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September 11, 2023

Jalen Carter is already living up to his massive hype

In his NFL debut, Jalen Carter recorded his first career sack in the biggest moment of the game in the Eagles' win over the Patriots.

FOXBORO, M.A. — Poor David Andrews.

The Patriots' 31-year-old center thought he was holding his own in pass protection against star rookie Jalen Carter. New England, after a series of mistakes from the Eagles' offense, was driving down the field with under a minute remaining for a chance to pull off an improbable win. 

Carter, who the Eagles traded up for in this past April's draft, however, kept chugging along against Andrews, moving his feet as the Birds' pass rush tried to collapse the pocket on Mac Jones. As Jones stepped up to throw, an arm reached out, grabbed him and began ripping the Pats' QB to the ground. It was Carter, who forced a third and long with New England eventually turning it over on downs. Eagles win. 

Carter recorded his first sack in his first ever NFL game during the biggest moment of the evening. It capped off a disruptive day for Carter, who capitalized on a suspect Patriots offensive line.

"It was the end of the game. That's the time you want to make a play when the score's like the other team is driving down the field to win. I just did my best rush," Carter said in the Eagles' locker room following the win.

Carter was breathing down Jones' neck the whole game. To finally break through in that high-leverage moment when the game is on the line says everything about both Carter's talent and his background as a true winner.

"I'm on the sidelines talking, 'I got close! I got close!'" Carter said about the times he narrowly missed his first sack during the course of the game.

Carter said he wasn't expecting to play as much as he did, playing 50 percent of the Eagles' defense snaps among a stout defensive tackle rotation that includes Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams. "Whenever [defensive coordinator Sean Desai] called me, I went out there to make a play," Carter said.

Among his other noteworthy plays was a time he threw Pats left guard Atonio Mafi around like a varsity captain scrimmaging against a JV o-lineman, forcing Jones out of the pocket and on his heels:

"I was trying different things. I was playing on both sides of the d-line, so just reading both the guards and seeing what they're doing, seeing what the slide is, getting it from the QB or the center and just working from there," Carter said about his performance. 

Speaking of Carter's championship pedigree, was there a little extra juice for him as the former Georgia Bulldog took down an Alabama QB?

"Oh, yeah. It's fun," Carter said. "I remember my freshman year, he beat us. I wanted to say it to him, but he probably don't even know me, so it's all good."

Well, if Jones wasn't aware of Carter before, he certainly knows him now. Much to the disappointment of opposing quarterbacks, the rest of the NFL will get acquainted with Carter pretty soon, too. 

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