"Shady" is no longer in the shadows.
Although he struggled in the last two games with a chance to break the Eagles' rookie rushing record, LeSean McCoy bounced back and set the club mark yesterday in the Eagles' 27-13 victory against the 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field.
With his 6-yard run just before halftime, McCoy reached 590 yards for the season, eclipsing Correll Buckhalter's mark of 586 yards set in 2001. The running back finished the game with 48 yards on nine carries. His two-yard TD run in the fourth quarter sealed the game. He also had three catches for 8 yards.
"I wasn't focused on it that much," McCoy said of the record. "I knew I was in the race. I think every player kind of looks up at who's [ahead] of him. I looked at that, but not too much the record. It's quite an accomplishment, I think."
McCoy not only passed Buckhalter, who will come to town this Sunday with the Denver Broncos, but he jumped ahead of Keith Byars (577), Po James (565), and Mike Hogan (561) on the Eagles' rookie rushing list.
His biggest carry of the day was his touchdown run on third down. The Eagles haven't used McCoy that often in their goal-line package, instead favoring fullback Leonard Weaver, quarterback Michael Vick, or third-string running back Eldra Buckley. But they went to the rookie as they clung to a 20-13 lead.
"We've got a couple of different things that we do down there, and we just went with our base group," coach Andy Reid said. "He was very good at that when he was at Pitt, and he showed it right there."
McCoy, the Eagles' second-round pick out, was not expected to come in immediately and set team marks - the Eagles had Brian Westbrook, after all. But Westbrook has been slowed by concussions and has not played in seven of the last eight games.
"I knew I had to step back with Brian," McCoy said. "I knew my role wasn't going to be too big. But then everything unfolded where I was playing a lot."
The rookie record took awhile to unfold, though.
As of three games ago, McCoy needed 59 yards to move past Buckhalter, who left for Denver in the off-season. But he was held to just 2 yards on six carries against the Falcons and then gained only 28 yards on 10 carries last week against the New York Giants.
Whether it was more chances or a renewed vigor, McCoy resembled the early-season version of himself. He has been noticeably different as the starter. In his first six games as a first-teamer, McCoy averaged 4.8 yards per carry. In the five other games, he managed just 3.2 yards per carry.
"He showed a lot of heart," Reid said. "I thought he did a nice job with his touches. . . . He's keeping that ball high and tight, and against this team that was huge. This team thrives on turnovers."
Weaver led the team in rushing, however, gaining 52 yards on 17 carries. His running before McCoy's touchdown was his most productive. He had a 7-yard tote that moved the offense down to the 49ers' 11 and then reeled off 9 yards on the next down. He was stopped for no gain on second down, and 1 yard at the 2-yard line.
McCoy then took care of the rest.
"I think Coach did a great job of just putting everybody in the mix," McCoy said. "Today he just called my number."