It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles were able to cling on to a narrow lead as time expired. One last shot into the end zone was batted down as time expired, sealing the win for the now 2-1 Philadelphia Eagles. But that was the latest in a long line of challenges faced by the brutal Birds D.
The return of Carson Wentz was undoubtedly the focus for many and with good reason. It didn’t take long for Wentz to remind everyone just how magical he is either, with two dazzling plays that made his week 14 ACL tear seem mythical. Wentz was back with a vengeance, but he wasn’t perfect. Some poor decisions and damaging turnovers left the Eagles defense with their backs to the wall more times than they’d like. But as we’ve come to expect, they hung in their and limited all damages.
An interception and a fumble by Wentz in a short time frame pushed the Colts deep into the Birds’ nest, but they walked away from those offensive drives with a pair of field goals. Andrew Luck was held to 164 yards of passing and a single touchdown, while 33 of the Colts 68 rushing yards came from the former Stanford quarterback. The Colts offense, who coming into this game seemed primed to pick apart the Eagles secondary as Ryan Fitzpatrick did one week beforehand, simply couldn’t overcome the relentless Eagles pass-rush and some aggressive cornerbacks who insisted on making their presence felt.
There were errors along the way and a flurry of flags that ultimately stung them in the worst way. A PI call on Jalen Mills is what eventually led to Luck’s lone touchdown pass of the afternoon and there were numerous errors throughout the game that kept the Colts offense kicking and screaming. A second PI call pushed Andrew Luck into a dangerous spot later in the game and once again, the rest of the defense swept up the mess. But in the biggest moments of all, Schwartz and his unit stood tall.
Whether it was Darby’s huge play on what could’ve been a game-sealing touchdown, or Derek Barnett’s sack on Andrew Luck right at the death, this Eagles defense came up big when the tension in the Linc was at its highest. Determined to now allow the sloppy conditions be reflected in their play, the league’s best run defense only further cemented their reputation in today’s win.
The Eagles defense came under some heavy criticism last week. They were said to be too rigid, too soft and too error-prone. While the latter is still a concern, Jim Schwartz and his troupe of tenacious tacklers sent out a firm statement on Sunday. They’re not going anywhere without a fight, no matter the odds.
Let’s be honest, Nick Foles and a depleted Eagles offense hardly set the world on fire in the opening two weeks and while the return of Carson Wentz definitely sparked a sense of unpredictability, there are definitely some kinks to be worked out as Pederson manages a severe lack of wide receiver depth. This, once again, heaped pressure on the Jim Schwartz defense that for the third game in a row found itself pinned against the wall with the odds stacked against them. For the second time in those three games however, they came out swinging and relentlessly forced any opposing threats to turn around and head home.
Looking back on the game with a sense of promise will be a common thing for fans who were elated to see their beloved Carson Wentz take the field once again. But it was the Defense that acted as the scaffolding to a wobbly return.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports