by Andrew Healy
When the No. 3 defense goes up against the No. 25 offense, you can usually feel pretty good if you bet on that offense scoring under 37.5 points. But even before Sunday, the Buccaneers presented more danger to the highly ranked Eagles defense than a bottom-dweller offense usually would. The Buccaneers' No. 25 offense rolled up 38 points (Tampa Bay's final seven points in the 45-17 rout of the Eagles came by way of a Lavonte David interception return) in large part because they run with the kryptonite for the 2015 Eagles defense: the power back.
The Eagles entered Sunday with identical defensive DVOA of -17.3% against the pass and the run. Since runs are usually less efficient than passes, that split is unusual. The Broncos and Panthers were the only other defenses whose DVOA against the pass was lower (which is better for defenses) than their DVOA against the run. While the Eagles were one of only four defenses under -10.0% in pass DVOA, 18 defenses had broken that mark in run defense. So what had set the Eagles' defense apart was primarily their success against the pass rather than the run. Moreover, their run defense had one clear weakness: runs up the middle. Coming into Sunday, the Eagles had mostly stopped outside runs but ranked near the bottom against inside runs.
|Eagles' Rushing Defense By Direction Before Sunday|
|Left end/Left tackle||79||-19.1%||11th|
|Left guard/Middle/Right guard||85||-1.5%||29th|
|Right end/Right tackle||74||-26.3%||5th|