Oh, but not for the pathetic 3-8 record coming into this game Philadelphia Eagles fans might be celebrating the birth of the NFL's next best one-two punch tonight, after Bryce Brown ran for 178 yards on 19 carries against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football.
But losing, especially when you were considered a Super Bowl hopeful in the preseason, has a way of dimming the lights on even the brightest up-and-coming stars. Losing 30-22 to the woeful Panthers despite Brown's outstanding performance does not help.
Nonetheless, disheartened Eagles fans can go to sleep tonight with visions of spin moves, misdirections and beautiful jukes in their heads after Brown lit up the Panthers for 178 yards while filling in for the injured LeSean McCoy.
To be fair, this is the Panthers, who came into the game with a mediocre (though greatly improved) rush defense, coming in at No. 18 in the league after ranking near the bottom after the first five games of the year.
Still, Eagles fans looking to next year—and be honest, who isn't at this point?—can think about a potentially killer tandem behind Nick Foles or whoever lands the starting job in Philly.
Think Kevin Mack and Ernest Byner; Rocky Blier and Franco Harris; Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris.
Brown and incumbent starter LeSean McCoy, who has 750 yards rushing through 10 games this season, could be deadly next year.
Brown's size, speed and ball-handling skill always impressed scouts, but after a college career that included stops at Kansas State and Tennessee, NFL teams had very little to go on when it came time to evaluate him as a draft prospect.
Pair Brown with the more elusive McCoy, who has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt (and a likely third this season), and Philly could have a deadly duo—the kind that takes the pressure off a young quarterback learning how to lead.
Brown showed promise in limited action this season, gaining 141 yards on 32 carries, and showed flashes of brilliance off the line with his quickness.
The Eagles have run the ball effectively this year, led by McCoy. Despite an unbalanced attack—throwing 100-plus more times than they have run the ball—they came into Monday's game ranked 11th in the league in rushing at 121 yards per game.
An inspired Brown and McCoy could make for an interesting 2013 when Philly expects to see a serious makeover on and off the field.
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