The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 after defeating the Minnesota Vikings in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. Final score: 24 to 7.
Entering the 2022 season, Jalen Hurts and Jonathan Gannon were viewed as the Eagles’ biggest question marks.
On Monday night, they were exclamation points.
Hurts’ improvement is the biggest story to come out of this game. He was spectacular out there. The third-year quarterback made some high-level throws in tight windows. He threw with great accuracy and touch. He made great decisions and looked overall out there. It was the most impressive passing performance of his career. Oh, and he’s also pretty great as a runner again. At the very least, this was a franchise quarterback performance. If he continues to play at this level, the Eagles might just have the NFL MVP under center.
Gannon’s defense was not perfect; one can find things to argue about (see: Haason Reddick dropping into coverage to set up a Vikings touchdown). All in all, though, it was obviously a lot more good than bad. After previously getting absolutely destroyed by any type of competent quarterback, Gannon had answers for Cousins. The Eagles limited Minnesota to just seven points and came away with multiple turnovers. JG was under pressure to perform and he found some redemption.
All told, this was a big win for the Eagles. They move to 2-0 with two wins against NFC opponents.
They are undefeated entering another big game in Week 3: a road contest against the Washington Commanders.
The Eagles’ first game against Carson Wentz since trading the guy Hurts replaced.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage.
- The Eagles targeted DeVonta Smith on the very first play, which went for a five-yard reception. Who would have thought the Birds would try to touch him early? Jalen Hurts rolled right and found an open Dallas Goedert for a first down. Miles Sanders’ first carry went for 12 yards. Hurts was tackled for no gain to bring up a 3rd-and-9. On third down, Hurts found Kenneth Gainwell short for a catch-and-run to move the chains … but the big play was wiped out by Landon Dickerson illegally being down by quite a bit. On 3rd-and-13, Hurts stood in the pocket with good protection and threw a strike to AJ Brown for a first down. Nice throw! Hurts found Zach Pascal short to convert a 3rd-and-3. Pascal also had a third down conversion in Detroit last week; he is a factor in those situations. Two plays later, Hurts powered through contact to punch it in for a touchdown. Strong open drive. A strange sequence on the Eagles’ extra point where they had to redo the extra point because “Vikings assistants” were on the field. How was that not a punishment? The Vikings were then penalized for being offsides … but the Eagles declined the flag instead of trying to go for two points from the 1-yard line. EAGLES 7, VIKINGS 0.
- The Vikings’ first drive was a three-and-out with Darius Slay knocking down a Kirk Cousins pass intended for Justin Jefferson. Jefferson wanted a pass interference call but the refs didn’t give it to him. Slay quickly grabbed Jefferson’s hand … but the refs won’t always call that. Nick Sirianni was sacked and ran down to celebrate with the defense after the stop.
- Offensive pass interference on DeVonta turned 3rd-and-2 into 3rd-and-12. Hurts was then sacked from behind after holding onto the ball to force a punt. Jalen Reagor drew boos when he lined up to return the Eagles’ first punt … and then drew cheers after he was tackled by Zech McPhearson for a gain of just one yard.
- The Vikings got to 3rd-and-5 and James Bradberry knocked down the third down throw to Irv Smith. Strong start for Jonathan Gannon’s defense.
- The Eagles were called for their fourth offensive penalty on their third drive. It was their third ineligible man downfield with Isaac Seumalo called out as the culprit.
- Dolores threw deep to wide open Quez Watkins, who was released with a Vikings safety incorrectly helping Goedert instead of staying with the speedy wide receiver. EAGLES 14, VIKINGS 0.
- Jalen Reagor jet sweep on 3rd-and-1 for a 17-yard gain … and boos from the crowd at the Linc. The Vikings drove into the red zone and Haason Reddick, who dropped into coverage against backup tight end Johnny Mundt, allowed a 17-yard reception to set up first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Cousins then hit Irv Smith with a short pass for the score. Reddick in coverage sure feels like a waste. EAGLES 14, VIKINGS 7.
- The Eagles got to 3rd and 12 and Hurts ran out of bounds short of the marker but they were helped by a Vikings illegal contact penalty for a fresh set of downs. Hurts’ first incompletion came on a play where Goedert was tightly covered and almost made a catch but Cameron Dantlzer knocked the ball out before the tight end established possession. Just a great defensive play to break up a good throw in a tight window. Hurts’ third down pass was completed short of the sticks to force a punt. Second offensive drive of the night without points.
- TJ Edwards knocked down a Cousins third-down pass over the middle to force another three-and-out.
- Hurts hit DeVonta over the middle on back-to-back plays for gains of 19 and 16 yards. Then Boston Scott took a draw for 16 yards. Then Sanders took a draw for nine yards. Facing 3rd-and-2, Hurts took off running … but not just for the first down. Instead of getting out, he followed a good lead block by Goedert on Harrison Smith and then powered through contact to extend for a touchdown. Pretty impressive stuff! EAGLES 21, VIKINGS 7.
- Josh Sweat sacked Cousins … but grabbed his facemask to wipe the sack. Womp. Cousins was almost sacked on a deep throw that looked to be hit by pressure … but it was almost completed deep to Irv Smith … who instead dropped what might have been a touchdown. What a break. Especially for CJ Gardner-Johnson. Cousins’ third down pass fell incomplete to bring up yet another stop. Strange how it wasn’t an intentional touchdown when no one was even close to the ball. The refs said Dalvin Cook was in the area but … he wasn’t. All in all.
- The Eagles took over at their own 5-yard line with 1:14 left in the second quarter. Hurts threw the ball with a nice touch to a soft spot to find DeVonta for a first down. Hurts hit Goedert for a 19-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline. Not sure why the Vikings left him so open. Hurts put a great touch on another pass to Goedert over the middle, another high-level throw. That completion set up a 38-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. Huge to be able to get some points on that drive and make it a three possession game. Hard to be more impressed with Hurts! EAGLES 24, VIKINGS 7.
- The Vikings opened the second half with a methodical drive into the red zone. But then Javon Hargrave hit Cousins when he threw to force a bad throw that was caught by Darius Slay! After the pick, Slay celebrated by running to the courtside seats and giving the ball to James Harden. Philadelphia fan fiction comes to life.
- The Eagles took over at their own 19-yard line and moved to 3rd-and-5 from the Vikings’ 21-yard line. A false start on Lane Johnson knocked the Eagles back. The Eagles settled for a 41-yard field goal attempt … which was blocked. Credit to Arryn Siposs for making a tackle to prevent landing.
- The Vikings took over at the Eagles’ 24-yard line. And it didn’t matter because Cousins threw another pick, this one to Avonte Maddox.
- Hurts made a nice throw rolling left to hit Watkins down the sideline for a heavy gain. Unfortunately for him, it was canceled out by a holding penalty on Jordan Mailata. The Eagles ended up having to punt.
- The Vikings went on an 11-play, 27-yard drive (how sad) that ended in a punt after a Fletcher Cox strip sack.
- Hurts threw a screen pass to Gainwell that bounced off his hands and was picked off by … old friend Jordan Hicks.
- Slay dropped a pick in the end zone. It was like the third or fourth dropped pick of the night for him. Then Slay grabbed the next one that went his way for a touchback. Game.
- The Eagles ran some clock and then the Vikings had some garbage time production before the game was officially over. Josh Sweat sacked Cousins on the final play of the game.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES 24, VIKINGS 7.
- Quez Watkins was back to take kicks.
- AJ Brown was briefly looked at in the medical tent midway through the second quarter. He didn’t miss any time though.
The Birds come from a victory against the Detroit Lions that was not like convincing as many hoped it would be. While there were some positives to take away from that game, concerns remain about Philadelphia’s defense. Can Jonathan Gannon find a way to hold up against a quarterback who isn’t completely terrible? Kirk Cousins has proven troublesome for the Birds in the past and it is currently difficult to give Philly’s defensive coordinator the benefit of the doubt.
The Vikings are looking to follow up a big win over the Green Bay Packers with another strong effort. Minnesota’s defense limited the damage Aaron Rodgers could do in Week 1. There could be pressure on the Eagles’ offense to put up a lot of points if Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook prove to be as challenging as they seem.
The winner of this game will feel pretty good. They will have a 2-0 record and a claim as one of the best teams in the NFC. The loser may think they are good but not good enough.
Bleeding Green Nation will be covering this game with live updates in the form of highlights, analysis, etc. Be sure to follow and refresh the page often.
(NOTE: This is NOT a game thread; it’s a live blog that will become a game recap. Use BGN’s designated game threads for each quarter to discuss in-game happenings there. The first quarter thread is HERE.)