Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Falls Apart Late

BALTIMORE -- For three quarters, the Eagles defense did its job on Sunday.

The Ravens came into the game against the Eagles as the third-best rushing team in the NFL.

Philadelphia, which was ranked 13th against the run, held Baltimore's three-headed rushing attack in check for most of the game, but five untimely turnovers on offense and a blocked punt for a safety contributed to the Eagles' demise as Baltimore emerged with a 36-7 win at M&T Bank Stadium. The Eagles surrendered 24 points in the fourth quarter - 17 of them came from the defense.

"Every unit has to be working," said defensive end Trent Cole, who had eight tackles and a sack. "You have to remember that every unit affects the other. You have to win as a team." Photo Gallery : PHI vs. BAL 11-23-08

The defense was left in the lurch often against the Ravens.

"We're going to let the offense do their thing," linebacker Chris Gocong said. "Aside from a few plays, the defense played pretty good. I think we just need to get more turnovers (and) put the offense in better scoring position."

Which is something the Ravens took advantage of the entire game.

Following a Matt Stover field goal, Baltimore safety Ed Reed's second-quarter interception and subsequent return gave the Ravens the ball at the Eagles' 6-yard line. Two plays later, the Ravens held a 10-0 lead.

Reed also picked off a Kevin Kolb pass and returned it 108 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"Their defense is putting them in scoring position and we're just making them go three-and-out and punt the ball," Gocong said. "Like I said, we just have to force turnovers (and) find a way."

After Sav Rocca had a punt blocked out of the end zone for a safety to give the Ravens a 12-7 advantage, the Eagles' defense stiffened once again and forced Baltimore to punt.

Two plays later, though, quarterback Kevin Kolb threw the Eagles' fourth interception of the game. The Ravens converted that turnover into more points after quarterback Joe Flacco connected with receiver Mark Clayton for a 53-yard touchdown against a tired squad.

"I think we did a good job on (Le'Ron McClain) early," said defensive end Victor Abiamiri, who recorded his first-career sack in the return to his hometown. "Late in the fourth quarter, he kind of got away from us. But he's a good back, a big, strong back and he did a good job over the course of the game."

McClain, the Ravens fullback, finished the day with 18 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown. He did most of his damage in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

However, the Eagles defense completely took Ravens' leading rusher Willis McGahee completely out of the game and rookie runner Ray Rice did most of his damage on the receiving end of Flacco's passes, as the team's leading receiver.

McGahee finished the day with seven carries for eight yards and Rice didn't fare much better, squeezing out seven yards on eight carries. Overall, the Eagles held Baltimore to just 2.8 yards per carry.

"We probably didn't do a good job, actually," linebacker Stewart Bradley said. "It was one of many things we wanted to accomplish. We got it done, but that doesn't mean we had a good day."

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