MIAMI Thats the kind of defense Eagles fans are used to seeing. Defense with swagger. Defense, as Brian Dawkins says, with some dawg.
Thats what it takes to record nine sacks and three turnovers. Thats what it takes to stuff teams in short-yardage situations. And thats whats been missing from this defense for most of the season.
If you would have said ahead of time what we would have done on third-and-short and fourth-and-short, I would have said, 'Youre crazy, because Im pretty sure they were close to being perfect this year on third- and fourth-and-short, Jason Babin said after the Eagles defensive tour de force resulted in a 26-10 victory (see story).
The Dolphins entered the game 14 for 22 (63.6 percent) on third-and-two or fewer and were 3 for 5 on fourth-and-one (60 percent). They havent attempted a fourth-and-two.
I dont know how many times we stopped them, Babin said, but it was almost unfathomable. I wouldnt have even guessed we could stop them that much."
Heres how many times (well include second down too):
Third-and-three from the Dolphins 27: Asante Samuel jarred the ball from receiver Davone Bess and recovered the fumble.
Second-and-two from the Eagles 49: Running back Daniel Thomas gained a yard. Darryl Tapp was credited with the stop.
Third-and-one from the Eagles 48: Thomas ran into a wall of green, led by Cullen Jenkins, who was credited with the tackle. No gain.
Fourth-and-one from the Eagles 48: Running back Lex Hilliard leapt into the pile and after a measurement and replay review was ruled short. Trent Cole made the stop.
Third-and-one from the Dolphins 42: Hilliard stopped again for no gain, Jenkins was credited with the stop.
Second-and-goal from the Eagles two: Incompletion.
Third-and-goal from the two: Derek Landri busted through the line and took down Thomas for a loss of two.
Second-and-two from the Dolphins 46: Incompletion.
Third-and-two from the Dolphins 46: Brandon Marshall catch for a yard.
Fourth-and-one from the Dolphins 47: J.P. Losman fumbled the snap and, after further review, is ruled short of the first down.
Thats 10 stops on second-, third- or fourth and two or fewer.
We had an attitude down in there we werent going to let them get it, Jenkins said. It wasnt going down there and hoping. We expected to stop them. We know the D-line plays the biggest part in that.
Wheres that attitude been all season?
Just not being consistent enough, Jenkins said. We come into some games and we show fight early and then let up later. We shoot ourselves in the foot with it.
They came into this game with something different (see blog post).
It just came from inside of us. We all have it, linebacker Brian Rolle said. It depends on whether we want to pull it out of us. Trent Cole and those guys said before the game, How bad do we want it. Thats when it comes down to how bad you want it.
They wanted it more than Miami.
"It's unacceptable," Dolphins guard Richie Incognito said. "We get in those situations and that's on the offensive line. That's on nobody else. We have to push them and get push, but we didn't do that today."
Cole said he simply was tired of losing.
Youve got to keep that swagger, Cole said. When you get that swagger going man its a snowball effect.
Everybody chipped in. Cole and Babin each had three sacks. Rolle, Casey Matthews and Phillip Hunt each recorded the first sacks of their careers. Kurt Coleman had an interception, and Asante Samuel forced and recovered a fumble.
Its called having fun having fun as a defense, Cole said. When were having fun out there, we make it a party.
The Eagles capped the party by sacking Losman for a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-19.
That was amazing, Rolle said. I dont think Ive ever seen that many times somebody made a stand on fourth down. We did it three times. Thats just a test for how much we wanted it. It could have been easy to give up a half-yard. But instead we fought hard and were able to hold them.
E-mail Andy Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org