Chicago Bears

This year, the Eagles are winning ... and having fun doing it

This year, the Eagles are winning ... and having fun doing it

The Eagles are turning Lincoln Financial Field into a house party.

During pregame warmups before facing the Bears, players appeared to be more loose than normal. With the music vibrating through the stadium speakers, a large contingent of players were working on their individual nightclub moves as much as they were working on their game techniques.

A sign of overconfidence? Were they looking past the lowly Chicago Bears? Not at all. This is an extremely focused and confident group of guys that has earned every accolade it has received.

As we saw, the Eagles went out and crushed a team that wasn’t worthy of being on the same field with them. And why shouldn’t they enjoy the moment of this season?

We all knew with the talent assembled and Carson Wentz in his second year that this team had the capability of being good, but we never imagined it would be this good. The Birds aren’t just winning … they are destroying opponents.

They are 10-1 for just the fourth time in franchise history. The Eagles lead the NFL with 351 points scored. They won three straight games by 28-plus points for the first time in franchise history. Wentz leads the league with 28 touchdown passes. The list of accomplishments this season goes on and on. 

And they continue to dance their way toward the postseason. Following a Zach Ertz touchdown against the Bears, a group of players took a family portrait in the back of the end zone. After the Alshon Jeffery score, it was bowling. Then later in the game, players broke out with the Electric Slide.

According to cornerback Jalen Mills, it’s all a part of their identity, kind of like a reward for the hard work they put in every week leading up to the next game.

“I think it goes back to the process we go through in practice,” Mills said. “We compete at a very high level. Guys hold each other accountable. We have very high standards in practice. So when it comes to Sunday, Coach (Doug Pederson) is not really on our backs, and that kind of lets us do our thing. We get to let our hair down. We go out there and have fun, but at the same time it’s all about football.”

You never want to rub a drubbing in your opponents’ faces because it could come back to haunt you somewhere down the road. That’s just an unwritten code of football ethics. But Pederson isn’t concerned about his players’ creativity, as long as they keep it family friendly.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Pederson said. “Listen, the guys are having fun doing it. They are having fun playing together. Obviously when you’re winning in this position, it is definitely fun and all that. I do have a concern, though, there is a 40-second clock that’s moving after touchdowns and scoring plays, so they have got to hurry up and get off the field. But they are enjoying each other right now. They enjoy coming to work every week, and this game is hard enough and when you score you kind of want them to celebrate together and it’s a great thing. Some of the things we’ve done, the picture taking, the baseball, the bowling, the Electric Slide, I don’t think they affect the team one way or the other. As long as they keep it clean that way, it’s fine.”

This has the makings of a special season. Party on men, party on.

Snap counts: Mack Hollins plays career-high against Bears

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USA Today Images

Snap counts: Mack Hollins plays career-high against Bears

Mack Hollins had just two catches for 12 yards in Sunday's 31-3 win over the Bears, but he played more snaps than he ever had before. 

After having just 10 snaps against the Cowboys last week, Hollins played a career-high 38 snaps (49 percent) against the Bears. His previous high was 30 snaps against the Broncos. 

Meanwhile, Torrey Smith had just three more snaps than Hollins. This is the second time Hollins was almost tied with Smith; the other instance came two games ago. 

LeGarrette Blount led the way for Eagles running backs with 37 snaps (47 percent) on Sunday. While Jay Ajayi got just five carries, he played 22 snaps (28 percent) and had more than Corey Clement (15 snaps) for the first time. Ajayi's percentage of snaps was up from 20 percent last week. Kenjon Barner was on the field for four plays. 

Shelton Gibson got four offensive snaps in his first NFL action. 

Brandon Brooks and Halapoulivaati Vaitai were the only players on offense to play all 78 snaps. 

The defensive end rotation on Sunday was very close. Brandon Graham got 34 snaps, Chris Long got 27, Derek Barnett had 26 and Vinny Curry had 26. That's pretty ideal. Steven Means also picked up six in his first action since the the Carolina game. 

With Beau Allen (knee) out, rookie Elijah Qualls picked up 17 snaps in his first action since the Arizona game. Rodney McLeod was the only defensive player on the field for every play. 

With another huge blowout win, the snap counts were a little different again on Sunday. The backups got some extra time in this one. 

Here's a full look: 

Offense
Brandon Brooks - 78 snaps (100 percent)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai - 78 (100)
Stefen Wisniewski - 75 (96)
Lane Johnson - 67 (86)
Alshon Jeffery - 67 (86)
Jason Kelce - 67 (86)
Carson Wentz - 67 (86)
Zach Ertz - 65 (83)
Nelson Agholor - 65 (83)
Torrey Smith - 41 (53)
Mack Hollins - 38 (49)
LeGarrette Blount - 37 (47)
Brent Celek - 30 (38)
Jay Ajayi - 22 (28)
Corey Clement - 15 (19)
Chance Warmack - 14 (18)
Isaac Seumalo - 13 (17)
Nick Foles - 11 (14)
Kenjon Barner - 4 (5)
Shelton Gibson - 4 (5)

Defense
Rodney McLeod - 55 snaps (100 percent)
Malcolm Jenkins - 44 (80)
Nigel Bradham - 44 (80)
Jalen Mills - 44 (80)
Ronald Darby - 44 (80)
Patrick Robinson - 38 (69)
Mychal Kendricks - 38 (69)
Fletcher Cox - 35 (64)
Brandon Graham - 34 (62)
Chris Long - 27 (49)
Vinny Curry - 26 (47)
Tim Jernigan - 26 (47)
Derek Barnett - 26 (47)
Destiny Vaeao - 23 (42)
Corey Graham - 20 (36) 
Najee Goode - 17 (31)
Elijah Qualls - 17 (31)
Kamu Grugier-Hill - 11 (20)
Jaylen Watkins - 11 (20)
Rasul Douglas - 11 (20)
Joe Walker - 8 (15)
Steven Means - 6 (11) 

Eagles' rush defense proves elite once more against run-heavy Bears

Eagles' rush defense proves elite once more against run-heavy Bears

With four minutes left in the game, Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky broke the Eagles' hearts with an 11-yard run down the left sideline.
 
Of course, that run didn't mean anything. It didn't set up a touchdown or field goal. It came at the end of an Eagles blowout win (see Roob's observations). In fact, Trubisky threw an interception a few plays later
 
What that 11-yard run did do was give the Bears positive rushing yardage for the game.

Yep. It rescued them from the ignominy of rushing for less than zero yards in an entire football game.
 
"I was mad," Malcolm Jenkins said after the Eagles' 31-3 win over the Bears at the Linc (see breakdown). "I wanted to keep them to negative yards."
 
Before that run — the Bears' last running play of the game — the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing offense had negative-five yards on 13 carries.
 
Trubisky made the final totals 14 for 6.
 
The Eagles have been exceptional all year against the run. They were No. 1 in the league before this game. And against a top-5 rushing attack, they showed why.
 
"It would have been pretty cool to hold them to negative-six," Tim Jernigan said. "I wouldn’t have been complaining.”
 
As it was, the Bears finished with their fewest rushing yards in 65 years — since they had one rushing yard in a loss to the Rams in 1952. 

It was the fewest rushing yards the Eagles have allowed in 71 years — since they held the Boston Yanks to minus-26 yards in a win in 1946.

Historic stuff. And it happened against a Bears team that came in fifth in the NFL with 132 rushing yards per game and sixth with 4.5 yards per carry.
 
So much for those numbers.
 
Bears halfback Jordan Howard ranked third in the NFL in rushing before Sunday, but he finished with six yards on seven carries with a long gain of four. Rookie Tarik Cohen had a 12-yard loss and finished with minus-11 yards on two carries. Benny Cunningham had one carry for minus-one yard.
 
"We knew them running the ball was going to be their way of trying to beat us," Jernigan said. "So we were kind of keeping tabs on where they were."
 
Where were they?
 
The Bears' running backs finished with minus-six yards on 10 carries.
 
"That’s pretty impressive and hard to do in this league, and they have two good backs," safety Rodney McLeod said. "Howard’s like top-three in the league, and Jim (Schwartz) told us all week our objective is to stop the run, nothing else, and that’s what we did today."
 
The Eagles are now 10-1 with a nine-game winning streak, and their run defense is one of the biggest reasons why (see report card).
 
They've allowed 716 rushing yards so far, and that’s the seventh-fewest in NFL history after 11 games.
 
“That was the big emphasis this week," Brandon Graham said. "We just wanted to go out there and do our job. We made it about us and obviously, we got the job done today.
 
“You’ve got to get them with numbers and then you’ve got be technically sound. You have to go out there and make sure you don’t try to do anyone else’s job because that’s when they crease you. … We were out there busting our butt, everybody was doing their job and flying around. We played good team D against their run.”
 
The only team to surpass 100 rushing yards against the Eagles this year was the Cowboys with 112 last week.
 
The Eagles won by four touchdowns, but the Eagles were committed to not letting it happen again.
 
"The coaches let us know that first day we started breaking down film," Jernigan said, "coach Schwartz was just demanding, 'Hey, we gotta make sure we take care of 24 (Howard).' Especially after not having much success against Dallas. They had a couple plays that popped, and we wanted to make sure we cleaned it up and got back in the groove of things."
 
With no running game to speak of and the Eagles' lead growing bigger and bigger, Trubisky was forced to throw 33 times. He passed for only 147 yards, was sacked twice, fumbled twice and was intercepted twice.
 
"Stats are cool but at the end of the day, we just go out there and play hard, prepare well and just do our job," McLeod said. "And our job vs. any opponent is always to stop the run first and get them in passing situations and let our guys up front eat, and the rest is history."
 
The Eagles' defense hasn't allowed a touchdown since garbage time of the Broncos game — they led 44-9 when the Broncos scored — and they haven't allowed a rushing touchdown since Cam Newton scored from 16 yards out six weeks ago.
 
“It’s great to see, especially when you put the work in all week," linebacker Nigel Bradham said. "When a team is pretty much telling us they’re going to run the ball on us, we feel some type of way about that. That’s one of our strengths.
 
"That’s just what it was. We executed, we showed up, and we did what we wanted."