The Eagles are 2-0 after thoroughly beating the Vikings. Time to hand out some winners, losers, and IDKs.
I DON’T KNOWS
Undefeated. Watch out, 1972 Dolphins.
Can’t possibly say enough good things about Hurts’ performance on Monday night. His Week 1 outing wasn’t bad by any means but it left me wanting to see more. To his credit, Hurts delivered in a way that greatly exceeded expectations.
His final stat line: 26/31 (83.9% completion), 333 yards (10.7 average), 1 TD, 1 INT (not his fault as a ball that bounced off Kenneth Gainwell’s hands), 108.7 passer rating. 11 carries for 57 yards and 2 rush TD. So, 390 yards of offense and 21 points.
Speaking after the game, Nick Sirianni said Hurts was in “complete control.” It’s impossible to argue otherwise.
Hurts did it all.
As a passer, he was incredibly poised. He knew exactly where to go with the ball and got it there time and time again with breathtaking accuracy. He worked all levels of the field and was especially good on throws over the middle, a previous weakness for him. There really isn’t much more you could’ve asked from him. Even his incompletions were good! Case in point:
Goedert couldn’t hang on but insane throw to drop that in around three defenders. pic.twitter.com/0SCiJ4QwhM— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) September 21, 2022
Hurts also made a real impressive throw rolling to his left to hit Quez Watkins along the sideline, only to be wiped out by a holding penalty.
As a runner, Hurts picked his spots well as opposed to relying on his legs too often. His 26-yard touchdown scramble on 3rd-and-2 was incredibly impressive. He easily could’ve ran out of bounds but he saw a weakness and attacked it, fighting through contact and extending the ball over the goal line for the score.
Hurts left no doubt on Monday night. He looked like a franchise quarterback that the Eagles would be more than happy to sign to a long-term contract extension as soon as after this season.
More than that, though, he looked like a freaking NFL MVP candidate out there. THIS was a needle-moving performance that raises the Eagles’ ceiling to being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Pretty exciting stuff!
Jalen Hurts on 3rd down against Vikings— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 20, 2022
5/5 passing for 52 yards, 3 first downs
5 runs for 50 yards, 2 first downs, 1 TD
1 sack taken#Eagles
Jalen Hurts is just the 7th QB to have at least 300 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, 1 passing touchdown, and 2 rushing touchdowns in a game— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 20, 2022
Jalen Hurts did it with 83% completion percentage pic.twitter.com/D8adAsUAGE
NFL leaders in EPA per dropback entering Week 3:— Austin Gayle (@austingayle_) September 20, 2022
1. Josh Allen (0.45)
2. Patrick Mahomes (0.42)
3. Jalen Hurts (0.38)
Hurts, Don’t It? #FlyEaglesFly— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) September 20, 2022
Slay went up against arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver ... and absolutely clamped him.
Jefferson was targeted 12 times and only had six receptions for 48 yards (long of 11). 8.0 yards per reception for Jefferson is the second-lowest mark of his career. The only game that went worse for him was when he was at 7.7 in Week 5 of his rookie season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Slay was targeted eight times and was responsible for just two receptions that went for 19 yards. Slay logged two picks and he could’ve had at least one or two more with better hands.
Slay being able to erase a top receiver like this is kind of a big deal.
A Dawg with it @bigplay24slay— Devin Washington (@fitnesskingWash) September 20, 2022
Football IQ & Technique on another LEVEL pic.twitter.com/QrH4CSELcn
Darius Slay had more interceptions (2) than receptions allowed (1) as the nearest defender on 5 targets to Justin Jefferson.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 20, 2022
The Vikings lost -11.9 EPA on the 5 targets, the most in any WR-CB matchup in a game over the last 6 seasons (min. 5 targets).#MINvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/xApKRStxg5
Are we sure Gannon didn’t return to Minnesota’s coaching staff to coordinate the Vikings’ defense in this game?! Because the numbers that Hurts put up look similar to the performances that Gannon’s defense has previously allowed.
Jokes aside, for the first time since being hired by the Eagles, Gannon did not get shredded by a non-awful quarterback! While it might not erase all doubt about him, this was a step in the right direction.
Gannon got more aggressive against the Vikings and, hey, what do you know? It worked better than passively sitting back all too often!
Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon blitzed Kirk Cousins 10 times, up from 6 last week.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 20, 2022
Cousins faced pressure on 22 percent of his dropbacks, 8th highest in Week 2.
NICK SIRIANNI/SHANE STEICHEN
Lumping the head coach and offensive coordinator together here. They oversaw an efficient performance that featured the highest passing yardage total in a win (so, not boosted by garbage time production) during their Eagles tenure. Among the highlights, Quez Watkins was schemed wide open for a touchdown.
It’s fair to wonder if the offense was a little too conservative in the second half with the Eagles scoring zero points on their final four drives. The good obviously outweighed the bad, though.
Goedert led the Eagles in receiving by catching five of his six targets for 82 yards. He’s currently at 17.8 yards per reception this season, which ranks 15 among all NFL players. He’s second at tight end only to Ian Thomas, who’s at 22.0 on only three catches whereas Goedert has eight. Goedert’s a very efficient target.
In addition to his pass-catching prowess, Goedert put in work as a blocker. He straight up bullied All-Pro safety Harrison Smith to pave the way for Hurts’ 26-yard rushing touchdown.
It was very unsurprising when DeVonta saw the first target of the game. The Eagles knew they had to get him more involved following a zero catch performance in Week 1. Smith caught all seven of his targets for 80 yards. He was a reliable chain-mover in the middle of field, picking up five first downs. No one should have been seriously worried about DeVonta after last week ... but it was still nice to see him being involved.
It was also nice to see Quez get involved after he didn’t even see a target in Week 1. Watkins’ touchdown was obviously aided by the Vikings blowing a coverage. Two for 69 and a score is a nice day at the office when you’re not a top three target on the team, though. This is Watkins’ role. He’s not going to see volume as much as he’s going to have opportunities to make a big play or two.
Though a quieter game than his 155-yard performance from Week 1, Brown had a nice game with five catches for 69 yards. He logged two first down receptions. His presence also undoubtedly opened up opportunities for his fellow pass-catchers.
Unless something has gone wrong, he’s not going to be a volume producer. But Pascal is quietly a high-leverage contributor. He had a big third down conversion in Detroit last week and he had another conversion on the Eagles’ first drive in this game. Pascal is a nice complementary player to have. The threat he provides in these situations means that defenses can’t merely key in on the bigger stars.
Edwards was very active and the box score reflects as much with a team-high 10 tackles (seven solo), one tackle for loss, one pass deflection (to force a punt), and one quarterback hit. The Eagles’ top linebacker had a good game.
Maddox logged the fourth interception of his career and his first since October 2021. The pick came at a key time considering the Vikings had just blocked a field goal they returned to the Eagles’ 30-yard line. Maddox prevented Minny from likely at least making it a two possession game late in the third quarter.
Sweat generated a team-high four hurries. He also logged three TFLs. Sweat capped off the game by sacking Cousins on the final play.
Cox’s strip-sack turned a 3rd-and-10 into a 4th-and-22. It’s good to see Cox visibly impacting the quarterback more than he has in some time. Cox already had 1.5 sacks this season, which is two shy of last year’s total. Cox didn’t get over the 1.5 sack mark last season until late December.
As you might be able to tell, I’m feeling generous with the winners this week. And why not after that kind of feel good performance? But while Slay stole the spotlight, Bradberry was quietly good. Cousins had a 65.4 passer rating when targeting Bradberry, per PFF.
I thought he missed a couple of opportunities to break tackles as a pass-catcher. And one such moment in part because he bobbled a catch instead of making it cleanly.
As a runner, though, he had 17 carries for 80 yards (4.7) average. Under-the-radar performance with all the focus on Hurts and the passing options.
Siposs chasing down Kris Boyd to prevent a touchdown on the Eagles’ blocked field goal ended up saving seven points. I can’t imagine every punter is able to make that tackle.
I’m feeling stuffed from all the crow Roseman has made me eat for doubting him. Kudos to the Eagles’ general manager for building another contender.
Cannot imagine having to root for him as your favorite team’s starting quarterback. He is not the worst QB in the NFL ... but he is the worst QB to have. He truly is the quintessential quarterback purgatory quarterback.
I legitimately wanted to switch my game prediction from a Vikings win to an Eagles win after I saw this prior to kickoff:
#PerSource, if the Vikings win, do not miss Justin Jefferson at the postgame press conference tonight.— Kyle Brandt (@KyleBrandt) September 19, 2022
Between this and his comments about being glad the Eagles didn’t draft him, the vibes were not working in his favor. Jefferson ended up writing checks he couldn’t cash.
So much for getting “revenge” on his former team.
Slay had more catches (2 to 1) and yards related to a catch (19 to 7) in this game than Reagor did.
The Eagles getting a 2023 seventh-round pick and a 2024 fifth-round pick (that can potentially become a fourth) from the Vikings in the Reagor trade was a heist.
For all of the good things the Eagles have going on, this an obvious area where they need to improve. The Birds (18) are the second-most penalized NFL team through two weeks, only behind the Denver Broncos (25).
The Eagles had four penalties on their first four drives against the Vikings. They keep getting called for having an offensive lineman too far down the field. While the refs might be officiating that call a bit too strictly, it’s up to the Eagles to do more on their end to make sure they’re not shooting themselves in the foot.
The Eagles had a field goal blocked.
The Vikings also clearly weren’t afraid of the Eagles’ kick return game given their use of mortar kicks. Quez Watkins had two returns for 13 yards. Though not entirely his fault, I still fail to see how he’s their best option back there. Britain Covey should get a look in that capacity. Of course, it’s not like Covey lit it up as a punt returner this week.
I DON’T KNOWS (FOR REAL THIS TIME)
CJGJ graded out as the Eagles’ worst defender by PFF last week. He graded out as their second-worst defender (only above Patrick Johnson) this week.
After missing multiple tackles in Detroit, CJGJ only had one this time around. So, progress?
CJGJ appeared to be guilty for allowing what should’ve been a deep touchdown to Irv Smith Jr. if the tight end hadn’t dropped the pass. If that mistake isn’t made, the Vikings have 14 points at halftime.
Again, CJGJ deserves some level of patience for adjusting to a new position on short notice. Opposing teams will not be as forgiving and could look to target him.
The Eagles will be hoping to see improvement as the season goes on.