- Associated Press - Saturday, October 18, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Whether it’s comeback wins, close wins or dominant wins, all the Philadelphia Eagles care about is the end result.

At 5-1, the defending NFC East champions have reason to enjoy their bye week.

“I don’t have anything to explain to anybody,” coach Chip Kelly said when asked to explain the team’s success despite some shortcomings. “We don’t go in after a game and say, ‘OK, let’s tell everybody the reason why. It’s that we’re 5-1. That’s it. Doesn’t matter. Your record is what it is. You look at the standings and that’s your record.”

The Eagles didn’t earn many style points for winning until a 27-0 victory over the Giants last Sunday. They started by rallying from double-digit deficits to beat Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Washington, becoming the first team in NFL history to do so the first three weeks of a season.

Then they blew an 11-point lead in a loss at San Francisco in which the special teams and defense combined for 21 points and the offense couldn’t score from the 1 to win the game at the end.

The Eagles were on their way to finally playing a solid, all-around game when they built a 27-point lead against St. Louis, only to end up needing a defensive stand to secure the win.

So it was a surprise to many football observers when Philadelphia thoroughly dominated New York (3-3) in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams - from start to finish en route to its first shutout in 18 years.

“Guys at the facility understand how we work, we work tremendously hard,” cornerback Cary Williams said. “When people criticize us, we don’t really care, or place the blame, it’s all the same. All we want to do is get better each and every week, and (that) was a great way to kick off the bye week.”

The Eagles need more consistency on offense to have a chance at making a deep playoff run. Nick Foles hasn’t played mistake-free football the way he did during his breakout year in 2013. Nobody expected Foles to throw 29 touchdowns and only two interceptions again. But he is tied for the NFL lead with 10 turnovers (seven picks, three fumbles).

Part of the problem has been a makeshift offensive line missing All-Pro guard Evan Mathis and center Jason Kelce. Both players are hoping to return Nov. 10. Foles has been sacked only twice in the past five games, but he’s rushed some of his passes, thrown off his back foot and looked a bit uncomfortable in the pocket.

“We still have a lot of season left to go and I still have a lot of things to improve on, which excites me,” Foles said. “It will be great to have the bye this week to get healthy, get some rest, recoup and get ready to go.”

Another issue on offense was the running game until LeSean McCoy broke loose for 149 yards against the Giants. The All-Pro back entered the game averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. But now he has 233 yards in two games since right tackle Lane Johnson returned from suspension.

“For people to kind of criticize me and the running game, I mean we were 4-1 coming into the game and now we are 5-1,” McCoy said. “I never lost confidence in myself or the guys up front; you guys did or the people out there did. So I don’t mind, I have thick skin. I am here to play ball. The thing that really blows me away is that if we weren’t that good as a running team, then why does every team come here and stack the box, if we’re not that good?”

On the opposite, the defense has improved steadily since last year. A strong pass rush - 18 sacks in the past three games, including eight vs. the Giants - has been a major help. Safety Malcolm Jenkins has significantly upgraded the secondary and linebackers Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole have elevated their performance to make up for missing injured linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

“I think that’s what we’re capable of doing,” Barwin said of the shutout, which featured his three-sack performance. “We need to keep improving and we’ve done that within the first five weeks and that was our best full game of football on the defensive side.”

The Eagles could fall to second place by the time they return to practice on Tuesday. The Cowboys (5-1) will move ahead of them with a victory over the Giants this week. The division title came down to the final game last year when Philadelphia beat Dallas on the road. The teams meet twice in three weeks, starting with a game on Thanksgiving Day.

But that’s down the line. The focus now is on Arizona (4-1). The Cardinals enter the weekend ahead of the 49ers (4-2) and Super Bowl champion Seattle (3-2) in a tough NFC West.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi

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