Bryce Brown rushed for a total of 476 yards in college. In two weeks as the starter for the Eagles, he has 347. He has already matched the touchdown total (4) from his 13 games with Tennessee and Kansas State.
It has been sudden and spectacular and captivating. Brown’s emergence has offered promise in a season where promise has been impossible to come by.
To put Brown’s surge into perspective, his 347-yard output over two games flirted with the team record held by the legendary Steve Van Buren, whose mark of 379 yards has stood since the mid 1900’s.
Thoughts of pairing Brown in the backfield with LeSean McCoy fans the remaining embers.
But, there is to be no joy without a caveat in this the 2012 season of discontent. Brown has fumbled three times in two contests, all of which have come in the second half with the game on the line.
Sunday’s came with about four minutes remaining and the Eagles down 31-27. Josh Brent punched the ball free after a four-yard gain and Morris Claiborne scooped it up and darted 50 yards to cement the Eagles’ eighth straight loss. Andy Reid did his best to encourage the 21-year-old on the sidelines.
“Just get back out there. Keep your head up, we’re going to back to it and we believe in you,” said Brown, “and he said he was going to get the ball back in my hands.
“Obviously I’m upset about it but I’m not going to hold my head down. I have a great group of guys around me. I’m just going to get back to the playbook and get back to the basics and keep working.”
Brown has carried the ball 43 times over the last two games subbing for McCoy, who is out with a concussion. He had only 32 carries in the previous 10 games combined.
“When you get tired, when you’re in that fourth quarter and you’ve been grinding, you’ve got focus on that,” said Reid of keeping the ball high and tight. “He was trying to get every yard he possibly could and when you’re doing that you have to overemphasize and exaggerate [ball security]. You know until you answer it the other team is going to be going for the football.
“He’s a heck of a young player. I’m not making excuses for anybody. He hasn’t played a lot of football here. We’re asking him to get in there and work and get back into this. Get used to being the guy and toting it. There’s a way you’ve got to go about that. He’s got to learn, but he will. He’s a smart guy and his effort is there.”
The hope is that these are just growing pains for the seventh-round pick. Clean up the turnovers, and the Eagles may just have something special on their hands.
“I’m just out there trying real hard to make a play,” said Brown. “I have to protect the ball. No excuses.”
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