When Chip Kelly took over the Eagles in 2013, the team had an explosive and dominant offense and lackluster defense and special teams.
Two years later, uncharacteristically for a Kelly-led squad, the Birds board one of the best special teams unites in the NFL and a defense that is second in the league in takeaways with 16.
“We take a lot of pride in our play,” Eagles safety Walter Thurmond said after Monday’s 27-7 win over the Giants.”We have a lot of great players on the defensive side of the ball. Our front seven has been playing great this season with stopping the run and getting after the passer. The secondary is playing some sound football and making a lot of plays out there. We just go out there and do our jobs.
“We always get overlooked playing defense. When you play defense, that is going to happen because it’s an offensive league. We understand that we just have to do what we need to do to make the necessary plays.”
The Eagles caused three turnovers and sacked Eli Manning three times. But more impressive than that was the Birds’ ability to bounce back after an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game.
New York marched down the field, seemingly at will, to score to take an early lead. The Giants would pick up just 172 more yards in the subsequent 50-plusminutes of play. Big Blue’s final 12 drives resulted ineight punts, two interceptions, a fumble and a turnover on downs.
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“I thought they were outstanding,” Chip Kelly said,”especially after that first drive where they just went right down the field and went 80 yards; it’s 7-0 right off the bat, kind of neutralized the crowd, kind of hushed everybody up.”
Philly’s defense got the crowd back into it quickly with two key interceptions — a Nolan Carroll IIIpick-six and DeMeco Ryans’ momentum changing interception.
“It was huge. The sideline went crazy,” Ryans said of his interception. He would later add a fumble recovery.”That’s great to see, especially when you’re the guy making the play. It’s great to see the response from not only the defense, but from the entire team. It was crazy.”
The Eagles have forced seven turnovers over the last two games and 12 over the last four. They also have a 12-game turnover streak.
Philly has also not allowed a 100-yard rusher in its last 18 games and one in its last 29 games. With the red-hot Panthersnext up, the Eagles defense will be key as Sunday Night, and Week 7 approaches.
“We have the Carolina Panthers, an undefeated team in their house,” Kelly said.”So even though we got a great win, there are a lot of things that we have to clean up if we want to beat a really good team in the Carolina Panthers in a short week.”