Bryce Brown rushed for more yards than LeSean McCoy last week against Oakland. Credit: Getty Images
After a lengthy hiatus, Chip Kelly’s “expect-the-unexpected” offense was in full gear in last week’s 49-20 victory over the Raiders.
Quarterback Nick Foles obviously got the brunt of the credit, but nearly as important was running back Bryce Brown. Brown actually gained more yards on the ground than the NFL’s leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, as the second-year back out of Kansas State carried the ball seven times for a season-high 54 yards (7.7 yards per carry). McCoy’s backup had only gotten that many touches twice before this season, with nine carries in the opening week win over Washington and eight carries in the loss to Denver.
Brown isn’t going to replace McCoy any time soon, but Kelly isn’t afraid to mix things up in the backfield to keep opposing defensive lines guessing.
“We never look at one guy from an individual statistic standpoint and say, ‘Hey, we’re not getting this out of him,” Kelly told reporters. “It’s ‘Are we moving the ball?’ We were in a pretty good rhythm [against Oakland] and we did move the football. Whether it’s through the air or on the ground, it really doesn’t matter how we’re dong it as long as we’re moving it.” Brown made plenty of noise last season when, filling in for an injured McCoy, he rushed for an Eagles rookie record of 178 yards against Carolina. But the back also fumbled twice in the 30-22 loss.
Heading into this season, many expected Brown to get more carries than he has considering Kelly has a history with giving chances to multiple backs. But Brown is more than realistic, knowing that taking carries away from, arguably, the best back in the league is not a sound strategy.
“It’s our first time in this offense,” Brown told the Phildelphia Inquirer last month. “We’re all trying to figure it out. I don’t get caught up worrying about playing time and how many plays I get.”