Five years after the Eagles rolled over the Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field to advance to the Super Bowl, Philly welcomed Minnesota’s return to town Monday night with similar tenacity. Despite entering high hopes after defeating the Lakers in the first week, Kevin O’Connell’s rookie crew looked almost lifeless from start to finish, while Eagles Nick Siriani enjoyed the best career performance of young quarterback Galen Hurts. Combined with an opportunistic defense, Hurts helped The Birds win 24-7 which was nowhere near the end result.
Here are some instant takeaways from Monday night’s prime-time standoff:
Why did the Eagles win?
Galen Hurts has officially arrived as the franchise-caliber quarterback, and Jonathan Gannon’s defense has finally given him a supplemental £1 effort. After beating the Lions mostly with his legs in the first week, Hurts was the complete package in prime time, chopping Minnesota High School from start to finish and cracking during maneuvers as the QB MVP this week. It was so accurate and efficient that he threw it deep, using his wheels only when needed. It was a really great performance with everyone involved – AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, even Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Defensively, Gannon’s unit was equally impressive, limiting Justin Jefferson to short targets early on, completely eliminating Dalvin Cook’s fast attack, and starting Kirk Cousins twice in the red. Star angle Darius Sly topped the effort, outsmarting Jefferson in coverage to render Kevin O’Connell’s offense ineffective in nearly every aspect. By the end of the night, Slay had two options and could easily get five, taking advantage of Gannon’s deployment of more lightning attacks.
Why did the Vikings lose?
No wide open spaces were found in their season-opening defeat against the Packers. Kirk Cousins had zero support, routinely failed to communicate with his elite receiving corps, and then was forced to throw in late while desperate for a spark. Nothing clicked on Kevin O’Connell’s favorite side of the ball, as Dalvin Cook was a wholly ineffectual player, and passers took turns dropping key throws – no bigger than the potential result of Irv Smith Jr.
Defensively, Ed Donatell’s feisty unit lost all its noise from the previous week, playing soft cover to enable Jalen Hurts’ smooth sailing, with Camryn Bynum in particular struggling at the rear end while driving the Eagles TD. The energy level seemed to have never been in Minnesota, averaging just under four yards per entry attempt in the dwindling minutes of action. Patrick Peterson tried to reignite their fight by blocking a field goal, but otherwise, the club was unlucky.
You can point to any of Jalen Hurts’ second or third TDs, which she declared the Eagles are in to win before her raucous crowd. The former saw Hurts open a perfect deep float to Quez Watkins for a 53-yard score to put Philly ahead 14-0, and the latter saw QB demolish through a slew of Vikings defenders for a 26-yard TD that kept the team two notches ahead. Minnesota remained several notches behind during the remainder of the competition.
play the game
It belongs to Hurts, whose scramble for a score in the first half was a key reminder that he’s one of the NFL’s best double threats in the job:
The Eagles (2-0) will travel to Washington in their first NFC East game of the year, against the Leaders (1-1), who fell to the Lions on Sunday. In the meantime, the Vikings (1-1) will return home to face Detroit.
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