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Streak Ends For Eagles' Run Defense




CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Eagles' run defense has been one of the biggest strengths of the season to this point. Knowing that the Panthers were a run-heavy team, it seemed like stopping the run could go a long way toward the Eagles coming away from Carolina with a victory.

Instead, the Panthers were able to find the gaps in the Eagles' defense, rushing for 204 yards on the way to a 27-16 victory.

"We've done a great job with discipline in our gaps, and that's where we stop the run and get it done, and today we didn't do it," said defensive coordinator Bill Davis. "Sometimes you're out of your gap and it doesn't hit you, but tonight they had a couple of them. Credit goes to them. ... We had a couple of plays where we weren't supposed to be.

"We pride ourselves on stopping the run and we'll continue to stop the run. Give Carolina the credit, but we didn't get it done tonight in any phase."

Davis' players shared similar sentiments.

The Eagles traveled to North Carolina in Week 7 to face the undefeated Panthers. View the full gallery here...

"That wasn't a strength of ours tonight," said linebacker Connor Barwin. "We gave up a big play on the first play of the game, then they had the reverse. That might have been 100 yards right there. You can't do that."

It was an uncharacteristic night for the Eagles' defense, as they allowed their first individual 100-yard performance since Week 4 of the 2014 season, as Jonathan Stewart ran for 125 yards.

"It was just small things," said nose tackle Bennie Logan. "In the first quarter, I think it was just a blown assignment and he was able to get the big run from there, but other than that it was quarterback runs and nickel and diming. You knew they were going to try to come out and run the ball.

"We just need to finish, that's our main thing. Finish and execute. Whenever we have a chance to execute the calls, we need to continue to go out there and dominate ... We just need to come out there and finish things off."

Though the Eagles trailed for most of the game on Sunday night against the Panthers, the defense found a way to keep the team in the game by falling back on what has been their trademark for the entire season – forcing turnovers.

Just as they did last year in Philadelphia against the Panthers, the Eagles forced three Cam Newton interceptions, and though it ultimately wasn't enough to come away with a victory, it was another step in the right direction for the defense that leads the league with 19 takeaways.

"The secondary is playing well, and that's the positive to take from the game," said Barwin. "That's really what kept us in the game defensively was those three takeaways. We need to continue to do that and then go back and look at the mistakes that we made in the run game and some of the other X-plays and get that fixed."

The Eagles' defense now gets a week to rest and recovery, but on the other side of the bye week, a meeting on the road with the Dallas Cowboys looms large.

"We've got to get a lot better," said Davis. "It's about winning games. At the end of the day, did you win or did you lose and did you make the plays that allow you to win, and we didn't do it today. When we come back, we need to take a step back and say 'Alright, let's think about winning some games and get it done.'"

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