PHILADELPHIA - In the first half, it appeared running back LeSean McCoy was going to get the last laugh on his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and especially Eagles' coach Chip Kelly.
McCoy, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills in the off-season, had 63 rushing yards and was averaging 5.3 yards per carry and was seemingly on his way to his fourth 100-yard game of the season.
Then the second half started and McCoy was a non-factor as the Eagles eked out a 23-20 victory over the Bills on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field to keep pace with the Washington Redskins in NFC East. McCoy had just 11 yards on eight carries after halftime and that was a major reason the Eagles won.
"Shady is a great player and we knew we had to at least contain him today," Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said. "He's such a vital part of their offense, we knew we would win the game as long as we didn't let him beat us. And we didn't."
The Eagles scored the game-winning points on Caleb Stugis' 30-yard field goal with 3:26 left to play, which was set up by a 41-yard catch-and-run by tight end Zach Ertz, who broke two tackles and stiff-armed another defender to pick up an 15 yards.
McCoy made headlines this past week when he made it clear he was still bitter about the trade to Buffalo and he made a point to say that he wouldn't shake Kelly's hand after the game.
Well, McCoy didn't shake anybody's hand - as the final seconds ticked away, he dashed to the tunnel and the Bills locker room without exchanging pleasantries with any of his former teammates. And then McCoy declined to talk to reporters after the game, simply saying "I got nothing to say to y'all."
Bills coach Rex Ryan had plenty to say about his team sloppy play, which included 15 penalties for 101 yards, three times the number of flags thrown at the Eagles (five penalties for 55 yards).
"We just got penalty after penalty," Ryan said. "We moved the ball up and down the field and then we'd get a darn penalty. We never allowed ourselves to get into a rhythm."
Eagles running back DeMarco Murray also made news when it was revealed that he talked to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about his lack of playing time last week against New England, when he was on the field for just 14 snaps and eight carries. Murray carried the ball 11 times versus the Bills for 34 yards while Ryan Mathews carried the ball 13 times for 38 yards and Darren Sproles had seven attempts for 41 yards.
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 19 of 36 passes for 268 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford completed 23 of 38 passes for 247 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Eagles led 20-13 in the third quarter when a 19-yard touchdown run by backup running back Mike Gillislee tied it up. The Eagles also scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game, a 61-yard drive that saw them convert a couple of third-down situations and finally cash in when Darren Sproles scored on a 1-yard run to make it 7-0.
The Bills got that touchdown back on their next possession and it didn't take them nearly as long, as they hit two long passes - a 32-yarder to wide receiver Robert Woods on the first play of the drive and a 47-yarder to wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the final play of the drive as Watkins beat cornerback Byron Maxwell on a long sideline patter for the tying TD.
The Eagles regained the lead in the second quarter with a lightning bolt of their own after a strange sequence of events. First, Bills returner Marcus Thigpen muffed a punt and the Eagles recovered on the Bills' 37. But consecutive holding penalties against Eagles' tackle Dennis Kelly had the Eagles looking at a first-and-30. After a 4-yard run, Bradford spotted rookie receiver Nelson Agholor open down the middle and hit him with a 63-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead with 10:38 left in the second period.
"That was a huge play because you need to get those big plays every once in a while," Eagles center Jason Kelce said. "It's tough in this league to drive 80 yards all the time, and that touchdown gave us a big lift and that really carried us through the game."
Notes: Eagles RB Ryan Mathews returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with concussion symptoms. ... The Bills were without two defensive starters - CB Stephon Gilmore (shoulder) and LB Nigel Bradham (ankle). They were replaced, respectively, by Leodis McKelvin and Kevin Reddick. ... Eagles rookie WR Nelson Agholor, their first-round pick out of Southern Cal, scored the first touchdown of his NFL career in the second quarter, a 63-yard reception.