OAKLAND -- Stopping the opposing team's quarterback is key every week, but it was even more so this Sunday for the Eagles. Oakland's Terrelle Pryor was not only the Raiders' leading passer, but he was also the only quarterback in the league to also be his team's leading rusher.
The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Pryor made some plays on Sunday, but was unable to put many points on the board as the Eagles left the Golden State victorious by a 49-20 decision Sunday. Pryor finished 22-of-41 for 288 yards in the air with a pair of interceptions, while also gaining 94 yards on the ground.
"The points are what we're focused on and it's coming down, we're continuing to work on it," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "We're moving in the right direction, but we have a lot of work left."
The key for the Eagles was stopping the run on early downs to put Pryor in passing situations to force the young quarterback to beat the defense with his arm. Rashad Jennings did become the first individual rusher to gain over 100 yards against the Eagles this season ending with a game-high 102 yards, but 63 of them came in the second half when the game was well at hand. Nose tackle Bennie Logan made his first-career start following the trade that sent Isaac Sopoaga to the Patriots last Tuesday and was credited with three tackles and helping set the tone up front early in the game.
"That felt good to show the coaches what I'm capable of doing," Logan said. "The reason that they made the trade was that they had a lot of confidence in me. I just didn't want to let my teammates down or my coaches down. I understood it was a challenge to me. I just wanted to go out there and prove myself from the first snap to the last snap. We knew we had to contain Pryor. The main thing going into this game was plastering them in coverage, don't let him get outside the pocket. We knew if we stopped him and the running game, we pretty much had this game."
With the run defense able to set up third-and-long situations, Davis called for the use of four-man rushes and a spy - predominately linebacker Mychal Kendricks - to contain Pryor in the pocket. Even without sending additional rushers, the Eagles were able to knock Pryor off his spot.
"It's a great thing when you get pressure with three-man rushes because it allows us to keep the cornerbacks and linebackers in coverage," Logan said. "You don't have to blitz in order to bring pressure. That allows your defense to do different things."
Pryor had his moments where his exceptional athleticism allowed him to get out of trouble. On one of the rare occasions the Eagles blitzed with Kendricks, Pryor escaped for a 35-yard scramble which set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Jennings in the second quarter to make it 21-10.
"He's big. He runs like a gazelle," said Kendricks, who finished with 10 tackles and a sack.
The escapability which makes Pryor so dangerous to defend can also work against him as he evolves as a passer. The Eagles got three sacks and a pair of interceptions - one by cornerback Bradley Fletcher and another by linebacer Connor Barwin - as the offense piled on touchdown after touchdown courtesy of Nick Foles' record-tying performance to eventually put the game out of reach.
"It's fun to see them back rolling," said linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who had a team-high 11 tackles, of the team's offensive deluge. "Our defense is playing well. It's starting to come together collectively. If we can continue to play like that, that's the kind of effort we want from the offensive side and defensive sides of the ball."
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