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Led by tenacious defense, Eagles tough at home

By ROB MAADDINovember 14, 2016
Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 24-15. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 24-15. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the crowd revving them up, the Philadelphia Eagles have been unbeatable at home.

A stingy defense is the main reason they’re 4-0 at the Linc.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons scored 33.9 points per game before coming to Philly and only finding the end zone once in a 24-15 loss Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers managed only a field goal against the Eagles in Week 3.

“The energy from the fans, we feel it,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “It was electric in the beginning. I felt that energy and I think it carried over as soon as we started the game.”

On the road, it’s a different story for Philadelphia (5-4). The Eagles are 1-4 and have a difficult game coming up at Seattle (6-2-1).

“It’s going to be tough because we’re going into a hostile environment, the 12th Man,” Graham said. “We just have to make sure we keep going with the same intensity that we have at home games and take it out on away games. The teams that are going to win in this league are the ones that can win away.”

The Eagles have outscored opponents 108-38 at home. They began the season with a 29-10 victory over the Browns. They whipped Pittsburgh 34-3. They handed Minnesota its first loss, 21-10, in Week 7.

But the defensive performance against Atlanta (6-4) was most impressive.

The Falcons were held to 303 yards, 11 first downs, and scored less than half their season average. They were 2 for 11 on third downs, despite facing a banged-up secondary.

Eagles starting cornerback Nolan Carroll left in the first half after sustaining a concussion. Leodis McKelvin, the other starter, began the game in a backup role because he’s been hobbled by a hamstring injury. He was forced to play more after Carroll got hurt and got beaten on a 76-yard TD pass , but also made an interception to seal the win. The Eagles already lost Ron Brooks, their starting slot cornerback, for the season in the win over the Vikings.

Seventh-round pick Jalen Mills has filled in nicely. He helped contain Julio Jones, who had 10 catches for 135 yards.

“We take pride in our defense and knowing that Atlanta is a great team, preparation was everything,” safety Rodney McLeod said. “Communication, effort, technique and fundamentals, all of that had to show up in order for us to win. Everybody played a part and did their role well.”

NOTES: Carroll is in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s game in the first half. LG Allen Barbre and LB Kamu Grugier-Hill both are expected to practice after each missed the past two games with injuries.

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