Philadelphia Eagles News

Don't Overlook The Defense's Role In Rout Of Cardinals

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The Philadelphia Eagles' 34-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals was nothing short of a full-team effort and that's exactly what the defense is calling it.

"It was the most complete performance we've had - offense, defense, and special teams playing really well," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Obviously, everything wasn't perfect but it was pretty clean. Guys didn't let up. We didn't let them back into the game, kept the guys down the whole time. We fed off the crowd and had a good time."

As with every game, Sunday was certainly not a guaranteed win. Historically, the Cardinals' offense has matched up and played very well against the Eagles' defense.

The Eagles ended quarterback Carson Palmer's streak of three straight 300-yard performances and held the Cardinals to just one touchdown.

"Our defense played consistent, matched up, kept the ball in front of us, and got some big stops. It was just a great team win," Jenkins said. "It obviously shows us what it looks like when we all compete at the same time, so hopefully we can put more of those together."

The Eagles led 21-0 after not allowing Arizona to score in the first quarter. A 13-yard-pass from Palmer to wide receiver John Brown gave the Cardinals their only touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Cornerback Patrick Robinson blocked a field goal attempt at the end of the first half to prevent Arizona from getting on the board again.

"(We thought) they have to start doing something to get back into the game. But that allows us defensively to start pinning their ears back to start coming after them a little bit," Jenkins said. "I thought that blocked field goal at the end of the half was big because you kept them pretty much down. That would've been one of those things that could've changed the momentum a little bit, but kept them off the board right there and really made them one-handed."

Forced to throw because of the early deficit, the defensive line chipped in with some big plays. Defensive end Brandon Graham sacked Palmer in the first quarter and gave the defense a stop. Later in the second quarter, Vinny Curry sacked Palmer for an 8-yard loss.

"Credit to the Cardinals, we prepared, we prepared as hard as we could because they had a bunch of skill guys that we were worried about," Graham said. "You have (Larry) Fitzgerald who's still making plays. You got (wide receiver) Jaron Brown that's just out here running track meets down the field. We wanted to make sure that wasn't a factor in the game and we knew we had to get to Carson and stop their running game and I'm just happy we played together as a whole."

Playing together as a whole was even more crucial as the first half of the game continued. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw an interception after his pass intended for tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone was caught by Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea. This gave the Cardinals a scoring opportunity but it was Robinson's block that kept the score at 21-7 going into halftime.

"These guys (cornerbacks) are playing and matching up. Jalen Mills set the tone, the first drive I think they targeted him three times and didn't get a drop," Jenkins said. "Rasul (Douglas) came in and played well. We had Dexter McDougle in there. Patrick's been obviously playing big snaps for us and been playing clutch for us. We had a bunch of different packages and guys played well so I think it was all around a good day, a lot of people contributing, a good team win."

Fitzgerald entered Sunday's game with 11 touchdowns in eight career games, including playoffs, against the Eagles. He was held to six catches for 51 yards.

"I think we like to match up with me against Fitzgerald on the inside and then putting Pat outside. He's been playing really good ball for us, so just putting him on the outside to see every trick in the book," Jenkins said. "We had four different packages that we knew we were going to roll throughout the game and we pretty much ended up using almost every one we had up."

Today's win puts the Eagles at 4-1 on the season. They have a short week as they will head to North Carolina for a Thursday night game against the Panthers. While recognizing that a win is always great, both Graham and Jenkins highlight the fact that the Eagles came into this season for much more than just a 4-1 record in Week 5.

"It's hard to win in this league no matter who you play so there's no such thing as an easy game or a layup. You got to earn every one and I thought we earned this one," Jenkins said. "But at the end of the day we didn't prepare this whole year just to get four wins, we got our sights set way beyond that. We're happy with the way we've been playing but we got another short week, a Thursday night game, prime time, against a really quality opponent so we'll enjoy this for the next few hours and then move on."

"All I know is we're one week at a time," Graham said. "I'm happy to be 4-1 and let's go take one on Thursday."

The Eagles defeated the Cardinals, 34-7, at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 5 of the regular season.

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