PHILADELPHIA (AP) — LeSean McCoy ran for a franchise-best 217 yards against a stout run defense in blizzard-like conditions.
Look out Chicago Bears.
The NFL’s leading rusher faces the league’s worst run defense on Sunday night when the Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) host the Bears (8-6) in a matchup of division leaders.
After playing their last home game in six inches of snow against Detroit, the Eagles are getting ready for unseasonably warm temperatures. Forecasters are calling for a high of 70 degrees on Sunday with possible rain.
Sounds like running weather for McCoy.
“It might be 300 (yards),” he joked. “Weather doesn’t matter. We’ll play anywhere. Cold, snow, rain, we need this game.”
McCoy, a 2011 All-Pro, is having another outstanding season. The fifth-year pro leads the league with a career-high 1,343 yards rushing and is 170 yards away from breaking Wilbert Montgomery’s single-season team record.
“If it happens, it happens,” McCoy said. “One of these years, I’ll break it.”
McCoy is trying to become the first Eagle to lead the NFL in rushing since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren did it in 1949. He’s 122 yards ahead of Adrian Peterson. Beating the Bears and helping the Eagles secure a playoff spot is far more important, of course. McCoy has a simple game plan for success.
“I feel like this game, I want to put the offense on my back,” McCoy said. “I want to roll. I want to get going. I think that me and the guys up front, we have to set the tone. I think once we do that, we can worry about the other teams. For right now, I feel like the big guys up front and myself, we need to put this game on our backs and take care of business.”
That sounds perfect for the offensive line.
“We love that kind of stuff,” left guard Evan Mathis said. “We love smash-mouth football and being able to take over a game like that, and it’s way easier when you have a back like that.”
The Eagles are coming off a disappointing 48-30 loss at Minnesota. McCoy followed up his performance against the Lions with only 38 yards rushing on eight carries against the Vikings.
Coach Chip Kelly didn’t call many running plays for a couple reasons. First, the Eagles fell behind early and were trying to catch up quickly. Second, the Vikings were missing their top three cornerbacks and Nick Foles threw for 428 yards.
“Good thing about Chip is he’s so competitive that if I say something to him, he won’t take it in a negative way. He understands I want the ball,” McCoy said. “He’s an offensive genius. I don’t have to tell him that I need the ball or I want the ball. He knows what plays we need to run at the right times. I don’t know that stuff. If you ask me, yes I want the ball every play, but that’s for any player. He knows when to run it and when to throw it and when to get his playmakers the ball.”
The Bears have allowed 152.4 yards rushing per game, including 198 or more five times in the past eight games. The return of seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs should help Chicago. Briggs has missed the last two months because of a shoulder injury.
Then again, even the best defenses couldn’t stop McCoy.
“He cuts on a dime. There aren’t too many guys who can cut like him in the league,” Bears defensive lineman Corey Wootton said. “You just see the movements he makes and how he makes people miss, so it’s crucial that we rally to the ball, get a bunch of guys there and try to get the ball out.”
NOTES: Eagles nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin was cleared to practice Thursday after sustaining a concussion on a kickoff return vs. the Vikings. Boykin is an important part of the defense, especially against WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery this week. ... Safeties Kurt Coleman (hamstring) and Colt Anderson (knee) are more uncertain, but starting safety Earl Wolff is expected back after missing four games with a knee injury.