NEW ORLEANS – On a topsy-turvy night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the one thing the Eagles could count on was the success of the running game. Yes, the Saints were allowing a league-worst 170.1 rushing yards per game coming into the contest, but the Eagles were also running behind a mishmash offensive line in front of a frenzied primetime crowd. In total, the combination of LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Michael Vick tallied 221 rushing yards on 29 carries.
McCoy led the Eagles with 119 yards on 19 carries (6.3 yards per carry), including a 34-yard run that took the Eagles into the red zone. McCoy ran with fervor all night long, in the process notching the 12th 100-yard rushing game of his career, tying him with Ricky Watters for fifth on the franchise's all-time list.
Of course, much of that production went for naught, as the Eagles failed to score a single touchdown in five trips inside the red zone.
"I felt like this would be a different outcome today, having the talk with everybody and guys getting things off their chest," McCoy said after the game. "I mean, obviously we were wrong. We have to come back to the drawing boards and practice harder, get better.
"It's disappointing, with the type of talent and players we have in this locker room, especially on offense, not to get the job done. Oh-for-five is terrible. Like I said, we just have to get better at it. Keep talking about it and not correcting it is not helping us out at all."
Though the 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by Patrick Robinson in the first quarter will make the highlight reel, perhaps the most frustrating red-zone failure came after the Eagles special teams forced a fumble, giving the Eagles offense the ball on the Saints' 22-yard line with a chance to cut the score to 21-17 if a touchdown were punched in. After a Michael Vick scramble gave the Eagles first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, the offense ran two consecutive pass plays, including a second-down sack on a shotgun snap with an empty backfield.
But there were no sour grapes from the Eagles' All-Pro running back about not getting the ball in that situation.
"I feel like whatever the calls are made, that are called in the huddle, I'll follow," said McCoy. "In the past, it's been working. The red zone hasn't really been a big issue this year. The calls have been pretty good.
"I just feel bad for the team. We're practicing hard and coming up short."
As the questioning of playcalling and Andy Reid continued, McCoy stood firmly behind the Eagles head coach.
"I don't think it's coach Reid's fault at all," McCoy said. "The only thing he can do is put us in the right position, the right opportunity to make plays and trust that we won't get beat. As players, you have to make up in your mind the decision to play ball. It's as simple as that. He can't simplify the playbook enough. Unless we come out as players on our own and play ball, I don't think coach Reid should take the blame for this. He's a tough coach and he always goes up there each week and takes the blame fully for the mistakes as players that we make."
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