How the Eagles stopped the run

Juan Castillo's defense held the Redskins to 42 rushing yards during Sunday's Eagles win. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Redskins running backs Ryan Torain and Roy Helu ran the ball 12 times for 28 yards on Sunday against the Eagles.

Neither managed to gain more than 6 yards on a single carry.

So what was the difference?

I took another look, and here's a play-by-play description of what happened on each:

4-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in nickel, but Kurt Coleman played up, pretty much like a third linebacker. Darryl Tapp lined up out wide on the right side; Jason Babin was a little closer on the left. The Redskins ran Torain to the left, and Cullen Jenkins occupied a pair of offensive linemen. The right guard tried to get his hands on Jamar Chaney, but Chaney did a great job of reading the play and was up at the line of scrimmage right away. He got his hands on Torain and made the tackle after a 4-yard gain.

2-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base, and Coleman played up at the line of scrimmage again, next to Juqua Parker, who was at left defensive end. In other words, they had eight men in the box. Again, Tapp was lined up wide, but Parker lined up a little tighter. The Redskins ran right, and Coleman disrupted the play, causing Torain to bounce it out wide. Parker did a good job of getting out there and shoving Torain out of bounds.

6-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base, and Nate Allen played up. Mike Patterson dominated the center and shot into the backfield, but Torain used his speed to escape initially. Allen got blocked, but Patterson hustled and brought Torain down from behind. Again, Tapp lined up out wide, but Parker was in tighter.

2-yard Helu run

The Eagles were in nickel. Babin lined up out wide this time, and Phillip Hunt was in tight on the right side. This was just a great hustle play by Babin. He flew around the right tackle and dragged Torain down after just a 2-yard gain.

1-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base. Hunt was out wide on the right side, but Babin was in tighter. Derek Landri was initially double-teamed by the left guard and left tackle, but he somehow got low and got a hold of Torain’s left leg to bring him down.

4-yard Helu run

The Eagles were in nickel and were definitely expecting a pass play. Babin dropped back into coverage, and Brian Rolle and Nnamdi Asomugha blitzed. Chaney initially dropped back also, but diagnosed the play and made the solo tackle.

6-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base. Parker lined up wide, but Tapp was in tighter. Jenkins got blocked to the ground, while Chaney and Moise Fokou both got blocked by offensive linemen. This resembled one of the runs we’d seen in previous weeks. An offensive lineman also had a shot to block Rolle, but he used his quickness and brought Torain down after a 6-yard gain.

1-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in nickel. Parker lined up out wide, but Tapp was in tighter. Patterson overpowered the right guard and got to Torain, wrapping him up after a short gain.

3-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in nickel. Babin lined up out wide, while Hunt was in a little tighter. Babin had Fred Davis blocking him one-on-one, but showed good discipline. He didn’t rush upfield immediately, and instead slowed Torain down. Chaney took on a block and assisted on the tackle also.

-2 yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base, and Allen played up. Tapp played wide, while Babin was in tighter. Fokou read the play well, shot into the backfield and dropped Torain for a loss.

1-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in nickel. This time, it looked like both defensive ends lined up out wide. Parker got good penetration into the backfield, and Torain cut back, but was swarmed by the rest of the Eagles’ line. Hunt missed a tackle, but Trevor Laws and Landri were right there to clean up.

0-yard Torain run

The Eagles were in base. Tapp was out wide, but Babin was in a little tighter. Tapp got into the backfield, and Landri took on two blockers, forcing Torain to bounce it outside. Chaney and Rolle swarmed to the ball and pushed Torain out of bounds.


I wouldn't say the Eagles ditched the wide-nine, but they often lined up one of the defensive ends closer to the tackle. To be honest, I know they did some of this in previous games too. I'd have to go back and look to see how much more often than they did it against the Redskins.

There were two major factors in stopping the run: defensive line play and tackling. As you can see from the descriptions, pretty much every defensive lineman played the run well. Not just the tackles, but the ends also.

The linebackers were better too, specifically Chaney.

And tackling was outstanding. Last week, I counted 13 missed tackles - both against the run and the pass. Having just watched the 12 run plays, I only noticed one missed tackle, by Hunt. It really did appear to be just that simple.

If you missed Man Up from earlier, click here.

You can follow me on Twitter or become a fan of Moving the Chains on Facebook.