The Buffalo Bills can still claim they won their offseason trade with the Eagles. If they'd like to declare that they have the better of the high-profile running backs that changed teams in the offseason, they can do that, too.
What the Bills could not claim Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field was a victory, and the searing pain that loss caused temperamental LeSean McCoy was confirmed by one final whiny sprint through the tunnel to the visitors' locker room and his juvenile silence after the Eagles held on for a 23-20 victory over their former teammate.
During his run through the tunnel after declining to shake hands with Eagles coach Chip Kelly or any of his former teammates and coaches, McCoy had repeatedly banged his helmet against the concrete corridors.
With a pack of reporters gathered around him following the Bills' crushing defeat, the Eagles' all-time leader in rushing yards shook his head over and over again as he unhurriedly dressed. McCoy knew what everybody was waiting for, but once he slipped on his gold chain and watch, he spoke ever so briefly.
"Hey y'all, I ain't got nothing to say," McCoy said before breaking through the media horde and heading for Buffalo's team bus.
It was McCoy's final display of immaturity during his Philadelphia homecoming. The others had come before and during the game.
Bills coach Rex Ryan sent McCoy out as the lone Buffalo captain and the running back shook hands with the Eagles' trio of captains - Jason Kelce, Eric Rowe, and Fletcher Cox - before the coin flip. After the toss, however, he left all three men hanging.
It was clear he came to play.
"Yeah, we knew that," Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham said. "We knew it was all about Chip and him. But at the end of the day it's us playing out there. Chip ain't playing out there. We were focused. We knew we had to stop McCoy. We knew they were going to run the ball, and I'm just happy we held up our end."
McCoy actually did quite a bit of damage in the first half, running 12 times for 63 yards and catching a couple passes for 16 yards. But in the second half he was mostly a nonfactor, carrying eight times for 11 yards and catching just one pass. There were mixed opinions as to why.
The best one came from Ryan, who pointed to his team's 15 penalties as the primary reason for the loss.
"You can't run the ball every snap when it's first and 20," he said. "It puts you in a tough situation, so obviously we probably never got him the ball as much as we wanted to."
One of the game's most critical plays came midway through the fourth quarter with the score tied at 20. After the Bills had picked up a first down at their own 20, they tried to get McCoy around the left edge. Instead, he was thrown for a 10-yard loss by Cox. The defensive tackle was not initially sure that McCoy was down, and he landed on the much smaller back with the full force of his 300 pounds. Cox tried to help McCoy up, but again the running back was not in the mood for any hand touching.
"I don't know what happened," Cox said. "Just went to the next play and played football."
The Bills were eventually forced to punt, and the Eagles put up the game's final points with a Caleb Sturgis field goal on their next possession.
Graham said he tried to trash talk with McCoy during the game, and he even mocked McCoy's end zone dance after the Bills were called for a fourth-quarter holding penalty that nullified a first-down run by quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
"I was trying to get him out of his game," Graham said. "He talked here and there. I wish he would have stayed after the game to at least shake his boy's hand. I just really enjoyed that game because at the end of the day I just really love that we gave him a loss in his homecoming."
McCoy did not stick around to shake anyone's hand, but if he wanted to he could have claimed that he is better than Kiko Alonso, the inside linebacker the Eagles got in exchange for their all-time leading rusher. He could have also said he is better than DeMarco Murray, the running back who was supposed to replace him this season.
On both counts, he would have been right.
"This was a tough game for him," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He loved being an Eagle. We know that. This whole offseason with the trade and everything, it has been tough on him. During the game, he played well. You could see it in his eyes. He was fired up. He wanted to play well, specifically here this week. It looked like he was a step faster than I remembered him."
And 10 steps faster than Murray.
"He's one of the best backs in the league and there is no doubt about that," Jenkins said about McCoy. "We don't take it personal that he ran right to the locker room."
McCoy was definitely taking this one personal. You could tell by the extent of his pout.