The Philadelphia Eagles defense has allowed just 20 combined points the past two games. Michael Vick remains one of the NFL's most exciting and capable players. LeSean McCoy is near the NFL lead for every major rushing statistic. The Eagles have always had an impressive stable of talent, and enter Week 9's Monday night meeting with the Chicago Bears winners of two straight.
As Vick suggested Thursday, success is about fitting the pieces together.
"I think you have to have the mindset that you just have to be team-oriented," he said. "One guy doesn't know-it-all and can't win a football game by himself, it takes a collective effort. And I believe in the guys around me and we all voice our opinions and we all respect each other's opinions. And as grown men, I think that's how it should be."
Vick finished an efficient 21-28 for 279 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 34-7 victory against the Dallas Cowboys, and said the way Philadelphia responded to Rob Ryan's defense gives him confidence he can move the ball against any team.
"I think after what I saw last week with everything that they did it makes me very optimistic that I can go out there and execute against any defense. Obviously, everything's going to be different but I think I have the ground rules and know what it takes to make sure that I can get us in the right protection calls and make the plays downfield when necessary," he said.
Vick sounds quite confident with Philadelphia's output. But it was McCoy who was voted NFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 185 yards and two scores against a Dallas defense that entered the game leading the NFL in run defense. Wide receiver Jason Avant praised McCoy's elusiveness on Thursday.
"First of all," said Avant, "for him to learn so fast how to play this game and his blitz protection just going to another level, and just his determination. And he just has a great knack for making people miss, just a great knack for it. And I think that's very, very undervalued in this league.
"The first guy never tackles him and the second guy probably has a 30 percent chance, you know...[laughing]. So he's just an amazing guy when the ball's in his hands and making people miss, so I think that's the most impressive thing about him."
Considering Vick and McCoy's powerful efforts, Philadelphia's total of 34 points scored was not a surprise. But the Eagles also held the Cowboys to seven points, the first time all season Philadelphia limited an opponent to single-digit points. After giving up at least 24 points in four straight games, all losses, the Eagles have surrendered fewer than 20 points in each of the two consecutive wins.
Jason Babin credits the formation of a cohesive defensive unit under defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's watch.
"I think it's obvious on film. You know, everybody's excited. If somebody makes an interception, if somebody makes a big tackle or [tackle for loss] or sack, everybody's celebrating, and everybody's just really gelling," the defensive end said.
He added that the Eagles are concentrated on the "tackling and pursuit" of Matt Forte this weekend, calling Forte "a powerful runner" with "some nice wiggle to him."
Safety Nate Allen said the team also respects Jay Cutler's ability to throw the deep ball, and will be mindful of staying disciplined within the team's scheme as the Eagles look to build on Sunday's performance against Dallas.
Beating the Cowboys infused an additional measure of confidence. But beating the Bears is the next step.
"A win's a win in this league. We're taking it one week at a time and we're preparing for this game on Monday night and we feel like we're going to win it," said Vick.