Whether running back LeSean McCoy wants to admit it or not, there's something about the New York Giants that brings out the best in him.
McCoy was the focal point of the offense Sunday night as he carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards (5.3 yards per carry) - all but 2 of those yards came in the second half - as the Eagles pulled out a thrilling 19-17 win at Lincoln Financial Field. It was McCoy's 11th career 100-yard rushing performance and four of them have come against the Giants.
"It's just the way we play against them. We know we're expecting something. We know we're expecting that hard battle coming down to the wire," McCoy said after the game. "We're just lucky to come out with the win."
The Eagles have won eight of nine against the Giants including postseason games dating back to December 2008. Since his arrival in 2009, McCoy has been a big part of that success. In seven career games against New York, McCoy has 649 rushing yards on 115 carries (5.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
The Giants actually kept McCoy under wraps in the first half to the tune of 2 yards on six carries. Michael Vick was the game's leading rusher at halftime with 19 yards on the ground. However, the Eagles finally broke the Giants on the opening drive of the second half. At one point in the drive, McCoy had six consecutive carries. On two of those carries, McCoy ran to the right side for gains of 34 yards and 22 yards, respectively.
"I think that we stuck with it. The Giants are a good team. They have a good defense. Their front four is one of the better front fours you'll see in this league," McCoy said. "We just kept sticking with it, eventually they cracked. They got tired. The linemen, they did a great job. Just determined to get the blocks."
It just so happened that the runs came against the left side of the Giants defensive line that featured Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. McCoy's Twitter feud with Umenyiora has been well publicized. McCoy said that the Eagles were not targeting any one defender; they simply felt they could get some positive gains to the outside.
"I'm not sure if it was Osi's side or Tuck's side. It's hard during the game, the process of really seeing who's who," McCoy said. "We felt we could get on the edge. We felt the line was doing a great job blocking. We just ran. We just ran the ball well."
When McCoy wasn't running, he was blocking as well. On Vick's second-quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, it was McCoy's block on Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka that afforded Vick some extra time.
"Nobody's selfish and it's all one goal," McCoy said.
The only thing missing on the stat sheet was a touchdown. On that opening drive of the second half, McCoy carried the ball all the way to the 1-yard line, but did not punch it in. The Eagles had to settle for an Alex Henery field goal. The Eagles were 1-for-4 in the red zone Sunday night.
"I blame myself for that. I got down there and I didn't score," McCoy said.
"You work so hard to get there. Sometimes, three (points) is not an option. Today, it worked out, but it's something we'll have to work on. I think that'll be big this week."
This is the third straight game against the Giants in which McCoy has had at least 23 carries. McCoy has no problem with the amount of touches as long as the Eagles keep winning.
"I don't get into all of that. We're a good team. I think any back would die to be in my system where I have two of the best wide receivers in the league. I got a quarterback who can do everything. My tight end's a beast," McCoy said. "I don't get as much attention as other backs, but they don't have as many weapons. I'm fine with that. I'm grateful to be on a team like this. The next game, who knows, I might not get the ball that much, but as long as we win."
And after Sunday's win, the Eagles are 3-1. McCoy can't ask for more than that.
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