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Morning Roundup: 'Philly is lit!'

C.J. Gardner-Johnson
C.J. Gardner-Johnson

With 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter of Sunday's prime-time game against Dallas, the Eagles started their second offensive possession at the Philadelphia 20-yard line, and from that point forward the game, eventually won by the Eagles 26-17, titled in favor of the home team.

A 20-3 advantage in the second quarter helped Philadelphia lift its record to 6-0 going into the bye week and continued a series of dominating performances in the second quarter of games this season.

"We need to do it for four quarters. That's still the goal, but we sure got things rolling there in the second quarter," tight end Dallas Goedert said. "That's been our quarter this season. We need to clean up some things, but that gave us a lift."

It sure did, starting at their 20-yard line, 7:31 to go in the first quarter. The Eagles combined power, nifty passing, and some cunning work to get into gear offensively.

The drive began with a Boston Scott 2-yard run and ended, on the first play of the second quarter, with a Miles Sanders 5-yard run and in all the possession consumed 15 plays plus a penalty, 80 yards, and 7:36 off the clock. Quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 6 of 8 passes for 57 yards and the Eagles used a hard count from Hurts to draw Dallas into a neutral-zone infraction on a fourth-and-4 play to set up Sanders for a score on the next snap.

That touchdown started a second-quarter storm that saw the Eagles head into halftime with a comfortable lead. And it continued the Eagles' dominance in the second quarter, a 15-minute frame in which they've scored 112 points, the most in NFL history in a six-game span to open a season.

What a quarter it was! In it, the Eagles intercepted Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush twice – he compiled a 0.6 passer rating in the quarter to lower his first-half passer rating to 1.0 – and turned those takeaways into 10 points, stopped Dallas on a fourth-and-1 Rush pass, and converted that stop on downs to three points and took control of the football game.

"We went after the football," safety Marcus Epps said. "Our guys made some great plays and they helped put us in a position where we had a lead."

Said cornerback Darius Slay, who had an interception that led to Elliott's 34-yard field goal to make it 20-0: "The takeaways are the big thing. That's the big difference with this defense and it's our goal every week to make those kinds of plays. I played the ball and the quarterback threw it up and I made the play. Glad we turned it into points."

The goal, yes, is to have that kind of dominance for four quarters and that is what the Eagles continue to work toward. But on Sunday night, the big second quarter was just like the ones the team has enjoyed this season, and it helped propel the Eagles to 6-0 heading into the bye week.

"We started it rolling then," Sanders said. "That first scoring drive kind of opened things up. We need to sustain it, though. I know we're 6-0, but the thought here is about the things we need to clean up. Nobody is talking too much about our record, just about how much we need to get better and play like we've played in the second quarter of games all the way through." – Dave Spadaro

A.J. Brown: "Philly is lit!"

As the pregame coin toss took place at midfield, there was pandemonium in the end zone just outside of the Eagles' tunnel.

Philly's own Meek Mill ramped up an already electric crowd with a quick rendition of Dreams and Nightmares, the anthem from the Super Bowl season, that hyped up both players and fans alike.

"That was the best atmosphere I played in and that was a regular-season game," said wide receiver A.J. Brown. "When Meek came out performing, I'm talking to Smitty (DeVonta Smith) and Quez (Watkins) and I'm like, 'Man, this is a regular-season game.' That was big. That gave us so much momentum. Meek Mill is some of our favorite rappers, so that was big man.

"Philly is lit. That's all I'm gonna say. I'm enjoying being here."

Brown added to the excitement with five catches for a team-high 67 yards and a touchdown, a 15-yard catch and run in the second quarter where he ran through the Dallas defense that gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

"I knew I had to beat Micah (Parsons) on the edge and if he didn't pick me up I knew I just had to outrun everybody else," Brown said.

Brown later helped put the game away with a key 22-yard catch on the Eagles' final touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. That catch placed the ball at the Cowboys' 7-yard line and on the next play, quarterback Jalen Hurts connected with Smith for the score. Those were the only two pass plays on the 13-play, 75-yard drive.

For the season, his first in Philly, Brown has 33 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns. His 503 yards rank third in the NFC and his 15.2 yards per reception number is good for fifth in the conference. But Brown isn't concerned with numbers. He doesn't even care about the fact that the Eagles have six wins in six games. Once the music in the locker room died down after the post-game celebration, Brown's mind was on to the next opponent, even if he has to wait an extra week.

"This team is hungry. This team is hungry. We just have to stay grounded and keep working and learn from our mistakes," Brown said. – Chris McPherson

Brandon Graham delivers poignant message in team meeting

Head Coach Nick Sirianni asked Brandon Graham – one of the franchise's most beloved players, a team captain, and the longest-tenured professional athlete in the city to address the team on the eve of the Cowboys-Eagles game.

Graham didn't take the honor lightly. He showed a collection of highlights where the Eagles were celebrating together. Graham wanted to highlight how the team has embraced Coach Sirianni's core principles and here they are undefeated.

"We hold each other accountable. I tell them when I come here I don't want to let you boys down. I try to handle my business because you all selected me as a captain and I want to make sure I lead by example," Graham said.

Graham also delivered a message on the field. His pressure of Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush helped result in the fourth-quarter interception by safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, his second of the night and an absolute beauty as he dove for the ball. The interception came just after the Eagles tacked on a DeVonta Smith touchdown to extend their lead to 26-17 and all but seal the win.

"It felt good because we just said keep coming. Keep coming because you see that ball was getting out," Graham said. "It was one of those games where it was going to be a gritty game. We knew that them guys were going to fight until the end just like we were going to fight. We needed a big play. I'm happy to be able to be out there and still be able to make plays for the team." – Chris McPherson

The Eagles remain undefeated after hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday Night Football.

(Pass) Breakup Bradberry

"I wish I would've caught one of the balls today like everybody else," said cornerback James Bradberry with a smile, in the locker room following the team's sixth win of the 2022 campaign.

Bradberry didn't add to the three picks off Cooper Rush passes like his backfield teammates C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Darius Slay did. But, he did do plenty to contribute to the secondary's dominant performance – to the tune of four pass breakups in the first half alone, deflecting a near-touchdown pass, and tipping a ball that created a turnover.

After Sunday night's showdown, he's tied with Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs for first in the league in passes defensed tallying nine so far this season.

One of the team's offseason additions that has made an immediate impact, Bradberry has swiftly found a home in Philadelphia. It's one that values his ball-hawking ability to knock down passes and create turnovers – he's become part of a secondary trio to be feared. Slay, Bradberry, and Gardner-Johnson have totaled six interceptions in six games.

"We have great players on this defense," Bradberry said. "It's going to be hard to complete passes on us. We've got a great front seven, but I think we're pretty sound on the back end as well."

No stranger to the NFC East after two seasons with the Giants, Bradberry continued to prove his value in the backfield against another division rival on Sunday night. – Sage Hurley

Jordan Mailata's alma mater?

On his media guide bio, Jordan Mailata isn't listed as having a college.

Of course, the Aussie native didn't go to one after joining the Eagles as a seventh-round draft pick in 2018 through the NFL's International Pathway Player Program.

But on NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast, when each starting player says his name and college, Mailata had an interesting response for his college – Jeff Stoutland University, a tip of the cap to the team's Run Game Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach.

"He's the best O-line coach by far, the best coach by far I've had in general across all sports," said Mailata, who returned to the lineup after missing last Sunday's win over Arizona with a shoulder injury. "I love playing for this team, playing for (Jason Kelce), playing for Jalen, I love playing for Coach Sirianni because they demand perfection. We have high standards here and when we fall short of that standard it's hard to walk around with your head held high to be honest."

Mailata wasn't sure what NBC would use since he had to record two different versions. In the other, Mailata simply said "International University." NBC made the right choice. – Chris McPherson

Jack Driscoll to the rescue ... again

"That's the life of a sixth man. You got to be ready to go."

Those remarks were from center Jason Kelce about do-it-all lineman Jack Driscoll, who after starting last week at left tackle for Mailata was thrust into action at right tackle when Lane Johnson exited the game with a concussion.

"He certainly answered the bell and got us out of crucial situations and been able to execute enough for us to function in games," Kelce added. "That's a credit to him, that's a credit to Stout for being ready to go."

Kelce said that Johnson is "an irreplaceable guy."

"I think he's been the best right tackle, certainly the best pass-blocking right tackle in the league for some time. He's starting to get the credit that he's been owed," Kelce proclaimed. "Definitely not ideal, he's about as dominating of a physical player as there is in this league."

Andre Dillard made his season debut after missing the first five games with a forearm injury, so the added depth may allow Driscoll to focus on one side of the line.

The upcoming bye week comes at a good time as every member of the offensive line – except for Johnson – was on the injury report coming into Sunday's game.

"The media always wants to say who's the best team, who's playing the best, and I think the reality is you need to realize that this is a marathon. This is not a 100-meter dash," Kelce said. "This is a 17-game season plus playoff games and the team that's the best at the end of the season is going to be the ones that go the furthest and go the distance. This is an ongoing journey for our team and who can be tougher, who can be mentally tougher longer. Which teams can keep coming together and keep overcoming adversity. Those are the teams that are doing really, really well and I think that's really what that's about." – Chris McPherson

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