Eagles

Nothing to celebrate yet, as far as Eagles are concerned

Nothing to celebrate yet, as far as Eagles are concerned

The world's most focused team just keeps on winning. And keeps on shrugging it off.

The Eagles won their seventh straight game Sunday, demolishing the Broncos and their vaunted defense, 51-23, to head into the bye week 8-1.

Normally this sort of thing is cause for celebration.

Not in the Eagles' locker room.

They're too busy figuring out when their next practice is to get excited about being the best team on the planet.

“We're just focused on one thing and every single week somebody’s in the way of us reaching our goal, and that’s winning the division, getting in the playoffs and making something happen once we get there," Rodney McLeod said.

"This week, the Broncos were in the way. They were that roadblock. That's all that was on our minds. All we care about is, 'Who's in our way next?'"

The Eagles head into the bye riding the eighth longest winning streak in the franchise's 85-year history. They haven't lost since they fell to the Chiefs in Week 2 and they seem to be gathering steam with each passing week.

They've been basically unstoppable for nearly two months.

“It means that we’re here and we kind of control our own destiny, and that’s a good place to be," Chris Long said. "But there is a lot of football left. Just getting into November, this is when games get bigger and bigger, but they’re big games because we put ourselves in a position to have big games.

"I think a healthy confidence is good and we’ve done a lot of good work to get to this point, but we also need to take it to another level when we get back.”

This team's focus is remarkable. They literally let nothing distract them.

Injuries? Trap games? Letdown games? Looking past an opponent? Taking a week off? It simply doesn't happen with this team.

"It’s the leaders on the team," said Brandon Graham, who is one of them. "People that have been in this spot before, having success, and who know what it takes.

"We know how it is and how things can change based on (our) attitude. … Everybody’s just out there having fun and not getting too big-headed about what’s going on. Just living in the moment."

The Eagles are one of only two teams in the NFL that hasn't lost a game by more than a touchdown.

The other is the Rams, who are 6-2 with a red-hot second-year quarterback of their own in Jared Goff. The Eagles-Rams showdown in Los Angeles in mid-December is looming as a possible battle for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Not that anybody is looking that far ahead.

"We are where we are because that group in the locker room," head coach Doug Pederson said. "They are playing with a lot of confidence. They love to play together. They practice extremely well during the week and prepare themselves, and they are doing the little things right. That's what you want out of our football team."

How rare is it for a team to win seven straight games and score 26 or more points in all seven games?

The Eagles are the 26th team in NFL history to do that. Which in the big scope of things is very, very few.

“Man, we don't get complacent at all," Jalen Mills said. "We have the wins. We know the record. We know we’re winning. But at the same time, it’s like a 24-hour rule with us. We're happy after we win, but when we get back in (the next day), everybody’s focused and it switches to our next opponent.

"It's always the team in front of us. Coming from last year, starting as fast as we did (3-0) and then being up and down, we learned a lot from that.

"We’ve got guys on our team who are hungry, guys who sacrifice their stats, guys who don’t care about their body, guys who don't care about anything but winning. Sacrificing everything to help the guy next to them.”

Things will get harder. Soon.

The Eagles have only beaten one team that currently has a winning record -- the 6-3 Panthers. Their eight wins have come over seven teams with a combined 25-41 record.

And among their next four opponents are the 5-3 Cowboys, 5-3 Seahawks and 6-2 Rams.

So we'll know what the Eagles really have here in about five weeks.

But for now, 8-1 in an NFL where no other team even has seven wins is a remarkable place to be.

"For us to be at 8-1 right now, it's a tremendous credit to the guys and coaches in the locker room," Pederson said.

"Hats off to those guys for the way they work, the way they practice, and prepare. And standing here today looking back at it, I'm not surprised by the way they work."

Doug Pederson uses last season's losing streak to motivate Eagles

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Doug Pederson uses last season's losing streak to motivate Eagles

This time last year? The Eagles actually still had a winning record and were thinking playoffs.
 
Then disaster.
 
The Eagles were 5-4 going into Week 10 a year ago and proceeded to lose their next five games, the first three in blowout fashion.
 
It was the Eagles' longest losing streak since an eight-game streak in 2012, Andy Reid's last year, and third longest since a seven-game streak spanning 1998 and 1999.
 
More importantly, it was the team's longest losing streak that began with a winning record that late in a season since the notorious 1994 collapse in Rich Kotite's final season — a 7-2 start turned into a 7-9 finish.
 
A losing streak like that can either destroy a team's character or make it even stronger.
 
And Doug Pederson knew it could go either way.
 
"I look back at that, and I just kept reminding the team that you put in the hard work and the preparation, and you believe in each other, you believe in yourself, you trust the process, and that's not cliché," he said Friday.
 
"You have to trust what I'm talking about, what the coaches are talking about, and just stick together, and there's no pointing fingers. That's what they did. They hung together."
 
That losing streak began with a home loss to Seattle. Although the final score was 26-15, it was a 26-7 game until a Dorial Green-Beckham touchdown in the final minutes. (Really.)
 
After that came a 27-13 loss to the Packers at the Linc and then the low point, an embarrassing 32-14 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati, a game the Eagles trailed 29-0 late in the third quarter.
 
"That was sort of a defining moment at that point," Pederson said. "I guess we were as low as we were going to be as a team and organization coming out of that game. The guys responded well.
 
"(The) messaging was the same. We practiced the same after that. Lot of pride, too. Lot of pride in the coaches. Lot of pride in the players and this organization. …
 
"We needed to change it. We needed to fix it. Even though we didn't win a couple games after that, you saw steady improvement (and then) we figured out a way at the end of the season to win those two games and finish on a high note."
 
The Eagles rebounded to show some fight in close losses to the Redskins and Ravens, then closed out the season with wins over the Giants and the Cowboys. Granted, the Dallas win was over a bunch of scrubs, but after a five-game losing streak, any win was welcome.
 
Pederson said Friday that pushing through that five-game losing streak and coming out and staying together as a team was instrumental in this team's 8-1 start going into Sunday night in Dallas.
 
"I think it directly affects the team this season," he said. "Things happen for a reason, and you learn from them, especially in this business. And really, in life in general. Things happen, and you learn from them. You make the necessary corrections and you move on.
 
"You don't dwell in the past, but you remember, and you reflect from time to time. So I think it's a direct correlation to where the team is today, learning how to finish games and learning how to play together and understanding that they are a good football team."
 
The Eagles are atop every NFL poll these days. They have the NFL's best record and share the longest winning streak with the Saints, and Pederson said it's not always easy for the players to ignore all the praise being lavished on them.
 
"Well, it is hard because the team, rightfully so, is being praised in a lot of areas and they're well deserved of the credit and the praise," he said.
 
"But at the same time, we understand that we can't look past this week. We can't look past this game. It's a division game on the road, national spotlight again. It's two teams that are undefeated in the NFC East. I'd like to say that every game is important, but none more important than the one we're faced with Sunday night."
 
Sunday night starts a very difficult stretch, with four of the next five games on the road and three of those road games against teams with winning records.
 
A year ago, the Eagles were 1-7 on the road, finishing with seven straight losses.
 
This year, they go into AT&T Stadium Sunday 3-1 away from Philly.
 
"Four out of the next five weeks we're traveling, it's kind of like the start of the season," Pederson said.
 
"This is sort of a tough stretch, but at the same time, it's one that we welcome. If we want to separate and become a good football team and a consistent winner in this league, these are the stretches that you have to go through and find ways to win games."

Eagles Milestones: Carson Wentz chasing all kinds of feats

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Eagles Milestones: Carson Wentz chasing all kinds of feats

As we move into Week 11, the Eagles continue to chase several notable milestones, both individually and as a team.

We take a look at Carson Wentz's ongoing streaks, record-setting run defense and Jake Elliott's scoring pace in this week's edition of Eagles Milestone Watch:

• Wentz leads the NFL with 23 touchdown passes on top of the 16 he threw last year. Wentz’s 39 TD passes so far are 19th most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first two seasons but only three out of 11th place. At his current pace, he’ll have 55 career TDs by the end of the year, which would be second most in NFL history after two years behind Dan Marino’s 68.

• The Eagles Sunday night will be seeking their eighth straight game with 100 or more rushing yards gained and fewer than 100 rushing yards allowed. That would be the fourth-longest streak in NFL history and the second-longest in the last 50 years, behind only the Steelers’ 10-game streak in 2001. 

• Elliott has scored 75 points in eight games and is on pace for 140 points in just 15 games this year. The NFL rookie scoring record is 150 points, set in 2014 by Eagles kicker Cody Parkey, who's now with the Dolphins.

• The Eagles have scored 26 or more points in seven straight games. If they score 26 against the Cowboys, they would set a franchise record with eighth consecutive games with at least 26 points and share the 14th-longest streak in NFL history.

• If Wentz throws a touchdown against the Cowboys, this would be his 12th straight game with a TD pass. That would be the third-longest streak in Eagles history, behind two Randall Cunningham streaks — 18 games over the 1987 and 1988 seasons and 13 games in 1990. If Wentz throws at least one TD and one or fewer interceptions, he would have 12 straight games with at least one TD and one or no INTs, which would be the 13th-longest streak in NFL history.