Under New Regime, Big Plays Still Haunting Eagles' Defense

During the Eagles' 27-22 loss to Washington on Sunday, Jim Schwartz's unit did some things well. 

For the most part, the defense got off the field on third downs, got pressure on the quarterback and even scored points. 

But a few plays can change everything. And the Eagles gave up five plays of 20-plus yards Sunday — three of which went for touchdowns. 

"Well, I think that was the tale of this game," Schwartz said. 

"First of all, we can't judge ourselves on anything other than winning or losing the game, and we got to make sure that doesn't happen. Stats don't mean anything. Wins or losses mean something. We didn't do enough to win the game."

The terminology has changed some from last year — Schwartz doesn't call them "X plays" like the last staff — but the problem is the same. The Eagles continue to give up way too many big plays, of 20-plus yards. They've given up 13 in two games against Washington this year. 

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In fact, they've given up 60 plays of 20-plus yards this season, the second most in the NFL behind Chip Kelly's 49ers. And they're tied with the Raiders for the league lead in 20-plus-yard passing plays given up with 50. 

It's not a new problem for the Eagles either. Since 2012, they've given up more X plays (345) than any other team in the NFL. (Oddly enough, the Eagles' offense has piled up the same exact number of 20-plus yard plays since 2012 too.) 

Veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin had a big pick-6 Sunday, but it came after he gave up an 80-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson earlier in the game. (Jackson is responsible for two of the last three 80-plus-yard passing plays the Eagles have given up.) 

"Yeah, [McKelvin] made a lot of plays. It doesn't make up for the ones we gave up," Schwartz said. "I mean, we’ve got a lead in the fourth quarter. I'd swap any of those [plays] for knocking the ball down on 4th-and-1. He was right there. He played great coverage and they made one. It's hard to stop everything when it's 4th-and-1.

"That’s sort of life as an NFL corner: you're going to give up some plays. We just can't make them an 80-yard play. Like I said, if that’s a 60-yard play and we get them on the ground, we get a chance to make another play."

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