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In the midst of the Eagles’ four-game winning steak and ascent into a first-place tie with the Cowboys atop the NFC East, Chip Kelly’s group has turned into an all-around football team.
On Sunday, the defense saw 11 players record a tackle, 11 passes broken up by nine different players, five sacks divided among three players and its opponent score 21 points or fewer for the eighth straight game.
On offense, tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek caught all three Eagles touchdowns to give deep threats DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper a lift.
And on special teams, Donnie Jones booted seven punts inside the 20.
All in all, it was a “complete win” over the Cardinals for a team that was “ready to play” after the bye week, according to Comcast SportsNet’s “Eagles Extra” crew.
“One of the things that I think is interesting, as we meet every Monday to watch the film, when we’re deciding what we’re going to bring into the show, we’re finding ourselves saying, ‘Well let’s talk about this, and let’s talk about these guys, and let’s talk about these guys, and let’s talk about these guys,’” analyst Ray Didinger said on Monday’s show. “And what it tells me is, that you really have a team here.”
The defense picked off two Carson Palmer passes, forced two fumbles and recovered one to improve the Eagles’ turnover margin to plus-seven this season. Last year, it was minus-24, tied for worst in the NFL.
“Turnovers win games,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said (see story). “We talk about how turnovers change the outcome of the game and they change the outcome of the season.”
The offense struck early and showed no letdown after a one-week hiatus.
“I was most interested in this whole game about how the team was going to respond after the bye week,” analyst Brian Baldinger said. “We saw a lot of new plays in new action, we saw a team that was ready to play, they put seven points up on the opening drive -- turnover, touchdown. This team was ready to play -- that’s what you want. You want to see a team ready to play, take charge of the game, and they never looked back.”
In Kelly’s first season, the Eagles are playing like a team -- a team that is playing for a division crown instead of rebuilding.
“You’re talking about guys coming to play -- everybody on that football team competing,” analyst Brian Westbrook said. “‘I’m going to play better than you, I’m going to play better than the next man.’ That’s how this team gets better. This team is a good football team, they’ll continue to rise and they’ll continue to get better.”