The Eagles are on the doorstep of the NFC East title and the first-round bye following a hard-fought 25-20 win Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
If you missed Sunday's coverage, here's what you missed:
• Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's analysis from Chicago – "That makes us special"
• Sage Hurley presents the Road to Victory, the NFC playoff scenarios following Sunday's games.
• Chris McPherson's live in-game recap.
Now, here's what we've got in our Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings:
Defense brought the heat on QB Justin Fields
CHICAGO – The task came with its parameters: Pressure Bears quarterback Justin Fields, but don't allow him to break the pocket and gulp up huge chunks of yards with his legs. Sounds easy, maybe, but if you're a defensive lineman and you have the mindset of charging up the field, well, then it really is a tough assignment.
"We went after him," defensive end Josh Sweat said. "No sense sitting back and letting him throw the ball. We trusted that we could get to him and we did."
The Eagles handled it well on Sunday in the 25-20 win over the Bears, registering six sacks, including five in the first half. Linebacker Haason Reddick and end Josh Sweat had two each in the first two quarters as the defense limited Chicago to six points despite the Bears forcing two Eagles turnovers – one that resulted in Chicago starting an offensive possession at the Philadelphia 25-yard line.
It was an impressive defensive performance against an outmanned Bears offense that offered Fields running away from the heat of the Philadelphia pass rush – Javon Hargrave greeted Fields with his second sack of the game to end Chicago's first offensive drive of the second half with the Eagles staked to a 17-6 advantage – and little else.
"It was tough trying to keep him in the pocket today. He made a lot of plays with his feet," Hargrave said of Fields, who had 15 carries for 95 yards, including a dazzling 39-yarder when he escaped Reddick and put the Bears in scoring position in the first half. "You've got to make sure you don't get too high in your rushes and you don't want to leave your lane. We communicated well today. We knew he was going to make some plays. He's just that good. But we made some plays, too."
And the game also illustrated an Eagles pass rush that is light-years away from where it was a year ago when Philadelphia ranked 31st in the NFL with 29 quarterback sacks in 17 games. Philadelphia made upgrading the pass rush a priority in the offseason – the Eagles lead the NFL with 55 quarterback sacks after 14 games – so it made every bit of sense that Reddick was the primary target in free agency. He's been everything the Eagles hoped he would be as a pass rusher (he has 12 quarterback sacks, his third straight season with 10-plus sacks), a tough guy against the run, and a linebacker who has done well dropping back in coverage.
"We all got a chance to eat today and we did that," Reddick said. "I had fun out there. I feel like I could have had another two or three of my own, but it didn't phase me one bit out there. We got ourselves a big win and that's all that matters."
He made one of his biggest plays midway through the third quarter, setting a hard edge on a handoff to wide receiver Velus Jones, who ran right to left on the play. The Eagles pinned Jones on the sideline and cornerback Avonte Maddox forced a fumble that Reddick recovered at the Philadelphia 42-yard line to stop a Bears drive with the Eagles leading 17-13.
"Taking the ball away. That's what we want to do," Reddick said. "We want to change the game and that's what we were able to do. Big play. Big moment."
There were a lot of them, again, as the Eagles won for the 13th time in 14 games and the defense came with the intent to limit a dynamic talent at quarterback with the best pass rush pressure in the NFL.
"We're going to fight and keep coming," Hargrave said. "All of us. It's not one or two or three guys. We have a whole lot of guys who want part of this." – Dave Spadaro
Jalen Hurts throws for over 300; ties single-game rushing TD record
Jalen Hurts, at 24 years old, is the youngest quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to a 13-1 start. With 22-of-37 passing for 315 yards and three rushing touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, he propelled the team toward a 13th win in 14 games – a feat that the franchise has only achieved once before, in 2004. The Eagles went to the Super Bowl that season.
Sunday's final score was a leap toward the No. 1 seed, but in the first half, the outcome wasn't as easy to predict as it has been lately. But Hurts never wavered.
Instead, he energized a deflated Eagles offense at the end of the second quarter when they sorely needed it, battling the Windy City's relentless weather and focused attack from Chicago's defense. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half and only three Jake Elliott points on the visitors' side of the scoreboard, Hurts parted the sea of Chicago Bears, beating their blitz, darting into the end zone untouched for the first touchdown of the day.
His success juiced the team; he finished the day with three total rushing touchdowns, also tying a franchise record, sneaking it in twice with the help of the offensive line. In a game that presented unique challenges, Hurts led his team through a battle they'd had yet to face this season.
"I think early in the game, personally, I really couldn't feel my hands. It was very cold. I didn't really have good vision on the field personally – just a lot, a lot of different things going on. I think to be able to persevere through that, that's not something that was done by myself," Hurts said.
His rushing heroics and late-game accuracy, feeding deep balls to DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown were indisputable highlights, but Hurts credits the win to the team's comprehensive effort.
"You look at the special teams and the plays that they made; you look at the defense and how they showed up after the turnovers and were able to get the ball to us and give us opportunities," Hurts said.
"I think collectively as a group, we all came together and found a way as a team, and I think that's the biggest takeaway from this game."
The Eagles take a step closer to securing home-field advantage in the NFC with a win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Check out the best photos from our photographers on the scene in the Windy City.
Hurts faced a pushy Bears defense, throwing two interceptions and sustaining a knockdown that left fans holding their breath when he took an extra moment to get up. Sunday's visit to Soldier Field was not a walk-in-the-park beatdown like they'd experienced in Week 14 against the Giants. Throughout it all, as he has all season, Hurts maintained his even-keeled temper, locking in to leave victorious.
"You want to find joy at all of these different moments because they're all teachable moments. And they all form what's to come," he said.
"I think I never have a doubt, because I know we worked for and I never have a doubt in that. I want those guys to look me in the eyes and know that there's not a doubt. With the preparation that we put in together, we will find a way and I want them to have that trust in me."
And trust they had. Hurts' attitude reverberates throughout the team. Brandon Graham told reporters after the game in the locker room that following the two interceptions, he assured Hurts that the defense had his back, and that they were going to carry out their end, so he could do what they know he could.
Yes, Hurts is the youngest quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to a 13-1 start. But his old soul maturity and earned respect pushed a playoff team of players with NFL experience ranging from 13 years to less than one to yet another win.
When he powers up his headphones and presses play on Anita Baker on the flight home, he says he'll, "Watch the tape, learn from it, and move forward," as the team shifts its focus towards a division matchup in Dallas on Christmas Eve with an opportunity to clinch the NFC East and lock up home-field advantage in the playoffs. – Sage Hurley
A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith complement each other in outstanding performance
Between the minimal first-half scoring and the single-digit wind chill whipping through Soldier Field, Sunday's game in Chicago got off to an ice-cold start. The Eagles hadn't faced weather conditions like that this season – but when A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith turned on the heat in the second half, there wasn't much the Chicago Bears could do to prevent one of the top wide receiver duos in the league from route-running their way into the Eagles' history books.
"You look at A.J. Brown stepping up and making big-time plays down the field. Smitty. Everybody showed up when it was needed. That's what the great players and great teams do. I commend this whole entire team for staying together through everything endured today and being able to persevere through," said quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Brown (181) and DeVonta Smith (126) are the first Eagles duo to have 120+ receiving yards each in a single game since 2013 – they combined for 307 yards and 14 catches on the day. Brown has set career highs in both receptions (74) and receiving yards (1,201) in his first year as an Eagle. Brown is the first Eagles wide receiver with 1,200+ yards in a season since Terrell Owens in 2004. It ranks seventh in franchise single-season history with Mike Quick's mark of 1,409 yards within sight.
It's no surprise they both had 100+ receiving yards in two of the past three games, and Smith is just 99 away from joining Brown in the 1,000-yard club. Their dominance was on full display in the final 30 minutes as Brown hauled in a deep pass and Smith was a frequent target, helping the offense chug toward the end zone.
"They brought him in to do things that he did today. Just going out there, the energy that he brings to the team, he brings the best out of everybody," said Smith.
"Him coming in was good. One, because it kind of gets some of the attention off of me. And then just being able to learn from a guy like him. Great. Receive a great leader. Great guy overall. So just him coming in and teaching me some things that allowed me to elevate my game."
That's what this Eagles offense does, they complement each other in the most productive ways. Even when the two weren't targets, they had play-saving blocks, allowing Miles Sanders to tally some momentous yardage and Hurts to rush for 61 yards and three touchdowns, setting a franchise record of 13 for rushing scores by a quarterback in a season. – Sage Hurley
K'Von Wallace fills in nicely at safety
CHICAGO – K'Von Wallace, like every player, is in his search of impossible perfection each gameday, and while he "felt like I left a couple of plays on the field" in his first start of the season on Sunday at Soldier Field, he did a whole lot right. Wallace had eight total tackles, including an early force out of quarterback Justin Fields on a wide run, helping set the tone for the Eagles' defense in the 25-20 victory.
"I wasn't 100 percent like I wanted to. There is always room for improvement, but I felt like I put my best foot forward and I did what I had to do to help my team win," said Wallace, who replaced Reed Blankenship, who replaced C.J. Gardner-Johnson as the Eagles started their third player of the season next to Marcus Epps at safety. "I'm proud of myself."
The challenge the Eagles had in facing Fields, a player with the kind of multidimensional talent that Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has, was substantial. And Fields, who had 95 rushing yards to go along with two passing touchdowns, did some damage.
But the Eagles held their own defensively, enough to win a huge road game.
"He had some, but we had ours," Wallace said. "I feel like, as a defense, we made more plays than he did and that's why we came out victorious."
Wallace understood the importance for him individually starting his first game of the season (he had six starts in his two previous seasons). It was important for him to show up and play well.
That's the mindset he had coming into the game.
"Individually, it was huge," Wallace said. "I felt like there was a lot at stake for me. I challenged myself to be the best I can be and I wanted to put that on display and I wanted to make sure the brothers next to me knew they could count on me and that's what I did. Every rep, I'm getting better and better. Every player would say that. I feel good leaving here today." – Dave Spadaro