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Defense Dominates In Prime-Time Win




CHICAGO --Somewhere during the course of reviewing the game film on Tuesday morning, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is going to find some teaching points for his players, some breakdowns that occurred during the course of Monday night's 29-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

But those plays are going to be awfully difficult to find.

The Eagles gave up a couple of big passing plays early -- a 49-yarder to standout receiver Alshon Jeffery that led to a touchdown, a 31-yard catch-and-run with Eddie Royal -- but otherwise the defense was stout, aggressive, tackled well and, most importantly, got off the field on third downs. Chicago converted just 4-of-10 attempts on third down, was zero-for-one on fourth down and was limited to 284 total net yards and 18 first downs.

The Eagles also took the football away three times -- defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao forced a fumble recovered by Jordan Hicks when he sacked quarterback Jay Cutler, linebacker Nigel Bradham intercepted a Cutler pass that led to a touchdown and Ron Brooks pounced on a fumble that led to seven points.

"We're playing well together, having fun and everybody is chipping in," defensive end Brandon Graham said after registering four total tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. "We started with a big three-and-out drive and just went from there. They put something together on the second drive, but they missed a field goal and then we put things right.

"Two games and we've done pretty well. It's a good start."

The Eagles have allowed two touchdowns when the defense has been on the field in the two wins. They've been outstanding against the run, consistent rushing the quarterback and they've taken the football away, the mark of a good Jim Schwartz defense.

Most of all, they've built confidence and developed trust.

"I like the way it's coming together," middle linebacker Jordan Hicks said. "The guys up front are eating. I mean, they're setting everything up for us. And we're finishing our assignments and getting to the football. We came up with turnovers and turnovers always change the game. Our offense took advantage and it was huge.

"I think we're playing stout, pretty strong and aggressive. That's what this defense is. I'm excited. The sky is the limit with this defense. We have a lot to improve and it's a long season, but we've started out pretty well."

Bradham delivered late in the third quarter, picking off a Cutler pass in the flat at the Chicago 30-yard line and returning it 28 yards to the 2-yard line. One play later, quarterback Carson Wentz threw to tight end Trey Burton for a touchdown and the Eagles led 22-7.

Game over.

"I was in man-to-man coverage and I just kind of dropped back and read his eyes," Bradham said. "The tight end was coming to kick out the defensive end, and I just saw the ball and got it. I'm just mad I didn't score. I should have scored."

There weren't many blemishes, that's for sure. The Eagles had three quarterback sacks and limited Chicago to 64 rushing yards. It was a fantastic effort on a night that pushed the Eagles to 2-0 and sends them into a huge Game 3 game against Pittsburgh.

"It's a short week and we have to get ready for a great team in a hurry," Graham said. "It's going to be a challenge. It's going to be fun to see what we can do against that offense."

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