Checking in late here as I just returned from Smith Island, where we have no internet but we do have digital airwave TV—whereby I was able to watch the Fox broadcast of the Vikings-Eagles game in its entirety. A few adjectives I have for the performance by the Birds can be printed here, among them grim, disjointed, and wacky.
There were a few shining moments in all three phases, but enough gaffes also to make me numb to the eventual outcome. The Eagles got some late catch-up offense with no timeouts remaining, or the score would have looked as lopsided as the game really was.
I’ll do the game summary and the stats and update the injuries as an add-on to this blurg later, for now I’ve got three more hours on the road to travel yet before I get to my next computer.
Just some quick impressions of the game which I watched in total sobriety:
-Kirk Cousins was very, very good at his job yesterday;
-Is Coach Marty calling our offense? We were awful a lot on 3rd-and-reasonable…
-We can’t cover Thielen, who runs a 4.4. What are we gonna do against guys even faster?
-Linval Joseph beat Lane Johnson causing a strip-sack fumble and a defensive score…Is it just me or is Lane Johnson off his game so far this season?
-False start penalties and illegal formations have gotten to the ridiculous stage with the Eagles offense;
-Horrible call went against innocent Michael Bennett on a roughing the passer penalty in the 1st half; that was a 3-to-10 point swing right there;
-Jay Ajayi’s fumble at the Vikings 5 to start the second half was a back-breaker (no pun)…coming away with no points there basically ended up costing us the game.
-Carson Wentz was getting crushed again by leaky protection…this can’t go on much longer. Big V and Sir Isaac tried their best to fill in on the left side of the line, but everything together just wore down.
-Our guys actually made a game of it trailing 20-14 with 12:05 left in the fourth. Nigel Bradham pounced on a fumbled lateral (backwards pass) by Cousins. But penalties and ineptitude ended that threat and the Birds had to punt once again. Starting at their own 11 with 9:11 to play, the Vikings used short passes to elude pressure and move the ball into Eagles territory and eventually increased their lead to 23-14 thanks to Bailey 52-yard field goal with 2:47 to play. For all intents, that was the game.
-Horrible waste of timeouts by the Eagles in the 2nd half… Play clock running down, 12 men on the field, really dumb challenge of an in-bounds pass completion made by Doug…They really could have used those TO’s to extend the game in the final 4 minutes.
-Disturbing confusion on defense at times for the Eagles…tackling was once again infected with whiffs, too. I must admit, though, those Vikings receivers and RBs looked very difficult to bring down in the open field. They as a group are fast and much quicker than I remember. That may be because Cousins is throwing to them this year, and he has the knack of hitting guys in full stride. He is clearly an upgrade over Case Keenum.
We take a 2-3 record into a divisional match with the Giants this coming Thursday night.
I shall return with the numbers.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
And now the not so lovely totals…
First off, the injury report— Jay Ajayi is done for the season. Somewhere in the fray Ajayi tore up an ACL. This is bad news not only for Jay who was in his “contract” year, but also for the team which is now desperate for a multi-purpose quality running back.
Meanwhile, HC Doug Pederson took the blame for the loss to the Vikings.
“I just told them basically I was going to walk into this room and take it for the team,” Pederson said after the Eagles spent an entire afternoon chasing the Minnesota Vikings before being saddled with a 23-21 loss that left them with with a 2-3 record after five games. “The way we’ve been playing and performing, it starts with me. I want to make sure the guys understand we can’t do these things. We can’t self-inflict and expect to win. Championship teams don’t do those things.”
The Eagles know there is nothing remotely super or even particularly impressive about them right now. Tommy Lawlor calls them a “broken machine”. They came into the Vikings game tied for the third-most penalties in the NFL, and they were flagged eight more times for 52 yards, including a deadly fourth-quarter illegal-formation penalty on first down right at a point when all the momentum was in their favor.
“Little things like that end up stalling drives and killing drives,” center Jason Kelce said. “That’s hard to overcome. The red zone, with turnovers and penalties, is what has killed us all season long. We keep leaving points off the board.”
“You look back to two years ago when we had a 7-9 season, we made mistakes at the end of games and it ended up costing us wins,” Kelce said. “Last year we played smart football, we played as a unit, we were in sync, and we won football games. I really do think it’s as simple as that as a correction line.”
“I think the level of execution last year was just higher than it is right now,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We can’t keep saying that we’re going to turn on the switch like last year. It’s a different team, a different locker room, different players.”
Kirk Cousins threw for 301 yards and one touchdown, Linval Joseph returned a fumble 64 yards for a score and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-21 Sunday in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.
Trying to rally from a 17-point deficit midway through the third quarter, the Eagles were set up to take the lead after Roc Thomas dropped a backward pass and Nigel Bradham recovered the fumble at the Vikings 30 in the fourth quarter. But Wentz was called for intentional grounding and coach Doug Pederson elected not to let Jake Elliott try a 58-yarder.
Dan Bailey, who missed two field goals earlier, nailed a 52-yard field goal to extend the lead to 23-14 with 2:47 left.
The Vikings (2-2-1) got an excellent performance from Cousins, who completed 30 of 37 passes, to avoid falling further behind in the NFC North.
Joseph snatched Wentz’s fumble out of the air and rumbled the distance to give the Vikings a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. Stephen Weatherly knocked the ball loose and Wentz couldn’t recover to catch Joseph from behind after the strip-sack.
After a roughing penalty by Michael Bennett negated his sack, Cousins tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Thielen to extend the lead to 17-3 at halftime. Bennett hit Cousins in the upper thigh, held his legs before letting go and Cousins fell backward.
The Eagles finally got going on the opening drive of the third quarter, but Eric Kendricks forced Jay Ajayi to fumble at the Vikings 5 and recovered it. Cousins connected deep with Thielen for 68 yards on the next play and the Vikings reached the Eagles 2 before settling for Bailey’s 22-yard field goal.
Jake Elliott kicked a 30-yarder to tie it at 3-3 after Philadelphia wasted an opportunity inside the red zone. Shelton Gibson made a leaping 48-yard reception at the Vikings 17. But Wendell Smallwood dropped a pass on third-and-3 and the Eagles settled.
Down 20-3, the Eagles had a first down at the Vikings 15, but Wentz took a sack and they ended up kicking a field goal.
Wentz tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Wendell Smallwood, who benefited from the NFL’s new catch rule because the ball came loose when he hit the ground. Smallwood then ran in for the 2-point conversion to get Philadelphia within 20-14.
|Passing 1st downs||13||15|
|Rushing 1st downs||5||4|
|1st downs from penalties||1||2|
|3rd down efficiency||4-11||2-9|
|4th down efficiency||0-0||1-1|
|Yards per Play||6.1||6.6|
|Yards per pass||7.8||7.4|
|Yards per rush||3.3||4.8|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-4||2-5|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||2||0|