ALAMEDA -- Having delivered on a training camp pledge to be better against the run, the Raiders can make a statement at the midway point of the season by shutting down the NFL's leading rusher.

LeSean McCoy, who has 733 yards on the ground through eight games, has looked at the film and doesn't expect the yards to come easily when the Philadelphia Eagles visit O.co Coliseum on Sunday.

"I'll tell you what, it seems like they all have a big motor," McCoy said of the Raiders defense in a conference call with Bay Area media. "They know who they are. They're a big, athletic group. They play well together. It's going to be a tough game. They play extremely well against the run. I'm curious to see what happens."

Opposing backs often go out of their way to build up their opponent, but in McCoy's case, the numbers back him up. A sieve against the run for the past 10 years, the Raiders are ranked sixth in the NFL, giving up 89.9 yards per game.

The Raiders are giving up just 3.6 yards per carry, fourth in the league, and haven't given up more than 78 yards to any individual runner.

The last time the Raiders went an entire season giving up less than 100 yards per game rushing was 2002, when opponents gained 90.8 yards per game and Oakland won the AFC championship.

A year ago, in the season's eighth game, Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin rushed for 251 yards against the Raiders, scored four touchdowns and became the first running back in NFL history with three touchdown runs of 45 or more yards in the same game (45, 67 and 70 yards).


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Lamarr Houston is the only starter who remains (with Tyvon Branch out with an injury) from that game, and the new players have executed what Raiders teams have talked about for years but failed to accomplish.

Mainly, the Raiders play fundamental run defense. They set an edge, turning runners back inside to waiting tacklers. Players don't stray from assignments and remain in the proper gaps. Most important, they swarm to the ball, so when one player misses a tackle, another is there to clean up.

"When a team is going to come in and try to run the ball on you, you have to have the mindset they're not going to have success," defensive end Jason Hunter said. "Guys are working hard on it at practice, making sure they're in the right places, and on Sundays just playing with passion and aggression."

McCoy comes in with just 103 yards on 33 carries in his past two games, losses to Dallas and the New York Giants.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen points out those games occurred when Philadelphia's quarterback situation was unsettled, with Michael Vick and Nick Foles suffering injuries and rookie Matt Barkley forced into action.

Foles will start against the Raiders, having been cleared after a concussion. The fast-paced no-huddle Oregon-style offense brought in by coach Chip Kelly depends heavily on McCoy.

While no-huddle systems are normally associated with passing, Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said, "They do a good job of staying balanced, run and pass. This is a running offense."

McCoy is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and Allen calls him "a home run threat every time he touches the ball."

Conversely, the Raiders haven't given up a run of more than 19 yards all season. Philadelphia hopes to break through by getting McCoy into space.

"If you get a piece of him, hold on," middle linebacker Nick Roach said. "He's about as shifty as you'll see, and he's fast, too. You need to get a lot of bodies, a lot of guys swarming him to go get him and bring him down."

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.

Sunday's game
Philadelphia (3-5) at Raiders (3-4), 1:05 p.m. FOX