Philly Sports Talk

Defense Sacks the Cardinals

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The Philadelphia Eagles have held opponents to 21 points or fewer in eight straight games after giving up an average of 27.5 points per game through the first four weeks of the NFL season. Having won four straight games, this defense is vastly improving and it should be time for the NFL to take notice. In today’s 24-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles recorded 5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Even with giving up 4.2 yards per carry to Rashard Mendenhall, the defense made stop after stop time and time again and even with the two touchdowns scored in the second half, they came on defensive errors where the defensive backs, either one another both times pursuing the receiver and the ball. But on this day, the defensive line served its purpose and made the kind of noise Eagles fans are use to.

“I have a lot of different responsibilities, getting used to that,” said Trent Cole after today’s win. “Hard work pays off. Keep your head straight, work hard, stay humble, you’ll get it done.” Cole had two sacks today and a forced fumble and was speaking on his work ethic within being switched from defensive end to linebacker with the new 3-4 system being run this year by Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis. Forcing three turnovers in a game and not having any on the offensive side of the ball will certainly speak volumes for a game in which the Eagles almost lost. As dominant as the defense was in the game, the offense was almost equally absent in the second half, giving the Cardinals a chance at not only possibly tying the game, but winning it.

Something about this defense today seemed motivated, nasty, up for the challenge. It appeared that they wanted the fans and the league to see that all of the talk about the Cardinals, tall, physical, talented wide outs may have been deserved, but this defense deserved as much praise, if not more. Holding Larry Fitzgerald also known to many fans as “The Eagle Killer” to just 5 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown was remarkable compared to his games vs. the Eagles throughout his career.

Interceptions by both Nate Allen and Cary Williams had to feel good to a secondary unit that seemed all but non-existent at times this season, especially during the first 4 games. Allen had his first interception in 3 seasons and for Williams, with all of the mounted penalties, to finally be on the positive side of the ball, we as fans are beginning to see that free agent we wondered about and if he would show up with that Super Bowl winning mentality and consistent play on the field. Hopefully this is the beginning of more to come from this defense, as fans we get spoiled by this type of play and look for more. While every play won’t be the perfect play, improvement every week is all we ask. In the last 8 games that’s what we’ve seen. Now, as grateful as we are, it’s what we’ve come to expect.

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