The NFL is a week-to-week league, and this was LeSean McCoy's week. This was the game where all of the worries were swallowed up by the roar of the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, where all of the consternation evaporated into the crisp fall night.
There was no talk of lingering injuries or a stitched-together offensive line, not this night. Instead, against the New York Giants, all of the concern was replaced by the pretty unanimous observation that McCoy and the Eagles' running game looked like themselves again.
"The guys up front just blew 'em off the line, all game," McCoy said. "...As a running back, you start getting in your groove. You start picking them apart."
From the first drive to the end of the game, McCoy had room to maneuver and did just that. The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-0, and McCoy finished with 149 yards rushing on 22 carries. It was his first 100-yard game of the season and, along the way, he passed the great Steve Van Buren and moved into third place on the Eagles' all-time rushing list.
After several sluggish weeks, both for McCoy and the offensive line, you began to see the beginning of a revival last week against the St. Louis Rams. No one knew, though, if the Eagles could follow through against a Giants defense that had been good against the run all season. Frankly, the odds were against it happening.
Then, right out of the chute, it looked like last year all over again. Two yards on the first play, 12 yards on the third play, 18 yards on the fourth play -- and McCoy was off. The holes were inviting and McCoy hit them with the kind of instinctive burst that he had so often lacked in the first weeks of the season.
"I felt I made a lot better decisions, just hitting it," McCoy said. He added that he did, indeed, hear the questioning by fans and media.
"I like it like that," he said. "That's because you really know who's behind you...I never lost confidence in myself and the guys up front -- you guys did. I've got thick skin."
Now, a word about tactics. The Eagles had a fabulous time last season running against nickel defenses when they had three wide receivers on the field. This year, opposing defenses have tried a different tactic, sticking more with their base defenses even when the Eagles went with three wideouts, loading up against the run and daring the Eagles to beat them with the pass.
So what did the Giants do? They ignored the tendency shown by those other Eagles opponents and instead played their nickel when the Eagles went to three wide receivers. And what happened? The Eagles' running game found itself.
Coincidence or cause-and-effect? The guess here is cause-and-effect, and the wonder is why the Giants never changed it up. Deep into the third quarter, as McCoy was absolutely lacerating the Eagles' defense, the Giants stayed in their nickel and accepted the beating. It was 20-0, and then it was 27-0 after Darren Sproles' 15-yard touchdown run, and everybody knew how much the Eagles wanted to run the ball and kill time after that, and the Giants never changed.
As Eagles center David Molk said, after weeks of dealing with defenses stacked to stop the run, "We got an opportunity to run around the defense we wanted...This offense is deadly. We got an opportunity and we seized it."
Now, the Giants' coaching staff obviously knows its personnel better than we do. But you have to wonder what they thought about as they replayed the whole thing in their heads on the bus ride home.
Because it was on their watch that the Eagles' running game was revived.
"Surprisingly, they left the safety out of the box (near the line of scrimmage), which was different," McCoy said. "And they paid for it. By the time they moved the safety down, it was too late."
Again, it is a week-to-week business. There are plenty of tests remaining -- and the guess here is that when they come back from the bye to face the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles will not be seeing as much nickel defense as they saw against the Giants.
This isn't settled, not nearly. But the bye week can only refresh McCoy. He might need to be refreshed, too, especially if the knee injury that knocked Sproles out of the game in the third quarter keeps him sidelined for any period of time.
But that is all for later. The point is that we all saw the capability of the Eagles' running game return to its accustomed level. The next hurdle is sustaining it.