The Philadelphia Eagles escaped with a win against the Cleveland Browns 17-16 yesterday. Most of the discussion following the game has been about Michael Vick. Vick threw four interceptions, but did lead the Eagles on a last minute drive to get the W. The unsung hero of the game was the entire Philadelphia defense. There were many questions about the defense and how they would perform in defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's second year.
The acquisition of Demeco Ryans appears to have given the Eagles a solid middle linebacker who can stuff the run. Ryans was traded for a fourth round pick by the Houston Texans. For the Texans to let him go for such a low price, shows they thought he was washed up. Many media outlets and fans in Philadelphia had questioned Demeco's ability as he had an average training camp. But Ryans showed he still has it against Cleveland. He was an integral part in limiting Browns running back Trent Richardson to 39 yards rushing on 19 carries.
The Eagles pass defense was stellar as a whole. Kurt Coleman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie each had two interceptions. Coleman and DRC continue to show improvement and are primed to have huge years in the secondary. Rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin played well in his first NFL game. Boykin's play validated the move to release fellow cornerback Joselio Hanson. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden struggled all game as he threw for 118 yards and four interceptions.
Although the Browns scored 16 points, the Eagles defense did not allow a touchdown. The Browns sole touchdown came on a interception return by D'Qwell Jackson. The Eagles defense kept them in the game while Vick struggled to find his rhythm. The defense looked elite, but keep in mind that it was against the lowly Cleveland Browns. The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Philadelphia this week and it should be a much more accurate assessment of how good this defense really is.
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