The latest episode of "We Can't Stop The Run" occurred Sunday at FedEx Field as the Eagles eked out a 21-19 win over the Washington Redskins despite being gashed for 210 rushing yards. Redskins running back Ladell Betts rushed for a career-high 171 yards on 33 carries.
In the last six games, the Eagles have given up 1,119 rushing yards on 213 carries. That's a whopping 5.25 yards allowed per carry. Yet, they are 7-6.
"We definitely need to be better at (stopping the run)," Eagles coach Andy Reid said after the Eagles climbed back over .500 for the first time since October 22. "But the bottom line is we need to win games. We did that. The end result was we stopped them."
Led by Betts, the Redskins put together five scoring marches of nine plays or more against the Eagles. But only one of them resulted in a touchdown. The other four ended in Shaun Suisham field goals.
Trailing by five, 21-16, the Redskins drove down to the Philadelphia three with about six minutes left in the game. But a 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty moved them back to the eight and forced them into a passing situation. Eagles safety Brian Dawkins sacked quarterback Jason Campbell for a nine-yard loss on a third-down blitz to force Washington to settle for a field goal.
"We didn't do a good job against the run," acknowledged Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. "Our gap control was really poor. We can't let people run the ball like that. We were aggressive. We just didn't do a good job as far as our run gaps."
The Eagles' inability to stop the run forced the Eagles to stay in a lot of run fronts and limited their ability to blitz the inexperienced Campbell, who attempted just 27 passes despite the fact that the Eagles jumped out to a 21-3 first-half lead.
What's really frustrating Johnson is the big runs the Eagles are giving up. Betts had eight runs of 10-plus yards Sunday, though he never made it to the end zone.
"We had the gashes (long runs) today," Johnson said. "I hate gashes. I felt if we could've controlled that, we could've gotten them into more third-and-longs. But we didn't do that."
Johnson already has made one lineup change. Two games ago, he benched struggling weak-side linebacker Matt McCoy and replaced him with rookie Omar Gaither. Gaither had a pretty good game against the Redskins and even intercepted a pass.
But there's not many other personnel moves he can make. The Eagles selected a defensive tackle, Brodrick Bunkley, in the first round of the April draft. But Bunkley barely gets on the field. He took just one defensive snap against the Redskins, in their goal line package late in the game.
Notes From The 'Nest...