Fierce Eagles pass rush steps up again in victory over Bears
CHICAGO (AP) — Javon Hargrave slung Justin Fields to the ground, and then celebrated by drawing a door with his hands and kicking it in.
Philadelphia’s defensive line is tough to stop — even with an offensive line.
Hargrave, Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick had two sacks apiece Sunday, helping the Eagles hold off the Chicago Bears for a 25-20 victory. A hustling Reddick also recovered a fumble along Philadelphia’s sideline, stopping a Chicago drive in the third quarter.
“First of all, we put in a lot of work. That’s first and foremost,” Reddick said. “We feed off each other’s energy. That’s another thing. It’s like when one guy gets one, another guy gets one and the next thing you know we’re all getting sacks.”
While dynamic quarterback Jalen Hurts and his top targets have captured most of the attention, Philadelphia’s pass rush has played a key role in its NFL-best 13-1 record. The Eagles lead the league with 55 sacks.
The 28-year-old Reddick has a team-high 12 sacks in his first season with Philadelphia after he agreed to a $45 million, three-year contract in March. Hargrave, a 29-year-old defensive tackle, has a career-best 10 in his second year with the Eagles. The 25-year-old Sweat has a career-high 9 1/2 sacks.
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Philadelphia has five players with at least six sacks on the season.
“We just out there fighting, because we know if we ain’t on time, one of the other dudes is going to get it,” said Sweat, who has six sacks in his last four games. “So we out there fighting but at the same time just keeping our responsibilities so we take care of each other at the end of the day.”
Fields’ rushing ability presented a unique challenge for Philadelphia’s deep defensive line. He finished with 95 yards on 15 carries, including a nifty 39-yarder, but the six sacks and heavy pressure made life difficult on the second-year quarterback.
“You just got to make sure you don’t really get too high on your rushes or not leaving lanes and just really communicating with the defensive line just to try to keep him in the pocket,” Hargrave said.
Fields went to the locker room in the fourth for an IV because he was dealing with cramps, but he returned in time for Chicago’s next offensive series.
“I think they did a great job putting pressure on me today,” Fields said.
Philadelphia’s defensive line set the tone early. Sweat pulled down Fields on a third down on Chicago’s second possession, forcing a punt. Hargrave got his first sack on a third down the next time the Bears had the ball.
Reddick recorded his two sacks in the second quarter, and Sweat got his second of the afternoon right before halftime.
“I’ve been rushing well all year,” Sweat said. “I’m just trying to find ways to shave off time to get there, and I think it’s just coming to me.”
Reddick, who played his college ball at Temple and grew up in Camden, New Jersey, also made a big play in the third. With Chicago in Philadelphia territory, Reddick recovered Velus Jones Jr.’s fumble before it could go out of bounds.
“We got one of the best D-lines in the league,” Eagles cornerback Darius Slay said. “Guys are really eating, they eat good, so they never leave the game starving.”
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