This Sunday the NFL's leading rusher battles the league's top-ranked run defense.
Something's got to give.
Running back LeSean McCoy has 395 rushing yards in three games, averaging a gaudy 6.4 yards per carry in 2013. No other rusher has even eclipsed the 300-yard mark. He's already had two of his three highest single-game rushing outputs this year, including a 184-yard night in the season opener against the Washington Redskins. No player has rushed for more yards in a single game this season.
The Broncos are allowing just 43.3 rushing yards per game. And they've been consistent. The most they allowed in a single game was 58 yards to Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. What has helped the Broncos is their top-ranked offense led by quarterback Peyton Manning. Denver is averaging 42.3 points per game. They were stymied by Oakland on Monday night as they scored only 37, their lowest point total of the season. McCoy knows that factors into a team's stats, especially against the run.
"It's kind of hard to run the ball when you're down so early," McCoy said.
With that in mind, it would be easy to think that head coach Chip Kelly can help his defense out by employing McCoy to grind out the clock and play keep-away. But as McCoy explained, the objective is to score points. Not win the time of possession battle.
"That's something that we can't control. Just play hard and put points up," McCoy said. "If Peyton and the offense are smoking and rolling and scoring, we have to score. We can't be worried about holding the ball and trying to keep him off of the field. We just have to play. We just have to play ball."
The Eagles have the league's No. 2 offense in terms of yards, but that hasn't always translated into points. The Eagles rank eighth in that category averaging 26.3 points per contest. Turnovers have plagued the Eagles with five coming in the Week 3 loss to the Chiefs.
This is where McCoy can help. Not only has McCoy been the league's most explosive back this season with an NFL-best 10 rushes of 10-plus yards, but he also is one of the most secure. He's had no fumbles this year despite ranking seventh among running backs in touches. He's only lost a grand total of five fumbles since taking over as the starter in 2010.
"I just try to run hard and protect the ball," McCoy said as he knocked on the press conference podium hoping to avoid a jinx. "Everything we practice all week, I just try to put it in the game so hopefully I'll keep it up."
McCoy also keeps his team out of precarious situations. In 62 rushes this season, only two have gone for negative yards. That's a mere 3.2 percent. He is also fifth in the league in rushing yards after contact with 126. Credit Kelly's offensive design which gets McCoy into space. McCoy also salutes the blocking he's received.
"The way they've been getting after it lately, getting on top of the blocks. It starts with (center Jason) Kelce making the calls and directing his guys," McCoy said. "I think it makes it a lot easier for a running back to pick the holes out when they're blocking so well."
The All-Pro running back is also as reliable as they come. Eagles fans held their collective breath when McCoy suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter of the Chiefs game. He went to the locker room and received X-rays. McCoy feared that it was an injury similar to the fractured ankle he had in high school, which cost him college scholarships. Once he was cleared, there was no way he was missing the action. McCoy rushed for 92 yards on nine carries in the second half.
"I was all right," McCoy said. "I felt like my guys were out there battling and I could play, so I came back on."
The Broncos offense is getting plenty of praise this week, which it deserves. But McCoy and the Eagles offense can make a statement of their own this Sunday.
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