It was historic on many levels, that 90-yard touchdown run that Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had against the Eagles’ defense on Monday night.
It was the longest run of his career, for starters. Also, no running back older than Peterson ever had a longer run. Peterson is 33, but he ran away from the Eagles’ defenders like he was 23.
As for the Eagles’ side of this, it was the longest run against one of their defenses in club history. The last time anyone went further on the ground was 1960, when John Henry Johnson ran for 87 yards on one play.
On Wednesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked what went wrong.
“When you give up a long run it's very rarely one person's mistake,” he said. “You can give up a long pass and it just be one guy. Everybody can do something right and one guy trips and falls down or one guy miscommunicates, and you can look really bad on a pass by one guy. It's hard to look really bad on a run unless you get mistakes at all three levels. We did on that play. Mistake on the D-line, mistake at linebacker and then a missed tackle on the back end. That's where you end up.”
Peterson did nothing else the rest of the game, though.
In fact, he joined Herschel Walker as the only other running back to have a touchdown run of 90 yards and not finish with more than 100 yards rushing in the game.
Peterson finished with 98 yards. He only had nine carries, though. He likely would’ve topped 100 with one more run, but, for some reason head coach Jay Gruden stopped running the ball despite a tight 14-13 game through three quarters.
Washington ran just 14 times – seven in the first half and seven in the second – despite playing with a backup quarterback in Colt McCoy who yielded to a backup’s backup in Mark Sanchez after McCoy broke his leg in the first half.
“I was proud of the guys the way they rallied behind that and didn't let one bad play become another,” said Schwartz. “I've been in that position before. I think it was 2013. I was in Detroit. We opened the season with Minnesota with Adrian Peterson. He was just coming off leading the NFL in rushing. Our whole game plan was getting him stopped.”
It didn’t quite work out that way on the first play in that game. Schwartz recalled that Peterson went 80 yards for a score on the first play of the game, but held him to 95 yards “or something like that.”
“I was proud of the guys the way they bounced back from that,” said Schwartz about Monday’s game. “I think limiting the run game not just with him, but with (Redskins running back) Chris Thompson, who I have a lot respect for as a back, that obviously was where we were in that game and got us to where we were in that game.”
Thompson had just three carries for three yards.
The Eagles won’t be so luck on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas coach Jason Garrett won’t stop running the ball like Gruden did, and Elliott shredded the Eagles defense in the first meeting, running for 151 yards and a touchdown while adding another 36 yards and a TD through the air.
“He's hard to tackle one-on-one,” said Schwartz of Elliott. “He has enough speed that he can get to the edge and he can create big plays. But he's so strong. They are not very complicated in the run game and they don't need to be. Just sort of hand him the ball, and even if there is an extra guy, he can run through them or make them miss.
“He has also really increased his load as his career has gone on in the passing game also. He is a dangerous screen runner. You have to account for him. He's obviously one of the best backs in the league. If we're going to come out with a win, we're going to have to get him stopped.”