What if I told you last week that Derrick Henry would run for 30 yards on 11 carries against the Eagles? You’d have penciled in an easy win, probably.
But go back beyond last week, to when the Eagles were coming off their first and only loss of the season. Remember the discussions online about the gauntlet of running backs they’d face over the next four weeks? Here are the results thus far:
- Jonathan Taylor: 22 carries for 84 yards, 1 TD (Eagles win)
- Aaron Jones: 12 for 43 yards + AJ Dillon: 8 for 64 yards, 1 TD (Eagles win)
- Derrick Henry: 11 for 30 yards (Eagles win)
- Saquon Barkley: TBD
They’ve largely handled everything in front of them, and answered the questions we had about the run defense.
“I think it honestly came down to winning our one-on-one matchups,” linebacker T.J. Edwards said about the Tennessee performance. “I think obviously they had a good idea of what we were going to do, and we had a good idea of what they were going to do. It was all about winning your one-on-ones, winning your area, defeating blocks. Honestly, I thought our d-line just ruined that game. I thought they were dominant, all across the board. They’re stopping the run, and in the drop-back pass game they were getting to the quarterback as well, so I thought the front had a really good game.”
The defensive line did, indeed, ruin that game. Beyond holding Derrick Henry to 30 yards, they sacked Ryan Tannehill six times while the box score shows nine QB hits and five tackles for loss. They are second in the NFL with 42 sacks despite being a heavy nickel team that has only blitzed 99 times according to Sport Radar data, which has them tied for 16th in the league.
Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports
In three games since the Washington loss, they’ve allowed 99, 106, and 87 yards on the ground. That’s moved them up to 17th in the NFL, which is an improvement over where they were earlier in the season. They’re now a middle of the pack run stopping team.
“I felt like everyone’s attitude was to stop Derrick,” said Brandon Graham. “That is all we kept hearing. That is what they are going to do. They are going to run the ball, screen us, and play quick ball with play action and deep shots. That is exactly what we got and I feel like we started from the jump with meeting them at the line and making tackles. I see Marcus Epps come through and chop that leg down. I feel like people had an attitude to get (Henry) on the ground.”
They heard the noise and responded.
“I think we definitely came in with a little intent to stop (the run) week,” Edwards added. “We think we’re pretty physical as well. Again, it was all about winning our one-on-ones and upfront, it was nasty in there. You could just feel the presence of our d-line getting after them and safeties filling in the box when they had to. It was a really good game.”