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Jalen Carter, Eagles defense hold Buccaneers to 174 yards in Monday night win: 'This defense is awesome'

Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' feel-good story to start the season lasted two weeks.

Then the reigning NFC champions came to town.

Led by Jalen Carter, a burgeoning force in the middle of the defensive line, the Philadelphia Eagles defense simply dominated, holding the Bucs to a meager 174 yards of offense in a 25-11 win on Monday night.

"This defense is awesome," Carter said, via team transcript. "I love the defense. Everybody trusts one another. Everybody plays their role and do what they got to do. And if somebody is going down, it's that next man up and we are not worried about who the next man is. We trust him just as much as we trust the guy that's starting the game. I love this defense."

Carter, the 2023 NFL Draft's No. 9 overall pick, was beastly for the Eagles, decorating the stat line with two tackles, half a sack, a quarterback hit and two forced fumbles.

Philadelphia had a pair of takeaways on Monday. The Eagles have forced eight turnovers so far this season and multiple in each game -- the only NFL team to do so. They added a safety when Carter and Nicholas Morrow burst through the line to obliterate Rachaad White on a carry going nowhere but backward.

Most impressive was the Philadelphia front's ability to completely suffocate an already struggling Buccaneers running game. Tampa Bay had just 41 yards and one first down on the ground off 17 carries.

Asked to weigh in on his running game, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles, straight-faced as ever, summed up his squad's travails.

"We didn't have one," he said. "I mean, it's just … we're not going to sit here and sugarcoat anything -- we own what we have."

Passing was no picnic either, as Mayfield followed up a 317-yard showing in Week 2 -- his first 300-yard game since Week 5 of 2021 -- with 146 yards and his first interception of the season.

"I mean, they're really good defensively," Mayfield said. "They're front -- I mean, they're incredible."

The Eagles haven't allowed more than 76 rushing yards in a game this season. They're still causing turnovers and havoc aplenty. A season after a run to the Super Bowl, they replaced Jonathan Gannon with Sean Desai at defensive coordinator and so far haven't missed a beat.

It's a fundamental approach, according to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, that continues to lead the way.

"I really had a lot of confidence in our defense and we hired Sean because we had a lot of confidence in him and he's done a nice job," Sirianni said. "I think what we're doing well, what we're really doing well is we're playing with good fundamentals, and that will -- and playing physical -- and those will take you through no matter what level of football -- playing physical and playing with good fundamentals will take you through Pee Wee football, middle school football, high school football, college football, professional football. I think we're doing a nice job tackling, I think they're doing a really good job and that's fundamentals and the coaches and the players have worked hard after each practice, you know the time they've put into those fundamentals."

Fundamentals aren't sexy, but they're fruitful.

The Eagles continue to showcase fundamentals, depth up front and overall defensive dominance.

Now, Philadelphia is one of a trio of 3-0 teams in the NFL and its defense is the prevailing reason as to why.

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