PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter exploded out of his stance and took a quick jab step to his left, forcing Los Angeles Rams center Coleman Shelton to lunge in that direction. And just like that, it was over.
Carter cut back right, clubbed an off-balance Shelton out of his way and wrangled Matthew Stafford to the ground for a third-quarter sack -- his second of the game. He added two tackles for loss in a performance that helped propel the now 5-0 Eagles to a 23-14 win, and further bolstered Carter's early Defensive Rookie of the Year credentials.
"Mr. Unblockable," said cornerback Darius Slay following Sunday's win at SoFi Stadium. "That's his name."
With 3.5 sacks under his belt, Carter is producing at a historic clip. The last first-year defensive tackle with at least 12 combined tackles and 3.5 sacks over any five-game stretch was the Rams' Aaron Donald in 2014. The most sacks by a first-year defensive tackle since the stat has been tracked is 11 by Keith Millard in 1985, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Carter is on pace for 11.5.
Carter, who landed No. 2 in ESPN's first edition of rookie rankings behind Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, is seventh overall and first among defensive tackles in QB pressures through five weeks with 25, per NextGen Stats.
"Man, he's just been playing phenomenal. A young guy with a lot of energy, a lot of juice," said veteran edge player Haason Reddick. "Everybody knew that he had this type of ability. I'm extremely happy for the young man."
Coach Nick Sirianni echoed those sentiments but struck a more measured tone as he zoomed out to look at the bigger picture.
"We won't put him in Canton yet. He's got to just keep going each and every day and getting better, and it's about consistency," he said. "He's got the ability to do it. He's just got to be consistent with it, and that's by working hard and growing each day."
Carter was widely considered the top talent in the 2023 draft but fell to No. 9 in part due to off-field concerns.
Multiple Georgia coaches declined to go to bat for Carter during the pre-draft process, in part because they had grown disenchanted with his practice habits and attitude.
But his work ethic has drawn strong reviews from his current teammates and coaches. The Eagles felt they were uniquely equipped to help Carter stay on the right path thanks to the presence of veteran leaders like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. Cox has assumed a lead role as mentor. He missed Sunday's game with a back ailment, and Carter responded with his biggest game of the year.
"We obviously want Fletch here, he's a veteran. He can motivate anybody on this team," Carter said. "But unfortunately he couldn't be here so we just go next man up, still work hard, we all still trust each other, and let's do this. Let's get a dub."
When Carter was asked what he is working on week-to-week, he responded, "Everything," noting that his hand work and gap movements weren't quite up to his standard against the Rams.
And yet he had a number of dominant moments. It's plain to see many more lie ahead if Carter continues on this trajectory.
"He has to keep proving it over and over and over again," Sirianni said. "Because if you want to be considered in the top part of this league as a football player, it's about consistency and it's about doing it year-in and year-out. So, he's had a good start. He has to continue to put the work in. We know he has the talent."