Eagles' defense fresh in 2nd half of games thanks to up-tempo pace of practice

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles' up-tempo offense, which is wearing down opposing defenses, may be helping their defense.

In their first two games, the Eagles have allowed 34 first-half points in wins over Jacksonville and Indianapolis. In the second half, the same defense has allowed just 10 points.

The Eagles came back to win both, becoming the first team in NFL history to erase 14-point deficits to win the first two weeks of the season.

"We practice at such a pace that we'll get into the fourth quarter and guys are fresh," said Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, whose fourth-quarter interception of Andrew Luck on Monday night was a key play in the win. "Our guys are still full speed late in the game.

"This is what we train for and guys are ready when we get in those situations. I don't think the moment is too big for any of us."

The Eagles' biggest moment on defense in the road win over the Colts came after the offense tied the game 27-27. Indianapolis got the ball back with 3:25 left behind Luck, who has 11 game-winning fourth-quarter or overtime drives in his short career.

On third-and-5 from the Colts 25, defensive coordinator Billy Davis called a blitz and got enough pressure to force Luck to hurry a pass to Reggie Wayne that fell incomplete.

The Colts punted and the Eagles drove for Cody Parkey's game-winning field goal.

"That was huge," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We didn't play great all game. But when it came down to it, when it was time to step up, when we needed to make a play, we did."

One concern this week is linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who is day to day with a calf injury. Backups Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho split time with the first unit at Wednesday's practice.

"We'll see how the week plays out with Mychal," Davis said. "He's been very productive for us. I think you see a continuation of the improvement he made last year. He's an ascending player."

Matthews struggled at times in place of Kendricks on Monday night but was on the field for the crucial stop in the fourth quarter.

"Both of those guys are a lot alike," Davis said of Matthews and Acho. "Both are very intelligent; both are very instinctive. They're competing this week."

And they're going against an offense that will get them ready for four quarters Sunday.

NOTES: RB Darren Sproles was honored as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 178 total yards and touchdown run against the Colts. It's the first time the 31-year-old Sproles has won the award in his career. He had been selected as Special Teams Player of the Week. ... Kendricks was the only Eagles player to miss Wednesday's practice. Rookie wide receiver Josh Huff (shoulder) and backup tackle Matt Tobin (ankle), who have been out since the start of the season, both returned to practice Wednesday.

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