Patriots

Pats have hands full with McCoy

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Pats have hands full with McCoy

FOXBORO The New England Patriots have seen their share of talented running backs this season.

There's talented running backs, and then there's Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.

The third-year running back may be the most complete ball-carrier the Pats see all season. His NFL-leading 1,019 yards rushing stands out, obviously. Even more impressive is the variety of ways he goes about getting them.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has seen plenty of video of McCoy leading up to Sunday's game in Philadelphia.

When asked what jumps off the screen about McCoy's game, Belichick responded, "he's unbelievably quick; he's got tremendous quickness."

But if McCoy's game were primarily about speed, containing him would be a lot easier to do.

"He's you don't see anyone tackle him one-on-one," Belichick said. "You need a group of guys around him."

The Patriots faced a similar dilemma earlier in the season when they played at Oakland and their standout running back, Darren McFadden. McFadden came into their Week 4 matchup averaging 131 yards rushing. In New England's 31-19 win, the Patriots held him to just 75 yards on 14 carries. And keep in mind, McFadden broke off one long run of 26 yards in that game.

Limiting McCoy's ability to make the big play, will be much easier said than done.

One of the reasons he has been such an dynamic running back this season has been his ability to break off long runs. The third-year running back has 38 runs of 10 or more yards, tops in the NFL.

Belichick also believes McCoy's strength factors into his success on the ground as well.

"He gets through the line. Guys get a shot at him, and he's able to run through them," Belichick said. 'I'm not saying he's a big-time power runner like (New York Giants running back Brandon) Jacobs. He's got good playing strength."

And unlike most speedy tailbacks, McCoy has also shown the ability to steadily improve as the game goes on. Of his 10 rushing touchdowns, six have come in the second half (tops in the NFL). When he carries the ball 21 or more times, he's averaging 6.6 yards per carry which is also tops in the NFL.

McCoy's versatility reminds some of a former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, who was one of the franchise's all-time rushing leaders.

"I think he's better than Westbrook," Belichick said. "Westbrook's pretty good. This guy's pretty good now. I'd say he's quicker than Westbrook. Westbrook may be a little stronger, I don't know. This guy's a handful."

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE