It took 3 1/2 games and more than 14 quarters, but the Philadelphia Eagles' beleaguered defense finally produced a quarterback sack in the month of October. The historic event happened with 7:23 left in the third quarter as the Eagles faced the Atlanta Falcons at Philly's Lincoln Financial Field when defensive tackle Cedric Thornton busted through and took down Matt Ryan. The Eagles missed an earlier opportunity as Ryan ran out of pressure for a one-yard gain near the end of the first half.
The Eagles, who fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replaced him with former secondary coach Todd Broyles during their bye week, last had a sack on September 23 (that's Week 3, folks), when they took Kevin Kolb down three times in a 27-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Jason Babin got the last sack of Kolb with 3:57 left in the third quarter, which put the Eagles at nearly four complete games without a quarterback sack.
We're pretty sure that's a record for the modern era, or any era in which players were throwing the football more than three times a game.
"We're being schemed up front," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said after an October 14 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions in which the Eagles blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. "They're throwing us off in what we do. A lot of quick stuff. A lot of screens. Play-action. Leaving [extra] people in [to block]. Bumping players and chipping players. I think we're trying too hard when we get opportunities. We've just got to relax."
After that game, several players questioned Castillo's schemes, especially when the coach changed coverage concepts late in the game. That collapse led to Castillo's demise, though it was really the fault of head coach Andy Reid for thinking that his former offensive line coach could make that switch.
"We're going to fight as hard as we can. If the sacks come, they come, defensive end Trent Cole said after the Lions game when the front four's ability to sack the quarterback was questioned. "They're just not coming right now. But we're going to keep pushing forward. We're not going to stop. We're not going to quit."
Well, they've got one. That's a start. Of course, the Eagles lost to the Falcons, 30-17, and fans at the Linc were chanting for Reid's firing, but we're all about baby steps here at Shutdown Corner.
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