All the talk leading up to Sunday's Eagles-Vikings game centered around one common theme: the "trap game" angle. The counter response to that angle was the fact that Chip Kelly "doesn't do trap games." Clearly this wasn't the case in the Eagles' 48-30 loss to the Vikings. The Eagles suffered a complete letdown in Minnesota.
It was a failure in all phases. The offense played well enough overall but probably could have been better. The defense didn't do their job at all, having surrendered 48 points. Special teams was a net negative. Chip Kelly didn't call a great game and his decision making was suspect at times.
The truth is the that Vikings are playing better than their 4-9-1 indicates they are. They've been in a number of close games and they have been playing their best football of the year in recent weeks. Minnesota definitely deserves credit for playing well.
At the same time, this match-up was totally a winnable game for the Eagles. The Vikings were decimated with injuries including some to their most significant players. Philly has been good on the road. The Eagles came into the game as six point favorites for a reason.
If there's any positives to be taken out of this result, it's how the team responds to the adversity moving forward. It's silly to suggest that a loss is a good thing, but perhaps this defeat will serve as a wake-up call. The Eagles have played a lot of good football lately. A five game winning streak isn't the easiest thing to pull off. It wasn't fluky. The Eagles' defense had put nine straight week together of holding their opponent to 21 points or less. That wasn't an accident.
Perhaps one problem was that the Eagles started to buy into their success a little too much.. Maybe they started to think they were better than they really are. This is more of an anecdotal observation than it is a quantifiable statement, but it's a valid theory as to why the Eagles' struggles came on so sudden.
This loss is a splash of cold water on the collective face of the team. It's a reality check. A wake-up call. In recent weeks, the Eagles proved they can play well. Some of the success they generated is sustainable and replicable.. But what Sunday's loss proved is that the Eagles still have a long way to go. They are still a team that lacks talent in key areas, among other issues. They are still a team in transition and only a year removed from a poor 4-12 record.
Fortunately for Philadelphia, the Cowboys also lost on Sunday. The Packers' 37-36 victory over Dallas takes some of the sting out of the Eagles' loss. The Eagles are very much alive in the playoff race but they still have many things to work on. It's up to them to learn from the mistakes in their loss to the Vikings and correct these mistakes as the team prepares to face their next opponent: the Chicago Bears.