Head coach Chip Kelly stressed to his players all week to not start thinking about playoff implications and divisional standings. Coming out of the bye week, Kelly wanted the Eagles to focus squarely on the Arizona Cardinals. Now that they've done so, following Sunday's 24-21 win, you can easily guess where Kelly wants the team's focus to be now.
"It's one down, one to go and that's our philosophy," Kelly said. "We took care of business today. Our only focus right now is getting ready for the Lions and that's it, because you're not in a situation where there's any comfort in terms of leads or anything like that. So it's just focusing on the next opponent and I thought those guys did a great job coming back from the bye of doing that, just, let's get ready for the Cardinals, and let's just worry about that and we took care of business today. And we'll get back to work on Tuesday and get ready for Detroit coming in here."
The Eagles extended their win streak to four with a combination of sound decision-making on offense and forcing turnovers on defense. Quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdown passes and still has not thrown an interception this season.
"I think the big thing for Nick is his experience in that he's still getting better and better and making really good decisions," Kelly said. "That's why at the end of the game on third down, we're calling a pass play but it's got to be clean because you trust him because he's such a good decision maker; that you're not in there saying, 'Hey, we've got to run it because I'm afraid he's not going to throw an incomplete pass, stop the clock or whatever.' I think each week he gets better just because he's a by product of the experiences that he's getting out there in the game and you're starting to see him grow."
Foles did a phenomenal job of distributing the ball to the tight ends on Sunday. Zach Ertz was the first Eagles tight end to have multiple touchdowns in the same game since Chad Lewis in 2001. Ertz and Brent Celek combined for nine catches, 97 yards and three touchdowns. The matchup between the Eagles tight ends and the Cardinals linebackers was one that Kelly looked to take advantage of.
"Just thought we had some plays in there to the tight ends, get them in base personnel and then try to take advantage of that and those guys did," Kelly said. "Ertz ran a great route and Nick threw it on time. The first one was a play-action, and was actually we ran the again right at the end of the game and they held (James) Casey to kind of get us to be able to run the clock out. Those guys contributed and we feel like we have three that are talented and when the matchups present themselves, we can exploit it."
After his five-catch, 68-yard performance, Ertz now has 26 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Kelly has been pleased with the second-round pick's progress.
"I think Zach's getting better and better each week. He came off a break, obviously if you're a rookie, this season's a lot different than the college season," Kelly said. "You have four preseason games which you don't have and we've played 12 games, so he's got 16 games underneath his belt. But I thought he came back after the break with real fresh legs, rejuvenated, had a good week at prepping and was excited to see it show up on the field today and I thought he had some big catches for us today."
Kelly got another team effort in the win. The defense forced three turnovers. Punter Donnie Jones set a team record with seven punts inside the 20-yard line. Now, Kelly can shift the focus to the Lions in what will be a battle of first-place teams next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.