This was more like the version of the Eagles that was expected in the season opener in Detroit. It arrived a week later, but the Eagles got a strong glimpse of what they could be in a 24-7 demolition of the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Again, Jalen Hurts excelled.
He completed 26 of 31 for 333 yards and a touchdown, scoring twice on the ground, while directing the Eagles’ offense for 486 yards of total offense.
For as well as Hurts looked on offense, Darius Slay was just as incomparable on defense. The veteran cornerback completely shut down the Vikings’ stellar Justin Jefferson, shutting him out the five times Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins targeted him, breaking up three passes and intercepting two passes in the red zone.
There was a lot of good, sprinkled with some bad and a touch of ugly in the Eagles’ 24-7 victory over the Vikings.
Jalen Hurts was everything the Eagles want him to be. He converted 2-of-2 third downs. He completed five-of-five for 63 yards and finished the drive with a three-yard TD run, averting two Vikings’ defenders to reach the end zone. Hurts started the game completing his first 11. Hurts was amazing in the first half, completing 17 of 20 for 251 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for an additional 50 yards on seven carries for two touchdowns. Hurts had 301 yards himself over the first two quarters.
Cornerback Darius Slay batting down a Kirk Cousins’ pass intended to Justin Jefferson on Minnesota’s first drive on third-and-five at the Vikings’ 30. Slay later intercepted a Cousins’ pass on Minnesota’s first drive of the second half. The five times Cousins targeted Jefferson with Slay on him, Slay prevailed, knocking away three passes and picking off two others—both in the red zone.
Cornerback James Bradberry swatting away a pass intended for tight end Irv Smith Jr. on the Vikings’ second drive on a third-and-five from the Minnesota 44. For the second time, the Eagles forced a potent Minnesota offense into a three-and-out.
The Eagles’ offense in the first quarter. It converted three of four first downs and piled up 125 yards of total offense, averaging 6.2 yards a play for a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles’ first quarter defense. It held a supposedly potent Vikings’ offense to 10 total yards and an average of 1.7 yards a play. That included three-and-outs on Minnesota’s first two drives. Minnesota did not get its initial first down until there was 13:25 left in the half, ironically on a Jalen Reagor 17-yard run.
Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards breaking up a pass from Cousins for Smith on a third-and-two at the Minnesota 34 with 5:00 left in the first half.
Tight end Dallas Goedert’s block down field on Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith on Hurts’ 26-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox’s interception at the Eagles’ 15 to thwart a Minnesota comeback with 2:19 left in the third. The Maddox pick was a nice answer to the Vikings’ blocked field goal attempt on the Eagles’ previous drive.
Eagles left guard Landon Dickerson getting called twice for being an ineligible player downfield on the Eagles’ first two drives. The first time came on a third-and-eight at the Minnesota 45, and could have jeopardized the first Eagles’ drive. Fortunately, Hurts would not allow that. On third-and-13 at midfield, he hit A.J. Brown for 13 yards and a first down. The second time, Dickerson put the second series at an early disadvantage getting flagged on the first play of the drive.
Right guard Isaac Seumalo was nailed for an ineligible player downfield penalty on the Eagles’ third drive.
Six of the Eagles’ eight penalties came on the offensive line.
Eagles linebacker Patrick Johnson getting caught inside on Cousins’ two-yard pass to Smith for the Vikings first touchdown with 9:39 left in the half.
What was Haason Reddick doing out in coverage on tight end Johnny Mundt on a first-and-10 at the Eagles’ 19? Wasn’t Reddick brought here to rush the quarterback? Mundt picked up 17 yards. Minnesota scored for the first time on the next play.
Noah Togiai completely missing Patrick Peterson coming wide on Jake Elliott’s 41-yard field goal attempt with 3:17 left in the third. The blocked field goal almost resulted in a TD, which would haven given the Vikings some momentum.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.