LOS ANGELES – The Eagles’ defense knew the task in front of them going into Sunday night’s game. The Los Angeles Rams came into the game averaging close to 33 points per game, including a 54-point performance in their last home game against Kansas City.
Led by a dominating effort by Fletcher Cox and a terrific return to the lineup by Avonte Maddox, the Eagles’ defense stole the Hollywood spotlight, holding the Rams to 23 points, a season low for them at home in the 30-23 Eagles victory.
The defensive effort was powered, as is so often the case, by the defensive line. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz once said that the Eagles’ defensive line is the engine that drives the rest of the unit, and on Sunday night, Cox and company wreaked havoc on quarterback Jared Goff. Even though the sack numbers weren’t anything out of the ordinary, the line constantly had Goff off his spot.
“To get a win on the road against a really good football team, it says a lot about the character of this team, the leadership of this team,” Cox said. “To get a win like this today was really big for this organization.”
The secondary has seen more than its fair share of injuries, but on Sunday night, they welcomed back a familiar face in Avonte Maddox. The rookie had missed several games, but he made his impact known, intercepting a Goff pass and bringing the “juice” that the secondary was looking for.
“He’s a really good player for us,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “It was good to get him back out there this week. He’s a smart guy. To play multiple positions and do the things that he’s been capable of doing, I think is just a credit to him. He trusts his coaches. He trusts the scheme on defense and puts himself in a position to make plays, and that’s what he’s done.”
The interception came in the second quarter on a pass intended for Josh Reynolds with the Eagles trailing 7-6.
“They were tight so I knew he was gonna do a seven-stop or he was going to run a speed-out,” Maddox said after the game. “He ran the out and I just broke on it and made a play.”
The final play of the game came in Maddox’s direction as well. Goff tried to force the ball to Reynolds once again, this time in the end zone, but the pass was incomplete as the Eagles held on for the win.
Maddox may only be in his first season, but he’s been asked to play a number of different roles, from slot corner to safety to outside corner, which is where he found himself on Sunday. What he lacks in size – listed at just 5-8 – he’s made up for in pure grit, making the most of any opportunity that’s come his way.
“Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it,” Maddox said.
“He’s a young guy that’s stepped up,” said Cox. “He’s a little guy but he’s got the heart of a giant. For a young guy to take on that many positions and to be a rookie, it says a lot about him.”
The Eagles now find themselves back at .500 with a 7-7 record, and the playoffs remain a possibility. With two games to play against Houston and Washington, the Eagles will need to keep the same mindset that they brought into Sunday’s win – one game at a time.
“We just gotta keep grinding it out,” said Cox. “It’s a one-game season for us. Every game from here on out is a playoff game.”
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' game against the Los Angeles Rams.