After dropping two consecutive contests, the Eagles improved to 4-2 after defeating the Minnesota Vikings 21-10 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
While the return of Sam Bradford was the big storyline heading into the game, Doug Pederson's team was able to put all the outside noise aside and bounce back with a huge victory over Minnesota.
"I think the guys just put it in their mind to play better than last week," said Pederson after the game. "Obviously, it starts upfront. It starts with both sides of the ball, offense and defensive lines, and our defensive line really came off the ball today and kind of took it upon themselves just to attack the line of scrimmage and play on their side."
Between both teams, there were eight turnovers. Up until today, the Vikings had just one all season, while the Eagles had only two. Pederson explained that turnover battled played a huge part in Sunday's win.
"Our defense playing as well as they did down there and stopping them – again, it does start upfront and the pressure on the quarterback," Pederson said. "I tell you what it was fun to watch our defense today. That's the defense that we expect every week going forward."
While quarterback Carson Wentz started the game with two early interceptions, he settled down and made enough plays for the Eagles to win, leaving his head coach pleased with the quarterback's overall performance.
"I thought Carson overall played well, played efficient," said Pederson. "(He) made some good throws, obviously I thought he forced a few early with a couple of those picks. He really settled in and managed the game. In the run game, we had some checks for him and different things and he managed that extremely well. That's just the type of kid he is."
Special teams also played a huge role in the Eagles' win. With 9:08 left in the first half, wide receiver Josh Huff recorded a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown, a score that put the Eagles on the board for the first time, and they never looked back.
"They're really beginning to click. Great blocks and Josh did a great job on the return," said Pederson. "Dave Fipp really has those guys ready every single week and you need those things. You need special teams scores, you need defensive scores, and all that helps you especially late down the stretch. It was just great to see two weeks in a row."
Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis proceeded with the extra point, however a roughing the kicker penalty on the Vikings gave the Eagles another chance, and Coach Pederson elected to move the ball up to the 1-yard line and go for two points. The decision paid off, as Wentz powered the ball into the end zone on a quarterback keeper.
"Kind of a no-brainer situation for myself to make that call," Pederson explained. "I've got a lot of trust in our guys, and if you don't work those situations in practice and talk about those situations then yes, negative things can happen. But I just felt totally 100 percent confident in our guys to execute that play."
Although the Eagles' offense had its fair share of turnovers, it was the Eagles' defense that kept things even by forcing four turnovers of its own. Safety Rodney McLeod recorded his third interception of the year, while Malcolm Jenkins and Beau Allen both came up with fumble recoveries.
According to Pederson, it helped the defense that it had plenty of familiarity with former Eagle Sam Bradford.
"Any time you know the quarterback on the other team, you kind of know strengths and weaknesses and things like that," Pederson said. "(We were) just trying to give them some different looks and put some pressure on him from different areas. It was a great game plan the guys executed extremely well. Again, it starts upfront and sometimes just changing things up to help your guys be in position we benefited from that today and guys did a nice job."
The Eagles handed the Vikings their first loss of the 2016 season as QB Sam Bradford made his return to Philadelphia to face Carson Wentz.