Redskins defense continues to struggle stopping the run

Linebacker London Fletcher was among the first players to appear in the locker room at Redskins Park this morning, drawing the attention of the gaggle of media gathered to listen to the fallout from a 23-0 loss to Buffalo. Washington’s once-heralded defense again turned in an uninspired performance in Toronto Sunday.

Like his defensive teammates, Fletcher wasn’t about to issue excuses, instead offering some simple solutions for a unit that gave up 390 yards to Buffalo, including 120 rushing to tailback Fred Jackson.


London Fletcher, after one of Sunday’s few bright moments: His goal-line interception against the Bills. (Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

The defense can start by stopping the run. It’s given up an average of nearly 166 yards rushing over the last three games, including 175 to Carolina last week and 192 to Philadelphia in the first of Washington’s three straight losses.

“Everybody has to be accountable for what’s going on,” defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “Something’s not going right. I don’t know what it is. I can’t tell you, but we’ve got to look at the film, and it has to be fixed.”

The Redskins have another tall order this week in stopping San Francisco running back Frank Gore, who when healthy is among the most dangerous running backs in the league. And it’s not as if Washington has been anywhere near stout against some of the NFL’s other top runners.

Ranked 20th against the run, Washington allowed the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy to rush for 126 yards and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to gain 59 yards on 10 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run that provided a 10-point margin in a 33-20 loss.

“Everyone just has to have personal pride,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “Obviously, organizationally, teams have a reputation for doing certain things, whether it be the draft or free agency or just strategies like that, but I think it’s somewhat overblown. It’s still man for man, people being responsible and taking care of their job. It’s personal accountability.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.

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