The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 after defeating the Minnesota Vikings in a front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. Final score: 24 to 7.
Entering the 2022 season, Jalen Hurts and Jonathan Gannon were viewed as the Eagles’ biggest question marks.
On Monday night, they were exclamation points.
Hurts’ improvement is the biggest story to emerge from this game. He was sensational out there. The third-year quarterback made a number of high level throws into tight windows. He threw with great accuracy and touch. He made great decisions and looked in total out there. It was the most impressive passing performance of his career. Oh, and he pretty awesome as a runner again as well. At the very least, this was a franchise quarterback performance. If he continues to play at this level, the Eagles might just have the NFL MVP under center.
Gannon’s defense wasn’t perfect; one can find things to quibble about (see: Haason Reddick dropping into coverage to set up a Vikings touchdown). On the whole, though, there was obviously much more good than bad. After previously getting absolutely destroyed by any kind of competent quarterback, Gannon had answers for Cousins. The Eagles limited Minnesota to just seven points and came away with multiple turnovers. JG was under pressure to perform and he found some redemption.
All told, this was a big win by the Eagles. They move to 2-0 with two wins against NFC opponents.
They’re undefeated entering another big game in Week 3: a road matchup against the Washington Commanders.
The Eagles’ first game against Carson Wentz since trading the guy that Hurts replaced.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage.
- The Eagles targeted DeVonta Smith on the very first play, which went for a five-yard reception. Who could’ve guessed the Birds would try to get him a touch early? Jalen Hurts rolled right and found an open Dallas Goedert for a first down. Miles Sanders’ first carry went for 12 yards. Hurts got tackled for no gain to bring up a 3rd-and-9. On third down, Hurts found Kenneth Gainwell short for a catch-and-run to move the chains ... but the big play was wiped out by Landon Dickerson illegally being downfield by quite a bit. On 3rd-and-13, Hurts stood in the pocket with good protection and threw a strike to A.J. Brown for a first down. Nice throw! Hurts found Zach Pascal short to convert a 3rd-and-3. Pascal also had a third down conversion in Detroit last week; he’s a factor in those situations. Two plays later, Hurts powered through contact to punch it in for a touchdown. Strong opening drive. Weird sequence on the Eagles’ extra point where they had to redo the extra point because “Vikings attendants” were on the field. How wasn’t that a penalty, then? The Vikings DID then get penalized for being offside ... but the Eagles declined the flag instead of trying to go for two points from the 1-yard line. EAGLES 7, VIKINGS 0.
That’s a beautiful pass by Hurts pic.twitter.com/eXFO6hY3kl— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 20, 2022
- The Vikings’ first drive was a three-and-out with Darius Slay knocking down a Kirk Cousins pass intended for Justin Jefferson. Jefferson wanted a pass interference call but the refs didn’t give it to him. Slay did quickly grab Jefferson’s hand ... but the refs aren’t always going to call that. Nick Sirianni was fired up and ran down to celebrate with the defense after the stop.
- Offensive pass interference on DeVonta turned a 3rd-and-2 into a 3rd-and-12. Hurts was then sacked from behind after holding on to the ball to force a punt. Jalen Reagor drew boos as he lined up to return the Eagles’ first punt ... and then drew cheers after he was tackled by Zech McPhearson for a gain of only one yard.
- The Vikings got to 3rd-and-5 and James Bradberry knocked down the third down throw to Irv Smith. Strong start for Jonathan Gannon’s defense.
- The Eagles got called for their fourth offensive penalty on their third drive. It was their third ineligible man downfield with Isaac Seumalo called as the culprit.
- Hurts threw deep to a wide open Quez Watkins, who was freed up with a Vikings safety incorrectly helping out with Goedert instead of staying with the speedy wide receiver. EAGLES 14, VIKINGS 0.
A look at the busted coverage that led to Quez Watkins' long TD. pic.twitter.com/zzsA4ZGCvW— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 20, 2022
- Jalen Reagor jet sweep on 3rd-and-1 for a 17-yard gain ... and boos from the crowd at the Linc. The Vikings drove into the red zone and Haason Reddick, who dropped into coverage against backup tight end Johnny Mundt, allowed a 17-yard reception to set up 1st-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Cousins then hit Irv Smith with a short pass for the score. Reddick in coverage sure feels like a waste. EAGLES 14, VIKINGS 7.
If you have Haason Reddick lined up over someone in the slot you might be a… nah, nevermind pic.twitter.com/gotysdolKS— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 20, 2022
- The Eagles got to 3rd-and-12 and Hurts ran out of bounds short of the marker but they were helped by a Vikings illegal contact penalty for a fresh set of downs. Hurts’ first incompletion came on a play where Goedert was tightly covered and nearly made a catch but Cameron Dantlzer knocked the ball out before the tight end established possession. Just a great defensive play to break up a good throw in a tight window. Hurts’ third down pass was completed short of the sticks to force a punt. Second offensive drive of the night without points.
That is the prettiest pass Hurts has ever thrown. Brutal drop by Goedert. pic.twitter.com/hzP5edgIzp— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 20, 2022
- T.J. Edwards knocked down a Cousins third down pass over the middle to force another three-and-out.
- Hurts hit DeVonta over the middle on on back-to-back plays for gains of 19 and 16 yards. Then Boston Scott took a draw for 16 yards. Then Sanders took a draw for nine yards. Facing 3rd-and-2, Hurts took off running ... but not just for the first down. Instead of going out, he followed good lead blocking by Goedert on Harrison Smith and then powered through contact to extend for a touchdown. Pretty impressive stuff! EAGLES 21, VIKINGS 7.
- Josh Sweat sacked Cousins ... but grabbed his facemask to wipe out the sack. Womp. Cousins was nearly strip-sacked on a deep throw that looked to be affected by pressure ... but it was almost completed deep to Irv Smith ... who instead dropped what might’ve been a touchdown. What a break. Especially for C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Cousins’ third down pass was incomplete to bring up yet another stop. Weird how it wasn’t intentional grounding when no one was even close to the ball. The refs said Dalvin Cook was in the area but ... he wasn’t. At all.
This is a drop pic.twitter.com/DhzLZ6sFJt— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 20, 2022
You show me a receiver in the area. They don't exist. pic.twitter.com/pHt0SR2ZGs— Brian Coulter (@PhilaBCoulter) September 20, 2022
- The Eagles took over at their own 5-yard line with 1:14 left in the second quarter. Hurts threw the ball with nice touch to a soft spot to find DeVonta for a first down. Hurts hit Goedert for a 19-yard catch-and-run along the left sideline. Not sure why the Vikings left him so open. Hurts put great touch on another pass to Goedert over the middle, another high level throw. That completion set up a 38-yard field goal make from Jake Elliott. Huge to be able to get some points on that drive and make it a three possession game. Hard to be more impressed with Hurts! EAGLES 24, VIKINGS 7.
Stands tall in the pocket and delivers a beautiful throw over the middle of the field to get into FG range. So impressed by Hurts tonight. pic.twitter.com/WoheBiPAQQ— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 20, 2022
- The Vikings opened the second half by methodically driving into the red zone. But then Javon Hargrave hit Cousins as he threw to force a bad throw that was intercepted by Darius Slay! After the pick, Slay celebrated by running over to the field seats and handing the ball to James Harden. Philadelphia fan fiction come to life.
- The Eagles took over at their own 19-yard line and drove to 3rd-and-5 from the Vikings’ 21-yard line. A false start on Lane Johnson knocked the Eagles back. The Eagles settled for a 41-yard field goal attempt ... which was blocked. Credit to Arryn Siposs for making a tackle to prevent a touchdown.
That is exactly what you can’t let happen when you have all the momentum. Eagles awful special teams strikes again. pic.twitter.com/zHDio4G95y— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 20, 2022
- The Vikings took over at the Eagles’ 24-yard line. And it didn’t matter because Cousins threw another pick, this one to Avonte Maddox.
Eagles fans breaking out the SKOL here in Philly. pic.twitter.com/Zw8MuwSoGw— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 20, 2022
- Hurts made a nice throw while rolling left to hit Watkins along the sideline for a chunk gain. Unfortunately for him, it was wiped out by a holding penalty on Jordan Mailata. The Eagles ended up having to punt.
- The Vikings went on an 11-play, 27-yard drive (how sad) that ended in a punt after a Fletcher Cox strip-sack.
- Hurts threw a screen pass to Gainwell that bounced off his hands and was picked by ... old friend Jordan Hicks.
- Slay dropped a pick in the end zone. It was like the third or fourth dropped pick of the night for him. Then Slay caught the next one that went his way for a touchback. Game.
- The Eagles ran some clock and then the Vikings had some garbage time production before the game officially ended. Josh Sweat sacked Cousins on the final play of the game.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES 24, VIKINGS 7.
- Quez Watkins was back to take kickoffs.
- A.J. Brown briefly got looked at in the medical tent midway through the second quarter. He didn’t miss any time, though.
The Birds are coming off a win against the Detroit Lions that wasn’t as convincing as many hoped it would be. While there were a number of positives to take away from that game, concerns remain about Philadelphia’s defense. Can Jonathan Gannon find a way to hold up against a quarterback who isn’t totally terrible? Kirk Cousins has proved troublesome for the Birds in the past and it’s currently hard to give Philly’s defensive coordinator the benefit of the doubt.
The Vikings are looking to follow up a big win over the Green Bay Packers with another strong effort. Minnesota’s defense limited the damage that Aaron Rodgers could do in Week 1. There could be pressure on the Eagles’ offense to put up a lot of points should Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook prove as challenging as they appear.
The winner of this game will be feeling pretty good. They’ll have a 2-0 record and a claim as one of the very best teams in the NFC. The loser might be thinking they’re good but not quite good enough.
Bleeding Green Nation will be covering this game with live updates in the form of highlights, analysis, etc. Make sure to follow along and refresh the page often.
(NOTE: This is NOT a game thread; it’s a live blog that will turn into a game recap. Use BGN’s designated game threads for each quarter to discuss in-game happenings there. The first quarter thread is HERE.)