Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Rebounds, Shuts Down TE Davis

Perhaps Vernon Davis should have kept quiet.

If the Eagles' defense needed any extra motivation in their attempt to shut down the 49ers' premier offensive weapon, Davis provided it when he sauntered over to the Eagles' pre-game warmup.

"He was calling names, calling out (former college teammate Moise) Fokou," said linebacker Tracy White. "He was like two feet away from our warm-up drills, so we kind of took that personally. Our linebackers, we took it personally. We got fired up after that."

With that extra incentive, the Eagles went out and held Davis to only three catches for 43 yards - one of Davis' least productive days of the season.

"The gameplan was pretty much to get him out of his rhythm, get him away from running vertically free and try to jam him in first 5-to-10 yards where he's not as effective," said Fokou. "And we held him to three catches and kept him out of the end zone, so I think we did our job."

Even before Davis' pre-game jawing, the Eagles' defense was prepared for the league leader in touchdown receptions. The Eagles played an overwhelming percentage of nickel defense in their 27-13 win, often using cornerbacks Joselio Hanson and Dimitri Patterson to shadow Davis.

"We did (use a lot of nickel)," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, "because they want to throw the ball out of that two-tight-end set. Teams have had trouble over the course of the year matching up with Vernon Davis with a linebacker so I wasn't going to put us in that position and Hanson went out there and did a good job."

McDermott and the Eagles defense rebounded in impressive fashion. After allowing 512 total yards in last week's win over the New York Giants, the Eagles cut that number almost in half - conceding only 261 yards to the 49ers.

It was a day the Eagles' defense can hang their hat on now that they're officially headed to the playoffs. Even though they allowed their first 100-yard rusher in 21 regular season games, they caused four turnovers and generally stifled a hot 49ers' team.

"(Davis) did some talking to us," said linebacker Will Witherspoon, a key component of the nickel defense, "but we let the game speak for itself."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:41 p.m., December 20

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