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Pitt in the NFL: McCoy disappears in Eagles’ first loss

By Jack DeMarco / Staff Writer

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Many ex-Panthers in the NFL were just spectators this past Sunday. 

Jabaal Sheard, K’Waun Williams, Larry Fitzgerald and this year’s first round pick Aaron Donald, were on teams with assigned bye weeks and did not play Sunday. But the few Pitt players who took the field might as well have had bye weeks  too, because they didn’t show up to say the least.

LeSean McCoy and the Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) failed to extend their undefeated season, losing 26-21 to the San Francisco 49ers. McCoy had another quiet day, only racking up 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. With another dud performance, McCoy now has a yards-per-carry average of just 1.95 during the past two games. More shockingly, Shady has not even produced a run for more than nine yards in those two games, and this season he hasn’t broken off a rush longer than 21 yards.

Considering the fact that McCoy maintains a league-wide reputation for his elusiveness and big-play potential each time he touches the ball, this is undoubtedly unfamiliar territory for him. The Eagles’ offense was similarly off-script in this contest, as the team failed to score an offensive touchdown. Oddly enough, a punt block return for a touchdown by Brad Smith, a pick-six from Malcolm Jenkins, and an 82-yard punt return from the electrifying Darren Sproles accounted for the Eagles’ 21 points.

For the state of the season thus far, McCoy isn’t solely guilty, as the offensive line has shared his struggles. The unit has allowed six sacks, and has heard deep criticism from head coach Chip Kelly. Also, the Eagles rank 26th in the league in rushing yards per game (87), and sixth in passing yards per game (280.5) through four games, meaning Philly’s air attack has been more of the focal point.

Whatever the case may be, McCoy is in serious jeopardy of losing his consensus as a top-five running back in the NFL.

On the other sideline, 49ers punter Andy Lee was an active participant in the game with a season high of five punts. Lee’s first two punts were blocked and returned for subsequent touchdowns. Evidently, the Eagles’ special teams dominated the 49ers special team’s squad, meaning much work needs to be done for Lee and his teammates. On the year, Lee ranks 30th in the NFL with a net punting average of 35.4.

The Dallas Cowboys shocked the New Orleans Saints in Dallas, 38-17. Former Pitt wide receiver Devin Street was absent from the party, posting no catches on Sunday Night Football. Street has been at the mercy of Cowboys’ signal caller Tony Romo, who has relied on other wideout options. So far, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten have received the bulk of targets, yards and touchdowns. It also doesn’t help Street’s cause that Dallas running back DeMarco Murray is enjoying a career year, leading the league in rushing. Unless the Cowboys follow their trend and have a typical late-season collapse, Street won’t see much playing time.

Darrelle Revis played last night against the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC showdown. Going into the game, Revis and the Patriots ranked top in the NFL for fewest passing yards allowed per game at 168.7. Also, Revis was tied for the team lead in pass deflections with three, owns one of the team’s two fumble recoveries and also has an interception on the year. Given the Patriots’ resurgence on defense since the early 2000s, and the struggles of their AFC East counterparts, Revis and Tom Brady could coast to another division crown.

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Pitt in the NFL: McCoy disappears in Eagles’ first loss