Eagles LB TJ Edwards praises defensive line after dominant performance against Derrick Henry
Remember when every Eagles fan was worried about the great Derrick Henry?
You didn’t have to look hard to find them. Sunday was supposed to be a day reckoning for the Eagles, who had struggled to contain opposing rushing attacks all throughout the 2022 season. With Derrick Henry and his hard-nosed Titans coming to town, the Eagles defense was finally going to be exposed as the frauds they are. Or so fans thought.
Sunday was anything but a day of reckoning for Philadelphia. In reality, it was Henry and Co. who met their demise. Jonathan Gannon’s unit bottled up Henry all day, holding the Pro Bowl back to 30 yards on 11 attempts (2.7 YPC). Ryan Tannehill was the team’s leading rusher, tallying 34 yards on the day.
It was a complete performance from the Eagles defense, who surrendered just 209 yards of total offense to Tennessee.
LB TJ Edwards was asked about his defense’s strong outing following the contest. Above all else, Edwards handed the proverbial game ball to the big guys up front.
“I think it honestly came down to winning our one-on-one matchups,” Edwards told reporters. “I think obviously they had a good idea of what we were going to do, and we had a good idea of what they were going to do. It was all about winning your one-on-ones, winning your area, defeating blocks. Honestly, I thought our d-line just ruined that game. I thought they were dominant, all across the board. They’re stopping the run, and in the drop-back pass game they were getting to the quarterback as well, so I thought the front had a really good game.”
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The Eagles defensive line was one of the many highlights from Sunday’s matchup.
Not only did they do a marvelous job containing one of the toughest runners in football, they made Tannehill’s day a living hell. The defensive line racked up 19 total pressures, six sacks, and nine quarterback hits.
The defensive line is the key to everything for Gannon’s defense. When they show up and show out, everyone else on that unit feeds off it. Their ability to take on blockers allows Edwards and his fellow linebackers to flow to the ball carriers more freely. In passing situations, being able to provide constant pressure helps the backend in coverage.
Philly’s run defense has taken a major step forward as of late. Sunday was just further evidence of that. From weeks 8-10, the defense allowed an average of 154.6 yards on the ground. In the three games since, they’re allowing 97.3.
The run defense renaissance can be traced back to the acquisitions of Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, who joined the team following their lone loss of the season. Now that Jordan Davis is back in the fold, there’s no legitimate reason to doubt Gannon’s crew against the run.
Next up for the Eagles, Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants. It’s just another opportunity for this Eagles defense to prove how far they’ve come against the run.
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