Over the first three games of the season, the Eagles' defense was physical, gritty and dominant. It looked as though there wasn't a challenge the group couldn't rise to, but then its Week 5 and 6 showings left much to be desired.
On Sunday though, Philadelphia made it clear that its defense is one of the best in the league as it took down the previously undefeated Vikings, wreaking havoc with six sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception on the afternoon.
The Eagles are once again playing their way. They're ready to keep rolling.
"We wanted to get back to the Eagles' style defense and play," safety Rodney McLeod, who notched the pick in the end zone, said. "This was obviously a big game to do it, a team that's 5-0, that's been playing remarkable. What a great stage to do it against a great team and at home."
The past two weeks, slow starts on defense ultimately cost the Eagles in the end. They were determined not to let that happen for a third time. With backup tackles protecting Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, the Philadelphia defense was prepared to take advantage, which is exactly what it did.
McLeod, Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham and Steven Means all finished the afternoon with a sack to their names. The Eagles' defense hit their former quarterback another 12 times on the day.
"When we had no sacks last week, yeah we took it to heart. That was a bad taste in our mouth," Graham said. "We played against a good Redskins team and I feel like with us, we didn't trust each other last week. I feel like we've seen when we do what we do, you see the results.
"We couldn't start from behind, especially with a team like that because once they smelled blood, they were coming. We attacked like we were supposed to early on and we got after Sam early on and we put our offense in better position to get points. I was just excited that we all went out there, played our game and trusted each other."
From the beginning, the game as a whole was a defensive battle. The first 10 minutes alone feature five combined turnovers from the Eagles' and Vikings' offenses. Each time though, the Birds stayed focused on their mission – take the field and worry about stopping Minnesota.
In the end, the mindset worked.
The Eagles were able to leave The Linc with a 21-10 win in hand and show that the impressive play is characteristic of who they are as a unit. That is their true identity.
"Call it what you want, it was a team thing. It's not necessarily us looking at them. We knew we were going to have to play well, but this defense has a standard," Hicks said. "It doesn't matter what anybody else does. It matters what we do and ultimately if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we'll be a top, top, top defense."
The Eagles handed the Vikings their first loss of the 2016 season as QB Sam Bradford made his return to Philadelphia to face Carson Wentz.