The Philadelphia Eagles are now one of six teams to finish Week 2 undefeated. Last night, during a double-header Monday Night Football match-up, the Birds took the win, 24-7, over the Minnesota Vikings.
It was their first win in a Week 2 game since 2016.
Lincoln Financial Field was electric, and Philadelphia’s game play was even wilder. Coming off a (barely) Week 1 victory, critics weren’t sure how the Eagles would fare against Vikings’ Justin Jefferson. But, in the end, there was no threat left on the field.
EAGLES > VIKINGS
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
Quarterback Jalen Hurts was utterly fantastic in Monday night’s game. He displayed arm strength, accuracy, and unstoppable foot work. Completing 26 of 31 attempts, Hurts finished with 333 passing yards and one passing touchdown, for a 108.7 rating. He also had 11 carries for 57 rushing yards and two more scores.
In the first half of the game alone, Hurts had 301 total offensive yards — the most by any Eagles’ quarterback since Michael Vick, 12 years ago.
Even more impressive was that Hurts became the first player in NFL history to have 300+ passing yards, for a 80+ completion percentage, while rushing for multiple touchdowns.
Hurts, Don’t It? 😉#FlyEaglesFly
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) September 20, 2022
There were massive concerns on how well he would perform this season, however, his first two appearances so far have proven otherwise.
Following Philadelphia’s win, head coach Nick Sirianni commented on Hurts’ performance.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I’ve seen the growth. We talk about this so much with Jalen. Why is he going to continue to reach his ceiling? Because he’s tough, he has high football character, and he loves football. He’s going to reach his ceiling. It’s fun watching him grow.”
Aside from Hurts’ stats, the quarterback displayed confidence and a will to lead his team. The 24-year-old has always held this energy, but last night was a little more special.
The offense pulled out a quick 24 points in the first half of Monday night’s game, and pretty much everyone got their hands on the ball.
Despite not completing any catches during Philadelphia’s Week 1 game against Detroit, wide receiver DeVonta Smith finished with seven receptions for 80 receiving yards on Monday.
Receivers Brown and Watkins, and tight end Dallas Goedert finished with 69+ yards. And, running backs Sanders, Scott, and Gainwell each added to their stats in both rushing and receiving.
Going into Week 2, the Eagles’ offensive line was ranked the best in the league, and they held strong on Monday. They allowed just seven pressures and zero sacks across 38 pass-blocking snaps. Pro Football Focus named Landon Dickerson as the Eagles’ OL weakest link, but yesterday he allowed zero pressures, and had an 85.0+ pass-blocking grade.
The man, the myth, the legend — especially last night.
Cornerback Darius Slay had the daunting job of covering Vikings’ wide receiver Justin Jefferson, and he did it so well, Jefferson was basically non-existent.
In a massive Week 1 performance, Jefferson finished with nine receptions for 184 receiving yards. But Monday night, he had six catches on 12 targets for 47 yards. Slay also intercepted him twice.
.@bigplay24slay with his 2nd interception 🗣
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 20, 2022
Following the game, Slay stated “You know how it always goes — the older you get the more they think you’re falling off. But I ain’t one of them guys. I’m still at an elite level. I deserve a lot of respect in this league.”
Jonathan Gannon’s coaching & the defense
After the defense’s crappy performance last week, Jonathan Gannon rolled the tapes and did a 180.
The defense was impressive in all facets. They were able to eliminate Jefferson, put an early stop to running back Dalvin Cook, and sack Kirk Cousins twice.
Notable performances were made by linebacker T.J. Edwards, who finished with seven total tackles and a forced incompletion, and Josh Sweat, who contributed to a sack and had three quarterback hits.
Gannon’s more aggressive scheme seems to be working.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Inability to score in the second half
The Eagles’ offense certainly came on strong in the first half, but that spark seemed to sizzle out a bit leaving the defense to hold the Vikings.
“Hell of a game tonight, but there is a hell of a lot to learn from,” Hurts said.
“I’ll tell you what left me most unpleased is how we finished the same on offense. We got to keep our foot on the gas.”
Realistically, Philadelphia’s inability to score any points in the second half didn’t turn out to be concerning (since they were leading by 17 points), but what if that wasn’t the case? Whether it’s in the air or on the ground, the Eagles must find a way to continue to score if they want to remain alive.
Philadelphia’s penalties have now become a concern in back-to-back weeks.
During Monday night’s game against the Vikings, they committed eight penalties for a loss of 60 yards. Last week, it was 10 for 61 yards.
Seven of the eight penalties were in fault of the offensive line.
Despite Philadelphia pulling out the win, penalties aren’t a new issue. In the 2021 season, they averaged 11 penalties per game. If they want to be great, instead of good, they have no choice but to clean this up.
Now, the Eagles will prepare for their first NFC East opponent — the Washington Commanders. Quarterback Jalen Hurts will face the guy who’s job he took, but before then, Philadelphia has some things to clean up.
They will travel down the turnpike to face Washington at home. Kick-off beings at 1 PM on Sunday, September 25.