It's a matter of different styles.
Ask Andy Reid to explain what went wrong with an Eagles offense that managed to collect just five first downs and 135 net yards in the final three quarters of an ugly 23-17 loss to the Redskins and he goes into his familiar name-rank-and-serial-number mode where he takes the blame for everything, from that failed third-and-one in the fourth quarter to the chickenpox Donovan McNabb had when he was in second grade.
Now, ask Jim Johnson to explain how his defense, which had held its first four opponents to an NFL-best 2.6 yards per carry, gave up 203 rushing yards to the same Redskins, and you get a little bit more candor.
"We got our ass kicked," the defensive coordinator said. "We didn't do a great job up front. Especially in the second half. Simple as that.
"We took away their wide receiver [Santana Moss], but did a lousy job against the run. We just got mauled. We didn't get off blocks. Both the linebackers and our front four. Simple as that."
A front seven, who had helped hold the Eagles' first four opponents to a total of 215 rushing yards and 12 rushing first downs, gave up nearly that much in four quarters yesterday. Clinton Portis, who rushed for 121 yards in the 'Skins' win over Dallas last week, collected 145 on 29 carries against the Eagles, including four on a game-clinching fourth-and-1 run with 2 minutes, 48 seconds left.
"We knew going in we had to stop the run," Johnson said. "That's our job to stop 'em. We had the right defense. We had eight men in the box most of the time. They didn't do anything fancy. They just blocked us. We couldn't get off blocks."
Simple as that.
The Redskins racked up 10 rushing first downs, which is just two fewer than the Eagles allowed in Weeks 1-4. They had 14 runs of 6 yards or more, including 21- and 27-yard second-half runs by Portis that helped set up a pair of touchdowns.
Washington's success on the ground made for a scarcity of third-and-long situations, which made for less blitzing by the blitz-happy Johnson. The Redskins converted an obscene 11 of 19 third-down opportunites. In the Eagles' three losses, opponents have converted 24 of 46 third-down tries. In their two wins, two of 23.
"It's a lot harder to blitz when it's third-and-3, third-and-4, third-and-5," Johnson said.
"That was embarrassing," defensive end Trent Cole said. "We've got a great team. But we've got to go out there and show it. We just didn't show it today."
One hundred thirty-one of the Redskins' 203 rushing yards came in the second half when they controlled the football, running 38 offensive plays to the Eagles' 20. Portis had 102 yards on 18 carries in the final two quarters.
So confident was coach Jim Zorn in his running game that he went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Eagle 38 with fewer than 3 minutes left in the game. If they hadn't made it, the Eagles would have had a short field to work with and plenty of time to score the go-ahead touchdown.
"It was all Clinton," Zorn said. "He called the play. I called the formation and how I wanted it set up. But he called the play, and as he ran the play, he willed his way for the first down."
Portis got behind his big offensive linemen and picked up 3 yards and the first down. The Eagles never got the ball back.
"When you get an opportunity to put a team away, you've got to take it," Portis said. "We didn't want to put Donovan McNabb and their offense back on the field."
Johnson admitted he was a little surprised the Redskins went for it on fourth down.
"It was an aggressive call on their part," he said. "We had the right defense. We had an eight-man front. We had two 'backers blitzing.
"They just kind of bowled us over."
When will Donovan McNabb's chest injury be well enough for him to run a quarterback sneak again? Next week? Next month? Next year? Faced with a third-and-1 at the Washington 2 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles ran Brian Westbrook, who needed a first-quarter painkilling shot for an injured rib, to the left side rather than a McNabb sneak. The play actually was a check-off at the line by McNabb. But the original call wasn't a sneak. As it turned out, Westbrook's blocking got blown up on the play and he was tackled for a 3-yard loss. *
-- The Redskins' offense has yet to turn the ball over this season. Quarterback Jason Campbell has 153 attempts without an interception.
-- In their last four games, the Eagles have scored 68 points in the first half and just 21 in the second half. In those four games, they've averaged 5.8 yards per offensive play in the first half, just 4.0 in the second half.
-- In the last four games, Eagles tight ends have caught just eight passes for 76 yards and no touchdowns.
-- Sav Rocca has seven 50-plus yard punts in 23 attempts this season. He's averaging 47.0 yards per punt through five games.
-- David Akers, who was wide right with a 50-yard field-goal attempt, has missed his last nine attempts from 45-plus yards, and has converted just three of his last 14 attempts from 40-plus yards. Since 2005, he is just 15-for-33 from 40-plus yards.
-- In his last two games against the Eagles, Clinton Portis has rushed for 282 yards on 59 carries (4.8 yards per carry).
-- The Eagles have given up seven touchdown passes in the first five games. All seven have come in their three losses. They're on pace to give up 22. They've only given up more than 20 in a season twice under Jim Johnson.
-- With just 58 yards on 18 carries, the Eagles are averaging just 3.5 yards per carry this season.
-- Donovan McNabb completed three of four third-down passes for 40 yards in the first quarter. In the final three quarters on third down, he was 4-for-6 for just 17 yards. For the season, he has a .546 completion percentage on third down, but is averaging 7.9 yards per attempt.
-- Yesterday's touchdown-less performance ended a string of eight straight games with at least one touchdown pass for McNabb.
-- McNabb didn't have a rushing attempt and has just 10 (for 16 yards) in the first five games. That equals his career-low for rushing attempts in the first five games. He also had 10 in '05, when he was playing with a sports hernia.