#Eagles #studs #duds #Week #win #Vikings #Jalen #Hurts #Darius #Slay #Jordan #Mailata
PHILADELPHIA – The offense, the Eagles figured, was not going to be a problem this season — not with a dual threat quarterback who is getting better with every snap and has been surrounded with top receiving talent, a competent offensive line and a running attack that can leave welts.
But after sweating out a season-opening win while watching the defense throw away big leads on several occasions, the pressing question last week was whether that unit would be the Achilles’ heal.
Turns out, maybe not.
In a dominating 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night, the Eagles rolled up 486 yards of total offense while holding the Vikings to 246 yards, many of which were gained in the fourth quarter when the game was all but decided.
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While the Eagles had a slew of players who played well, there are still problems to be solved:
QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts, who is showing that he is a franchise quarterback, maneuvered the pocket skillfully and put the ball in areas where his receivers were able to make plays. In the best performance of his two-year career, he completed 26 of 31 passes (83.9%) for 333 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He added 57 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns, repeatedly hurting the Vikings, who were playing a lot of zone.
Hurts made the right decisions on when to run the ball and when to buy time to let pass routes develop. Hurts has compiled back-to-back games that make the Eagles the favorites to win the division.
RB Miles Sanders
Despite the focus being on the passing game, Sanders had another effective outing, running 17 times for 80 yards while adding another three catches for six yards. Sanders said he left some yards out on the field, but not nearly as many as he had the past couple of seasons. Sanders benefited from a competent offensive line and the extra space the passing game has created. In the final season of a four-year, $5.He could be in line for a contract extension.
CB Darius Slay
When Slay was walking into the tunnel after the game, he was met by Sixers guard James Harden. Harden told him that he left three interceptions out there. Usually, that would be a negative for a player. However, Slay already had two interceptions with his five passes defended and a tackle.
Slay, who was named to the Pro Bowl last year, kept Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson in check. Jefferson had 183 yards receiving last week against the Green Bay Packers but only had 48 yards on six catches. According to Pro Football Focus, Slay only allowed Jefferson to have one catch. If Slay continues to play this well, he could effectively cut half of the field for an opposing passing game.
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DE Josh Sweat
Sweat was quiet last week against the Detroit Lions but turned things around, giving the Eagles some needed pressure off the edge. Sweat finished with a sack, three quarterback hits, and three tackles for loss. Sweat’s emergence appeared to make Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins start getting” happy feet,” forcing him from the comfort of the pocket to get the ball out quickly, especially in the second half. If the Eagles eventually get Haason Reddick going with his pass rush, the defense would finally be at the level they want to reach.
Here are the players/coaches who are trending down after two weeks:
LT Jordan Mailata
Mailata seemed to have a tough go at times with Viking outside linebackers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, the talented edge rushers. Mailata also was called for a false start and a holding penalty. It could be one of those things where Mailata is trying to adjust to the smaller, quicker edge rushers, and it could be a one-off, but it was not the best performance for the left tackle.
RB Kenneth Gainwell
Gainwell finished with just two carries for seven yards and a catch for 11 yards. Gainwell bobbled a pass deep in Eagles territory in the fourth quarter, leading to a former Eagles and current Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks intercepting the pass that would have put the game in an interesting situation if the Vikings had scored on the ensuing drive. It was a night that Gainwell would like to have back, and he will look to turn the page quickly to the Week 3 matchup against the Washington Commanders.
Special teams coordinator Michael Clay
The Eagles had a field goal blocked by Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson in the third quarter, and had it not been for punter Arryn Siposs’ tackle at the Eagles 30-yard line, Peterson would have scored and given the Vikings the momentum in the game. The Vikings also came close to blocking a punt in the first quarter, and the Eagles did not start many drives in good field position thanks to the directional kickoffs made by the Vikings and minimal returns made by the Eagles. Clay has a lot of new faces on his special teams units but has to get them up to speed quickly before they get to the tough part of their schedule.
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Chris Franklin may be reached at email@example.com.
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