end zone to cap it off. For all the Eagles’ offensive firepower, Vick only had 25 passes, although they were more conservative in the second half -- which almost cost them dearly.
After McCoy’s highlight reel touchdown run to start the second half and give the Eagles their 33-7 lead, the offense finally slowed down. In fact, the only big play they had after that was a 36 yard run by Vick early in the fourth quarter. It didn’t lead to any more points, but it helped kill a few more minutes of time the Redskins couldn’t afford to waste.
The Redskins had a dynamic rushing attack with Griffin and Alfred Morris last season, yet they only had 74 yards on this night while the Eagles racked up 263. McCoy led the charge in ways he often didn’t get to use under Reid, as it would have been unthinkable for him to get 25-30 carries on most weeks. But if he gets that responsibility for many more games, will he hold up?
No one knows if McCoy and the entire Eagles’ offense can withstand playing like this for 16 weeks. Yet with a balanced attack, perhaps Vick has a better chance of staying healthy himself, which Philadelphia still desperately needs -- though perhaps not as much as a healthy McCoy that looks like this.