Jalen Mills has become the Eagles best cornerback. But he’s never shown that he has return skills.
When he was able to get a great read on a badly thrown pass from C.J. Beathard in the second quarter of Philly’s 33-10 win Sunday, he saw an opportunity to shut up his nagging teammates.
“Malcolm [Jenkins] and [defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz gave it to me all week that I had no return skills,” Mills said of his third interception in eight games this year, “so I cut it back. I had to get into the end zone.”
Mills made the interception on the 49ers sideline, ran about 20 yards down the field and suddenly made a 90-degree turn. He sprinted across the field as his fellow defenders threw blocks on Niners offensive players trying to play defense and he reached the end zone.
Jalen Mills picks off C.J. Beathard and takes it to the house.?pic.twitter.com/KsbZnGg0OS
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) October 29, 2017
“I had to shut them up,” he said. “As soon as I got the pick, Malcolm grabbed me, I ran over to Schwartz and he hugged me and said ‘congratulations.'”
“I’ve been getting on him for not having a lot of returns,” Jenkins said. “That was a good one. He shut me up on that play. We’ve done a decent job of getting turnovers, but scoring on those opportunities is something we wanted to take the next step to and Jalen’s been playing big for us all year and that was probably the biggest play of all of them.”
The Eagles also got an interception from Rodney McLeod earlier in the game. Paired with four sacks, a Darek Barnette blocked field goal and just seven point allowed, the win is among the most impressive defensive performances by the team in recent memory.
“The defense sets the tempo,” Cox, who had a sack, said. “We set the tone and the tempo. We know we have to play really good to give our offense chances by getting the ball back.”
Up next for the 7-1 Eagles and their stout defense? The Broncos next Sunday.