PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz pointed the finger at himself last week.
After his unit yielded a staggering 493 yards in a 27-20 loss at the Washington Redskins, Schwartz said that it falls on him to "find a way to put the fire out" when the game plan goes south. That includes dialing up an effective blitz package when the front four doesn't get home.
"We got no sacks in the game. That's not us," he said. "We got to have pressure."
Former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was treated harshly in his return to Lincoln Financial Field. Heavy boos rained down on him as he took the field for the first time. What followed probably hurt Bradford a lot worse, as the Eagles' defense clobbered him for the next 60 minutes, taking advantage of a decimated offensive line. He was sacked six times and hit 11 -- four times by defensive end Brandon Graham -- and put forth his worst performance of the season. Bradford, who did not commit a single turnover and led the league in completion percentage entering Sunday's game, finished 24-of-41 with an interception and two lost fumbles.
"We had a little fun. I was out there talking," said Graham, who registered his fourth sack of the season. "We knew Sam don't like to get hit, and we tried to hit him within the rules as much as we could. I think it kind of got to him a little bit."
"I thought he missed some throws today that he normally makes," added Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. "He got hit a lot, so it's hard to evaluate his performance when we looked like a sieve in there."
Bradford was dealt to Minnesota eight days before the start of the regular season for a first-round draft pick in 2017 and a conditional fourth-rounder in '18. That cleared a path for rookie QB Carson Wentz, who had his share of struggles in this one as well and committed three turnovers of his own. The Vikings and Eagles combined to turn the ball over five straight times in the first quarter.
On a day when the offenses were largely ineffective, it was the play of the Eagles' defense and special teams that made the difference. Josh Huff returned a kick 98 yards in the second quarter to give the Eagles a lead that the defense tightly held onto.
Schwartz is known for his light use of the blitz -- preferring that his D-line do the work, often from the Wide 9 alignment -- but dialed up a number of exotic pressures Sunday that got home frequently. After a pair of less-than-stellar outings from his group, he changed things up and found a way to put out the fire.
"We love him and we trust him," Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks said of Schwartz. "He holds his weight just like we have to hold ours. We're all in this together. He understands that and that's why everybody loves him."
As a result, the 4-2 Eagles will be riding high into next Sunday's matchup at the Dallas Cowboys.