PHILADELPHIA — Once LeSean McCoy put his head down and ran straight ahead instead of juking and jiving, no one could stop him.
McCoy ran for a franchise-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame two TD returns by Jeremy Ross to beat the Detroit Lions 34-20 in a blizzard Sunday.
“It was tough, to be honest,” McCoy said. “But the guys were giving me so much room. I actually like to run in between the tackles.”
Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a score and ran a kickoff 98 yards. But McCoy ran 57 yards up the middle for a tying TD, and Nick Foles connected with Riley Cooper on the 2-point conversion. Foles sneaked in from the 1 and Chris Polk had a 38-yard touchdown run to cap a 28-point fourth quarter for the Eagles (8-5).
Snow began falling two hours before kickoff and intensified after the game started. Workers used shovels and hand-held blowers to clear off yard lines. Conditions were so poor neither team tried a field goal, and there were 2-point conversion attempts after seven of the eight TDs.
“We just felt footing was so bad,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.
The Eagles, looking to go worst-to-first in the NFC East, won their fifth straight game and took over sole possession of first place. Dallas can make it a tie for the top spot with a victory at Chicago on Monday night.
The Lions (7-6) have a half-game lead over the Bears in the NFC North.
Forecasters predicted only some snow, so neither team was prepared for a storm that dropped up to six inches in Philadelphia.
The Lions lost running back Reggie Bush when he fell on the slippery field during warmups and re-injured his calf. Matthew Stafford fumbled three snaps in the first quarter and had a costly turnover in the fourth. Joique Bell lost two fumbles inside the red zone in the first half.
“It’s not the same as a sunny day, that’s for sure. But you’ve got to make adjustments,” Stafford said.
McCoy ran for 148 yards in the fourth quarter, and broke Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren’s mark of 205 yards rushing against Pittsburgh on Nov. 27, 1949.
“He was dominant,” McCoy said. “It means a lot.”
The Eagles finished with 299 yards rushing against a defense that didn’t allow a TD on the ground in the previous eight games and came in allowing the third-fewest yards rushing per game (82.7).
“The first half we stopped the inside run and forced them to go sideways. In the second half, we allowed them to run inside and that was the difference,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “Just about all those runs started off inside, even though some of them broke off outside.”
Foles threw his first interception, leaving him one shy of matching Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdowns without a pick to start the season. Foles had 19 touchdowns before Chris Houston grabbed his overthrown pass at midfield and returned it 20 yards to the Eagles 30. That ended Foles’ franchise-best streak of 237 passes without a pick.
He finished 11 of 22 for 179 yards and a TD.
“You were seeing a lot of white, a lot of snow falling down,” Foles said. “We got more comfortable as the game went on.”
Bell ran in from the 2 and caught Stafford’s pass on the 2 -point conversion for an 8-0 halftime lead.
After the Eagles rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie it, Ross took the ensuing kickoff the distance. Ross ran into a crowd, came out of the pile and sprinted down the right sideline to the end zone.
Foles connected for 44 yards to Cooper, who made a twisting over-the-shoulder catch, one play before hitting DeSean Jackson in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that cut it to 14-6.
Detroit star Calvin Johnson passed Herman Moore for most yards receiving in franchise history on a 33-yard catch to the Eagles 13 late in the first quarter. Johnson came up with a face full of snow on the play. But Bell fumbled a few plays later at the Eagles 10 and Patrick Chung recovered.
Foles connected with Brent Celek for what would’ve been a 37-yard TD pass in the final minutes, but Celek slid at the 10-yard line so the Eagles could run out the clock.
NOTES: Johnson had three catches for 49 yards. … Stafford was 10 of 25 for 148 yards. … The Lions fumbled seven times, losing three. The Eagles fumbled only once and recovered it. … Neither QB was sacked.