After Sunday night’s demolishing of the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles continue to show that they are a force to be reckoned with. Head coach Chip Kelly learned from last week’s performance and got his offense right back on track. Quarterback Nick Foles only missed four of his twenty five throws and finished the night with a quarterback rating of 131.7. Running back LeSean McCoy was given eighteen carries on which he ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns. It’s clear that when the Eagles run the football, they are a completely different team.
But there’s something that continues to go unnoticed on this Eagles squad: the play of the defense. The two big talks in the NFC East are always about the Dallas Cowboys continuing to fail or Foles’ fantastic play. Not to take away anything from Foles, but it’s time we give some major credit to defensive coordinator Billy Davis and this revitalized Eagles defense. After watching the game, anyone can say that the offense was absolutely on point, but they had room to fail. Foles and company could relax and play their game because they were getting the ball right back regardless of what they did.
Corner backs Carry Williams, Bradley Fletcher, and Brandon Boykin effectively shut down one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. With safeties Patrick Chung, Nate Allen and Earl Wolff shadowing over top, the Eagles’ secondary was looking solid. Underneath the play, linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks were making all the short yardage tackles to stop plays before they got started. It was a thing of beauty. A huge reason that both groups were able to do this was the play of the men up front.
Bennie Logan, Fletcher Cox, Trent Cole, Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin all put incredible amounts of pressure on Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler. I LOVE the heavy blitzing and it’s something that I haven’t seen from the Eagles since the days of legendary defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. On top of shutting down the receivers because Cutler had no time to make decisions on his throws, the third highest rushing leader in the NFL, Bears running back Matt Forte, was made a non-factor. This line is getting to the quarterback and getting to him quick. This has been the key to the Eagles’ success.
Philadelphia currently ranks last in time of possession per game, a statistic in which Kelly sees no value in. In doing so, the defense has played more downs per game than any other team in the NFL. Even so, the Eagles’ defense has allowed fewer than twenty one points in six of their last seven games. Regardless of being on the field more, they’ve been very consistent in doing exactly what they need to: force three and outs and create turnovers.
If this play keeps up, I don’t see any reason why the Eagles cannot make a deep playoff push. The offense will adapt and continue to grow with Coach Kelly only in only his first year, but all serious contenders need a good defense. The Eagles have found that defense.