Oh, sure, Carson Wentz is the second coming of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and whatever other Hall of Fame quarterback you want to insert here. Let's remember, however, that before the Wentz Wagon became more densely populated than the state of New Jersey, it was the defense that offered a sliver of hope for the Eagles' 2016 season.

Now, combined with the fantastic rise of the rookie quarterback, the defense has given us reason to believe that something special, perhaps even Super, is happening right before our eyes.

Here's what you might like best about that last statement: It was the players inside the home locker room at Lincoln Financial Field putting the brakes on that kind of talk even after they had demolished Ben Roethlisberger and the highly touted Pittsburgh Steelers, 34-3, to improve to 3-0 heading into the bye week.

"This was a start," defensive end Brandon Graham said after the Eagles shut down a Pittsburgh team that had averaged 31 points in its first two games. "It's early on, and everybody is still getting acclimated to the system, but I'm just happy we all stayed together as a team."

A team concept definitely applies to Jim Schwartz's defense. A total of 17 players showed up on the defensive stat sheet on a day when the Eagles sacked Roethlisberger four times.

"In addition to keeping everybody rested, it makes sure everybody is really hungry," defensive end Connor Barwin said. "When you're out there you better try to go make a play because, shoot, you might be coming out in three plays or four plays."

In addition to the four sacks, the Eagles also hit Roethlisberger eight other times and had two more takeaways, giving them six for the season. Thanks to another turnover-free performance by Wentz and the offense, the Eagles are at plus-six in that vital department after three games. Only Sam Bradford and Minnesota have a better ratio at plus-eight.

The Eagles also held the Steelers to 29 yards rushing on 10 carries after Pittsburgh had averaged 135.5 yards in its previous two games against Washington and Cincinnati.

"We made them one dimensional," middle linebacker Jordan Hicks said. The front four are the stars of this defense, which barely blitzed but still spent the afternoon relentlessly harassing Roethlisberger. Fletcher Cox got paid this offseason, and it appears as if he has also gotten better in Schwartz's 4-3 scheme. He had two sacks, two quarterback hits, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

"We know coach Schwartz is not going to blitz," Cox said. "We know he likes to rush up. We have to have four, really eight guys, that are ready to rush."

Bennie Logan, Cox's neighbor on the D line, was also a beast, registering a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss. He also blocked a field goal on Pittsburgh's first possession to set the tone for the afternoon.

In addition to a fumble recovery, which led to the Eagles' last touchdown, Graham contributed a sack, a quarterback hit and a tackle for a loss.

Hicks and fellow linebackers Nigel Bradham and Stephen Tulloch made huge plays early, and safety Malcolm Jenkins was strong against the pass and the run in what has become a typical performance for the leader of the defense.

"We got a really good front four and a lot of guys who love to compete in the back end," Jenkins said. "We have a lot of hungry guys with a chip on their shoulder that are not afraid to take on a challenge."

Rookie Jalen Mills had the greatest challenge Sunday, and he struggled at times to cover Steelers star Antonio Brown. But he is not alone on that cornerback island.

Constant rotation along the defensive line and at linebacker, combined with an offense that has dominated time of possession in the first three weeks, has left all Eagles defenders fresh and ready to attack.

"I know we're feeding off that offense," Barwin said. "Carson is playing great. They're running the ball. They're passing the ball. It seems like he's getting everybody involved, and they're really controlling the clock. We were like in the third quarter, and it felt like we had played 30 snaps."

And in the fourth quarter the Eagles were not just protecting a huge lead. They were playing to prove that they are an elite defense.

"The good sign was really we never let up the whole game," Barwin said. "I've been in a lot of games where you get up, 21-3, and it's the third quarter, and everybody is feeling good, and you turn around it's the fourth quarter with five minutes left, and you're like, 'Oh, we have to get a stop on defense.' But we stayed on them the whole time.

"I don't know why necessarily. I think we all stayed focused, and we were really excited about the challenge. And then when it got to be 34-3, it was not about winning or losing. It was about how good can we be on defense? Can we keep this offense at three points?"

That's what they did, and now we are all starting to believe that this Eagles defense, just like its rookie quarterback, could be something special.

@brookob