By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly spoke about the character of his team, the comeback against the Detroit Lions in eight inches of snow and what the Eagles were faced against in Sunday’s memorable 34-20 victory during his day-after press conference at the NovaCare Complex.
The Eagles pounded a Detroit defense that had not allowed a rushing touchdown since Sept. 29. The Lions were the first team since 1933 to hold opponents to 62 yards or less and no rushing touchdowns in six-straight games.
That ended on Sunday in eight inches of snow at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles amassed 487 yards of total offense, 388 yards coming in the second half, and 299 yards on the ground against the NFL’s third-best run defense for 6.5 yards a carry.
LeSean McCoy finished with an Eagles’ single-game rushing record 217 yards on 29 carries, breaking the franchise record held by Hall of Famer Steve Buren, who previously owned the record of 205 yards on Nov. 27, 1949 in a 34-17 Eagles’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
McCoy received a lot of help on Sunday from the offensive front of Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis that blasted Detroit using a north-south attack.
“You need to attack defenses across the front, you can’t always run the ball inside,” Kelly said. “We have a back that can get outside and that’s one of his strengths. We also have some athletic linemen. When you watch Jason Kelce and Jason Peters on our sweep play and getting them out in space running on DBs is a good plan. We wanted to play a downhill game and establish some things. I thought our guys did a good job especially with the double teams.
“I think we’re balanced, to be honest. I think one of the things that opened up our running game yesterday and has opened up our running game this season is our ability to throw the ball over the top. I think the easy answer is if you’re running the ball really well, you have get another safety down in the box. And if you do get another safety down in the box, then you’re leaving DeSean [Jackson] and Riley [Cooper] one-on-one outside. People will continue to do that if DeSean and Riley don’t hurt you. But those guys have been a huge component of what we’re doing.”
Kelly said he hasn’t been surprised at all by how McCoy played on Sunday. Kelly admitted he didn’t know too much about McCoy before taking over as the Eagles’ head coach, simply because he was so committed to film study while he was Oregon.
“I knew [McCoy] was a really good player in this league, but when you’re a college coach, you don’t watch any NFL because Sundays are [film days],” Kelly said. “I never watched a full game of anybody, not matter who it was. When you watched the film, he’s an explosive runner and is talented. He can do a lot of things on his own. He can make a lot of people miss. He’s probably as good as there is in the league about making people miss in the open field.”
Kelly also cited the suggestion that Cary Williams had during the Lions’ game. It was Williams that told Kelly the Eagles could exploit Detroit deep, because of the terrible footing. It’s what led to Nick Foles’ 44-yard, third-quarter completion to Riley Cooper that shocked the Eagles’ offense back to life again.
“Cary is one of the guys on this team that he’s all about football,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t talk very much, he has a great football mind. He made a very valid point that you could run by these guys, because they can’t transition because he couldn’t transition. I’ve had a lot of guys make suggestions, but it’s a matter of who you listen to, and I’ll listen to Cary because Cary really understands the game.”