The Eagles had four sacks and two fumble recoveries at halftime. During those 30 minutes, they held Cleveland to three points and made the Browns look like a second-string unit going against starters - even though the Browns played their starters against an Eagles lineup mostly filled with reserves.
If nothing else, Friday was a testament to the Eagles' depth on defense. Of the four first-half sacks, only one came from a starting lineman. Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden was so close to the Eagles' pass rushers that he could have identified the hotel toothpaste. Brandon Graham led the team with 11/2 sacks, Darryl Tapp added another, and Phillip Hunt consistently pressured Weeden.
"It's great coming off the field and seeing someone else come on the field who you know is just as good a pass rusher, maybe even better pass rusher as you," Hunt said. "Not to mention we have guys on the inside pushing the pocket, making the quarterback sit back there. I think everybody's just contributing."
The most important sack of the night came from Derek Landri, because of what it caused and what it ended.
The Browns opened the game shredding the Eagles' defense, passing for gains of 30 and 28 yards on two of the first three plays. They recorded five first downs and brought the ball all the way to the 2-yard line.
After a holding penalty moved the Browns back 10 yards, Landri burst past the Browns' offensive line to pummel Weeden and knock the ball loose. Trent Cole recovered.
"It's like a domino effect with our D-line," Cole said. "You got to get somebody started."
The Eagles must do a better job avoiding penalties. Brian Rolle, who is trying to keep the starting weak-side linebacker job, was charged with offsides twice on the first drive. One of the penalties came on third and 1, when the Eagles needed to stop the Browns from gaining a first down.
The defense committed six penalties in the first half, one of which was declined. Four of the six were offsides. One was a personal foul, and another was an illegal substitution. The team finished with seven penalties, a decline from 16 last week.
"I thought we were a little more disciplined," Reid said. "There were still some things. We lined up in the neutral zone too many times. You can't do that. You're giving away 5 yards for two inches."
But the defense is judged for the totality of its effort and the scarcity of its opponent's points, and the Eagles could be pleased with both. Even more encouraging was that the performance came against many of the players the Eagles will face in the season opener in Cleveland.
The Browns might be bolstered by rookie first-round pick Trent Richardson on Sept. 9, but the other 10 starters were on the field Friday. It was against those players that the Eagles defense appeared the best it has all preseason.
"We still got a long ways to go," Rolle said, "but we're taking a step in the right direction."
Contact Zach Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.