LeSean McCoy’s 16 carries for 120 yards and three touchdowns in Detroit were more than just a personal milestone for the second-year back. They also marked the most rushes head coach Andy Reid has given a halfback since Week 12 last year, a 27-24 win over the Redskins in which McCoy carried the ball 17 times.
Obviously the ground game was a big key to the win in the Motor City, so this week we break down the biggest run of the game for McCoy, his fourth quarter touchdown from 46-yards out.
It was 1st and 10 at the Lions 46-yardline with 7:04 left to play and the Eagles leading 28-17.
The Eagles spread the field with a three-wide set out of the shotgun. With the ball on the right hash, the Birds sent two receivers right (Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant) and one left (DeSean Jackson), and used tight end Brent Celek to the left of the formation.
Detroit lined up in a 4-3 defensive front, showing man coverage on the Eagles three wideouts and keeping a safety deep. It looked like a standard front at first glance, but one of the Lions lined up as a linebacker was actually safety Louis Delmas. This would set up a blocking mismatch that favored the Eagles.
The Eagles used the threat of Michael Vick’s running abilities to their advantage, knowing the Lions would have right defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch keeping contain on Vick by rushing to the outside to hem him into the pocket. Therefore, instead of blocking the veteran defensive end, Celek took care of what would normally be the strong-side linebacker. In this case, it was Delmas, who at 5’11 and 202 pounds was little trouble for the Eagles tight end.
Allowing Vanden Bosch to come free also gave the Birds a huge mismatch at the line of scrimmage, with five offensive lineman blocking three defensive lineman. Right tackle Winston Justice took his man one-on-one, and right guard Nick Cole was essentially one-on-one after a quick chip from center Mike McGlynn.
On the left side, Jason Peters and Todd Herremans manhandled defensive tackle Sammie Hill right off the snap, and Herremans joined McGlynn at the second level. Herremans got enough of Ashley Palmer to keep him away from McCoy, while McGlynn popped the weakside linebacker just hard enough to leave him making a futile diving attempt at Shady’s feet.
With the Eagles bulldozing the Lions front seven, there were only two Detroit defenders who had a chance on the play. Slot receiver Jason Avant took care of cornerback Alphonso Smith with a solid block, which left LeSean McCoy one-on-one with safety Randy Phillips, who demonstrated exactly how not to make an open field tackle.
Phillips took a bad angle, put his head down too early, and launched himself right past McCoy, giving the running back nothing but open field towards the end zone.
Give head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg kudos for dialing up a great play. Knowing that they’d have Vanden Bosch keeping outside contain on Vick allowed them to set up a big mismatch at the line of scrimmage, with a high probability of springing McCoy to go one-on-one against a safety.
The Eagles all took care of business on their blocking assignments as well, particularly Herremans, McGlynn and Celek. From there, McCoy showed why the Eagles handed over the running back reigns from Brian Westbrook, making a nice move on Phillips and taking it to the house.
What at the time seemed like an exclamation point on an easy win proved to be a vital touchdown, as the Eagles defensive lapses allowed the Lions back within three.
Follow Ryan Messick on Twitter.