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Run Defense Stifling In Victory

LANDOVER, Md. -- Coming into Sunday's intra-division showdown, all signs pointed to the Redskins' rushing attack being a mismatch against the Eagles' run defense. That turned out to be true, only the one-sided dominance came from an Eagles defense that was able to stonewall what had been a vaunted Redskins running game. In each of the first five games this season, the Eagles had surrendered over 100 yards to opposing running backs. But Sunday, Redskins running backs Ryan Torain and Roy Helu combined for a meager 28 yards on 12 carries, good for 2.33 yards per carry.

The domino effect? The Redskins were forced to rely on Rex Grossman and their passing game, and the Eagles feasted to the tune of four interceptions, surrendering only 13 points.

"We knew they were going to try to run it, establish that run and then get Grossman comfortable," said safety Nate Allen, who had one of the four interceptions. "We were able to keep the run game to a minimum, make them throw it and be a one-dimensional team. Then with that, we were able t ocreate turnovers."

The tone was set on the Redskins' first possession. On 3rd-and-16 from the Eagles' 38-yard-line, Grossman tried to find tight end Fred Davis deep down the middle of the field, only to see Kurt Coleman fly in and steal the ball. It was the first of three interceptions on the day for Coleman.

The longest run of the day for the Redskins, a 12-yarder, came courtesy of backup quarterback John Beck. The long for the running backs? A paltry six.

"That was the main thing," said cornerback Asante Samuel. "Stopping the running game was very important to our defense today."

The run defense also led to an impressive third-down performance from the Eagles defense, as they Redskins converted only once on the money down out of 10 opportunities. That, said defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, was a product of the performances on the early downs.

"We'd been doing decent in third down, it was really only the (third-and-shorts) that we'd been struggling at," he said. "Really, in the middle distances, we hadn't been bad all year ... (So it was a matter of keeping them in those distances)."

It was a performance that an oft-maligned Eagles defense can hang their hat on heading into the bye week. With another NFC East matchup on the horizon, the Week 8 tilt against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles, all of a sudden, are in position to make some real noise in the second half of the season.

"You never take for granted a win in this league," said Allen. "It's big getting a win before the bye week. Man, it gives us a lot of confidence; we just have to keep doing it."

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