PHILADELPHIA -- Small part scheme and big part attitude have made the Philadelphia Eagles' defense one of the most venerable in the NFL.
That was on full display in Sunday's 31-3 rout of Chicago when the Eagles (10-1) held the Bears (3-8) to 140 total yards of offense, including just six yards on the ground.
"It's attitude, man," said safety Malcolm Jenkins, the defense's veteran leader. "We're not running a magical scheme. We have a 4-3 defense. If the ball is in your gap, you have to win. You can't allow anybody to move you off the ball."
The Eagles entered ranked seventh overall and first against the run, having not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. They knew they would have a challenge against the Bears and Jordan Howard, whose 841 rushing yards entering play was tops in the NFC.
Howard had six yards.
"That's the best defense I've ever played," Bears right guard Kyle Long said.
Jenkins said it's all about a mentality.
"It's really a pride issue when it comes to the run game," Jenkins said. "Obviously, you have to be able to tackle as well. Our interior line is well-documented in what they can do. Our backers flow and hit. And when they do try to pack us all in and get to the edge, our corners show up with attitude. Knowing your scheme is a big deal, but a lot of the run game comes down to attitude."
Defensive end Brandon Graham and cornerback Ronald Darby led the defense with five tackles apiece while Jenkins had two tackles, an interception and a pass deflection.
Aside from their ferocity, Jenkins said part of what makes the unit work so well is the trust and respect the players have in defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and vice versa.
"He plays to our strength," Jenkins said. "I've been around coordinators that don't like that. It's more about their scheme and how they want to look.
"If he puts something in, he'll ask how we feel about it. He might not go to it if we're not comfortable with it. That freedom allows us to take ownership and pays off. It gives us an advantage in almost every matchup we see."