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Davis: Defense Holds For Late Surge


TAMPA, Fla. -- **Defensive coordinator Bill Davis stood in the hallway outside the Eagles locker room at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, pleased with a performance that represented another step in the right direction for a group that is making strides midway through the regular season.

A couple of big plays and some crucial stops helped the Eagles beat Tampa Bay 31-20 to even the team's record at 3-3.

Bradley Fletcher's interception early in the third quarter stopped one Bucs drive and helped the Eagles offense with field position that led to a touchdown, and then Connor Barwin's quarterback sack of Mike Glennon in the fourth quarter kept the momentum for the Eagles after they took a 28-20 lead under the Florida sunshine.

"We knew what was coming at us, what we thought they would run," said Davis. "We were better in the second half (Tampa Bay scored 17 points in the first half) and tightened things up. They got a big play early and then Bradley's interception really helped us.

"We're all learning together -- the players are learning about me and I'm still learning about them -- and it takes some time. I loved the effort and I loved the way we finished the game. We got out of here with a win, and that's what matters."

Tampa Bay does not have one of the league's most powerful offenses with a rookie quarterback running the show, but Glennon was very sharp in the first half.

The Bucs gained 178 yards of offense in the first half, and had three big plays that really hurt the defense -- a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a Glennon scramble for 16 yards on 3rd-and-14 and a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Chris Owusu. Then, a 36-yard completion to tight end Tim Wright on the first play of the third quarter put the defense in a bit of a hole.

But Fletcher ended that drive with an interception. Later, in the fourth quarter, the Eagles ran a four-man pass rush and Barwin and defensive lineman Vinny Curry ran a stunt as Barwin came clean to sack Glennon on 3rd-and-9 for an 11-yard loss, ending the drive.

The Eagles offense took control of the football and drove for five minutes, 29 seconds to kick the clinching field goal.

"All the credit goes to Vinny on that play," said Barwin. "He made the move, we timed it right and I was free to get to the quarterback.

"It was a big play for us, especially since we went down and scored. To clean things up after the first half was big for us. We needed it."

Davis, for his part, knows there is a long, long way to go before he is satisfied.

"You can see the timing is improving and we're making progress on our technique," he said. "We had some pressure and a takeaway and almost had a pick six (by Brandon Boykin) there at the end. It's coming along. The young guys are making progress here."

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