After record start, Bryce Brown stuffed by Bucs
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Bryce Brown didn’t go over 160 rushing yards for the third time in his first three starts. He didn’t crack the 100-yard barrier for the first time as a starter.
Heck, he didn’t even get 10 yards.
Brown, who burst onto the NFL scene by piling up an NFL-record 347 rushing yards in his first two starts, finally ran into an opponent that was determined to take him out of the game.
The Buccaneers, who had the NFL’s top-rated run defense, came equipped to make sure Brown didn’t take over another game. They smothered him from the opening kick and didn’t let him peel off any of the signature power runs that the rookie had unveiled against Carolina and Dallas.
Brown managed just six yards on 12 carries against Tampa, an average of 0.5 yards per carry. He had entered the game averaging 6.5 yards per carry -- the league’s second-highest for players with at least 40 attempts -- and 8.1 yards per run over his record-breaking two-week span.
Brown became just the fourth player in Eagles history to have fewer than 10 rushing yards on at least 12 carries and the first since Lee Bouggess rushed for just two yards on 12 carries on Nov. 8, 1970.
“Well, they’re the No. 1 team in the National Football League in stopping the run, so we knew that coming in,” coach Andy Reid said. “We knew we were going to have to throw the football a little bit, hoping we could balance it off, but they shut down the run game pretty good. It gave us an opportunity to throw the ball a little bit and picked it up towards the end there.”
Five of Brown’s 12 carries came in the first quarter and none went for longer than one yard. One of his carries lost four and two resulted in no gain.
It wasn’t his fault. Tampa’s pressure up front and manhandling of the Eagles’ offensive line turned Brown into an east-west runner and the Bucs were too quick to the edges for Brown to beat contain.
Brown had an 11-yard run in the second quarter, his longest of the game, but his three others runs in the second -- for no gain, minus-seven and four yards -- netted a total of minus-three.
The Eagles just stopped trying to run after halftime as they rode the hot hand of rookie quarterback Nick Foles, who passed for 381 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown at the buzzer in the 23-21 win.
“Feels good that we got the win,” Brown said. “It was a close game so nerves were there, but I’m excited we got the win. It was a long, hard-fought game.”E-mail Geoff Mosher at firstname.lastname@example.org