If the Eagles were able to hold on to beat the Cowboys on Saturday, one of the biggest storylines coming out of that game would have been Josh Sweat’s incredible performance.
Instead, we waited a few days to get to it.
But that doesn’t make what Sweat did on Christmas Eve any less impressive.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Philadelphia sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
The Eagles’ 25-year-old defensive end had 3 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 1 TFL, 1 pass breakup and a 42-yard pick-6 in the Eagles’ 40-34 loss at AT&T Stadium.
He passed the double digit sack barrier for the first time in his career.
“Yeah, it means a lot. I wanted to win,” Sweat said after the game. “I wanted to get that Player of the Week. It does mean a lot. My guys here, they helped me get there. Grave (Javon Hargrave), Fletch (Cox), Haas (Reddick), BG (Brandon Graham). Rushing with these guys makes it a lot easier. They earned it just as much as I did.”
Sweat is probably right. Had the Eagles won the game, he would have had an extremely strong case to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Because not only did he have that pick-6 in the first half, but his sack in the fourth quarter came right after a sack from Reddick and it set up that fateful 3rd-and-30. The Cowboys were able to convert on that play but it obviously shouldn’t have happened and Sweat helped set it up.
“Yeah,” Sweat said. “We felt like we couldn’t be stopped at that point. … It is what it is. We have to move on.”
Sweat’s 42-yard interception return in the first quarter put the Eagles up 10-0. It was the first pick of Sweat’s NFL career and his first since his freshman year at Florida State. Sweat became the first Eagles’ DL with a pick-6 since Juqua Parker in 2008. And Sweat is the only DL in the league with one this year.
On the play, Sweat showed off the kind of athleticism you don’t often see at the defensive end position.
“I just noticed the tight end kind of let me go and then got out. I just stopped pursuing,” Sweat said. “Next thing you know, he threw that s— right where I was at so I just took it. I was tired as hell. When I caught it, I was already tired. I couldn’t even get my legs up. I was like let me go ahead and score this. I was not finna let Dak (Prescott) tackle me though. No sir.”
Through 15 games, Sweat is having a career season. He has 11 sacks, 23 QB hits and 15 tackles for loss. Sweat made the Pro Bowl roster last year but this is clearly the best season of his career so far. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.
And he’s been on fire recently. After just 2 1/2 sacks through the first 8 games this season, Sweat has 8 1/2 in the last seven. And he has a sack in five straight games, the longest streak for any Eagle since Parker in 2009-10. It’s the longest Eagles streak in the same season since Darwin Walker in 2002.
Sweat’s five-game sack streak is the longest active streak in the NFL and it’s tied for the second-longest this season. Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Nick Bosa had a sack in six straight games, a streak that ended earlier this month.
Sweat has more sacks in his last seven games than he did in the entirety of his Pro Bowl season in 2021.
The Eagles lost a crushing game to the Cowboys on Saturday, but Sweat certainly did his part. And he appears to be playing the best football of his career with the playoffs just around the corner.
“It came down to the wire. It was a bummer,” Sweat said after the loss. “It is what it is. Just gotta be on the same page every third down, really every play. We’re going to bounce back.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast