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Eagles Get to Celebrate Best Win of the Season for a ‘hot Second’

[CSNPhily] Eagles get to celebrate best win of the season for a 'hot second'

Carson Wentz said he "absolutely" enjoys a win more when all three phases play a role. 

Well, he had to feel pretty darn good Sunday night.

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The Eagles beat the Cardinals, 34-7, and Wentz had the best statistical game of his career. He threw four touchdown passes, doubling his previous career high and was incredible on third downs. The whole offense got off to a lightning-fast start. Torrey Smith broke out of his funk, Nelson Agholor made a huge play, Zach Ertz kept it going and Doug Pederson kept his play-calling balanced

On defense, the Eagles gave up just one touchdown. Jim Schwartz's unit pressured Carson Palmer all day. They didn't give up any chunk plays. And the secondary held its own against a future Hall of Famer and a group of outside receivers that could double as a 4x100 team. 

And special teams continued to be an X-factor. Long considered to be one of the best units in the league, Dave Fipp's group proved it again Sunday. Kenjon Barner had a couple big punt returns, kickoff kept pinning the Cardinals deep and Jake Elliott drilled two more field goals

It was a team win. It was the best win of the season. 

They just don't get to bask for long. 

"We're going to enjoy this one for a hot second and get ready for Carolina on Thursday," safety Rodney McLeod said. 

The Eagles normally have a 24-hour rule when it comes to wins - even big ones. Enjoy it for a day and then get back to work. Thanks to their game Thursday night game in Charlotte, they'll have even less time after this one. 

Maybe that's a good thing. 

Maybe the less time the Eagles have to celebrate the better. 

Because with the win, they're 4-1 on the season. And after the Cowboys' loss later in the day - a loss players were clearly watching - the Eagles are definitely in the driver's seat of the NFC East. 

But this season is far from over and the Eagles haven't won a damn thing yet. In NFL history, teams with four wins through their first five games have made the playoffs 69 percent of the time. That's pretty good. But the 2014 Eagles began the season with a 4-1 record and were one of those teams that missed out on the postseason. 

"At the end of the day, we didn't prepare this whole year just to get four wins," Malcolm Jenkins said. "We have our sights set way beyond that."

The Eagles haven't made the playoffs since 2013 and they haven't won a playoff game since 2008. Folks inside the franchise are as painfully aware of that as the customers in the stands. Coincidentally, you'll remember, that 2008 playoff run was thwarted by the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. 

On Sunday afternoon, Donovan McNabb was in attendance at the Linc and was in the locker room after the impressive win. He stopped for a chat with Wentz. They stood there and talked for a moment, the last quarterback to win a playoff game and the next. 

So how good can this Eagles team be? 

"I think the sky's the limit. The sky's the limit," head coach Doug Pederson said. "And the key is just staying grounded and staying focused on our job and focused on the next game. As you know, these wins, these losses, whatever, are short-lived in this business, and you have to get yourself ready to go within 24 hours."

Dating back to last season, the Eagles have won six of their last seven games and have won their last four at home. Don't look now, but they're a good football team. 

The thing is, the start this season isn't much different than the hot start the Eagles got off to in 2016, when they won their first three games. 

But this year is different, according to several players. They learned from their mistakes. That's why minutes after the biggest win of the young season, minutes after one of the most convincing wins in recent team history, players in the locker room were happy but not really celebrating. It's why McLeod said they're not looking ahead to Washington or Denver because they play the Panthers in four days. 

By the time the Eagles cleared out of the locker room Sunday night, their "hot second" to enjoy the win over the Cardinals was already pretty much over. 

"It puts us in a great spot, for sure," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "But at the same time, this team is still hungry. We can't get complacent. We can't get comfortable. Not saying that we are. We won this game but by tomorrow, we're on to the Panthers. That's our main focus."

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