Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Forces Five Turnovers In Second Half To Beat Raiders

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At the 4:25 mark of the third quarter, the madness unfolded.

It all started with an interception from cornerback Patrick Robinson – the game's first turnover – that provided the Eagles the juice they so desperately needed.

Two plays later, however, the offense gave the ball right back to the Raiders on a Jay Ajayi fumble.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the defense held the Raiders to a missed field goal giving the offense the ball back at its own 30-yard line. On the ensuing play, quarterback Nick Foles had his pass intercepted.

It became the undesired and hard-to-watch trend for most of the second half.

While the offense sputtered away possessions, allowing the Raiders to set up shop at midfield for scoring opportunities, the defense forced a season-high five turnovers in the second half of the Christmas win against the Raiders.

An ugly win, but one that clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs nonetheless.

"We were just locked in. I know I had a mishap early (allowing a 63-yard touchdown on a double move to wide receiver Amari Cooper), but at the same time we're an aggressive defense," said cornerback Jalen Mills, who entered the game questionable to play with an ankle injury. "By us staying aggressive, we started getting turnovers."

The night's turnover heroes included Robinson (interception), defensive end Vinny Curry (forced fumble recovered by Rodney McLeod), safety Malcolm Jenkins (forced fumble and recovered), cornerback Ronald Darby (interception), and rookie defensive end Derek Barnett (23-yard fumble return for touchdown - the first of his career).

All within the final 20 minutes of play.

Early on, however, the game began to take shape. It took Curry only the "first couple of series" to recognize it was going to be a gritty back-and-forth scuffle.

"When you've got guys that's built for the grind the outcome is like this," Curry said.

"I felt like it was going back and forth. Some weeks that's how it is," said cornerback Ronald Darby, who made the interception with less a minute remaining that set up Jake Elliott's go-ahead field goal. "Last week, our offense was carrying us and we were playing like trash, playing horrible. And this week our offense was making little mistakes and we had to come out there and make some plays.

"At the end of the day, that's what football is all about. It's a team effort. One (side) of the ball isn't always going to be perfect."

The defense got back to its suffocating ways that the fans have grown accustomed to witnessing at Lincoln Financial Field. For the fourth time in seven home games, the opponent left the Linc scoring 10 points or fewer. Meanwhile, the Eagles improved to 7-0 at home and clinched the best record in the NFC.

"I thought the defense played really, really well," head coach Doug Pederson said. "They kept us in the football game, special teams. (It was a) team effort, though. (We) found a way, sitting here today at 13-2. Everybody's got to come through here now. That's the exciting part."

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Oakland Raiders, 19-10. This win clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

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