What is making this Eagles season so special is that every part of the roster, every single player, is part of the 7-1 record. On an ugly Sunday of rain at Lincoln Financial Field, the defense and special teams stepped up and dominated the day in a 33-10 win over San Francisco.
Quarterback Carson Wentz threw two touchdown passes and converted a two-point conversion, but it was far from his – or the offense's best day. San Francisco made it tough on the Eagles early with some timely blitzes and aggressive play at the line of scrimmage, so in the meantime, the defense made its statement.
"The mark of this team is that we pick each other up," tight end Zach Ertz said. "That's what good teams do. Today, the defense picked us up early and took control of the game and we followed their lead."
Jim Schwartz's defense recorded three quarterback sacks, two interceptions – one that cornerback Jalen Mills returned for a touchdown in spectacular fashion – and limited the 49ers to 106 total net yards in the first half. The 49ers were just 1-of-8 on third down.
Suffocating defense was the difference on this day, particularly early.
"I think it's a true brotherhood and I honestly say that because every week we go out there and everybody is eating, everybody is playing a part," said Mills, who scored the first touchdown of his football life since high school. "We talk about football. We talk about life. We care about each other. When you get that mutual love, it makes guys play for each other."
The Eagles are able to beat teams in so many ways, and they've taken teams down in just about every conceivable fashion in this six-game win streak. The offense has been explosive all season, the defense has hung in there despite a continuous stream of injuries, and the special teams have thrived in the face of change.
On Sunday, the defensive line had the starring role, and that collective performance set up the rest of the team. San Francisco simply had no chance against the relentless front. Schwartz didn't have to blitz much as Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox, and Tim Jernigan dominated as starters and the reserves, namely tackle Beau Allen, veteran end Chris Long, and rookie end Derek Barnett, were all over the football when they were on the field.
When Beathard wasn't sacked (Eagles had four on the afternoon), he was hit and hurried a combined two dozen times and ultimately beaten to a pulp.
The mismatch added up to a blowout win.
"It was just a matter of time before we started making plays on offense," said wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who had a jump-ball catch of a Wentz pass down the right sideline in the third quarter and ended up scoring on a 53-yard touchdown play. "We just had to stay patient."
And with the win, the Eagles stayed perfect at home with Denver coming to town on Sunday before a bye week sets up the Eagles for a playoff run down the stretch.
, to win the battle of field position.
"We're continuing to come together and win games," Cox said. "You have to figure out how to win each week. It's never easy. Today the defense, man, we came to play. We stepped up. It was a lot of fun out there."
It was also agonizing until late in the first half. The Eagles led just 3-0 until late in the first half and then took advantage of a short field, starting a possession at their 44-yard line, and then moving with Wentz completing passes to Mack Hollins (6 yards), Trey Burton (6 yards), Hollins again (24 yards), and then gaining a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line after the 49ers were called for pass interference on a pass attempt to Torrey Smith in the end zone.
One play later Wentz rolled right and threw complete for tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone for Ertz's sixth red zone score of the season.
On the 49ers' next possession, Mills picked off the rookie Beathard and returned it 37 yards, with another two dozen yards added on the zigging and zagging for the touchdown.
"I had to score there," Mills said. "If I hadn't done that, I would have never heard the end of it. Yeah, it was very important for me to score there. I did it and it felt great."
Everything feels great these days, doesn't. The Eagles are 7-1 and rolling. Life is good at the top of the NFL at the midway point of the season.