Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Returns To Form In Eagles' Victory Over Colts

Last Sunday in Tampa Bay, the Eagles' defensive numbers were dreadful. The Buccaneers accounted for 436 yards of total offense, nearly 400 of which came through the air.

Needing a bounce-back performance on Sunday, the defense delivered, holding the Indianapolis Colts to just 209 yards of total offense and 14 first downs in a 20-16 victory.

"Just getting back to ourselves," said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox afterward. "Coming off a horrible loss last week put a bad taste in our mouth. You can't wait for that next game, that next kickoff.

"It's always good to celebrate a win. Because in the NFL, it's hard to win. You can never look down or just mark somebody off because every team is good. We're going to get everybody's best on Sunday. We knew we would get their best coming in. That's a good team, Andrew Luck is a great quarterback, but we came away with the win."

Cox registered four total tackles (including one for loss) and a half-sack to help anchor down the defensive effort.

After last week's performance, the defense drew some criticism from the media, but the Eagles blocked out all of the noise and got the job done at Lincoln Financial Field to help get the team back in the win column.

"We don't really feed into that (criticism)," said cornerback Jalen Mills. "At the end of the day, we know who we are. We know our identity. We know we're an attack defense. We've got dogs and that's who we've got to be."

Dating back to last season, the Eagles' calling card on defense has been their stinginess in the red zone. Just as was the case in the season opener against Atlanta, the Colts had a chance to convert on a red zone opportunity and leave Philadelphia with a win. Facing a first-and-10 at the Eagles' 11-yard line, the Colts failed to find a way into the end zone, as the Eagles buckled down and shut the door. It was a microcosm of the entire game, as the Colts converted just one out of five red zone chances into touchdowns.

"That's our standard for defense," defensive end Derek Barnett said after the game. "We may give up a play here or there, but we really hang our hat on not giving up seven points."

Barnett accounted for the biggest play of the day, as he got just enough of Luck to bring him down for a sack on a fourth-down play from the Eagles' 4-yard line with 1:19 remaining in the game. The Colts eventually had one more chance at a Hail Mary heave toward the end zone, but Barnett's big play shut down the Colts' best chance at a win.

Barnett credited the veterans in the Eagles' locker room with helping the team recover and refocus after last week's loss. After the win over the Colts, veteran Malcolm Jenkins addressed the team, proud of the way the players responded.

"At the end of the day, the message is that the focus always has to be on the process," Jenkins told reporters. "This past week, we came off a loss and we came in and we made corrections, we prepared, and let it loose. Tomorrow, we'll start the same process over and over and over. It's all about one week at a time. You play, you evaluate and prepare, and you cut it loose."

Check out all of the best photos from Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts on September 23, 2018.

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