The Philadelphia Eagles took on the Minnesota Vikings at home Thursday night on a short week. Philadelphia was coming off a narrow Week 1 win over the New England Patriots while Minnesota dropped its opener at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Philadelphia took advantage of a mistake-prone Vikings team (four turnovers). And despite big games from the Vikings’ pair of star receivers, it was not enough for the road team to come away with the win.
Jalen Hurts did his thing with three touchdowns. D’Andre Swift was dynamic in his first real playing time with the Eagles. The end result as an 34-28 Eagles win. Here, we look at the top performances and takaways from Philadelphia’s six-point win.
Top performances from Philadelphia Eagles win
D’Andre Swift, running back, Philadelphia Eagles
Swift ran the ball just one time and had two touches in his Eagles debut last week. The goal was to get him more involved Thursday night with RB1 Kenneth Gainwell sidelined to injury.
“We don’t ever want to come out with him only having those many touches. That’s just kind of how the flow went in the game. We had things called for him, but sometimes the ball doesn’t go for him in a certain way,” Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said heading into Week 2.
About that? Swift was one of the most electric players in the field as Philadelphia moved to 2-0 on the season. The former Detroit Lions star ran the ball 28 times for 175 yards, averaging a robust 6.3 yards per rush. He led an Eagles rushing attack that went for 259 yards on 48 attempts. That’s just ridiculous.
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Josh Sweat, EDGE, Philadelphia Eagles
An Eagles defense that boasts a tremendous amount of talent at all levels continued to dominate Thursday night. Instead of 2022 leading sack getter Haason Reddick leading the charge, it was Sweat who did his thing.
The veteran recorded five hits and a strip sack of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. That latter play led directly to an Eagles touchdown and a two-score lead in the third quarter:
It’s really hard to quantify just how good Philadelphia’s defensive front is. A game that saw Reddick and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite Jalen Carter do next to nothing included Sweat dominating. If it’s not one player, another will go ahead and step up for this defense. Thursday night was a prime example of that.
Jordan Addison, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings
An otherwise mistake-filled game for the Vikings also saw their rookie first-round pick show out for the second time in five days. Addision recorded four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in his regular season debut last week. He was back up to his old tricks Thursday night, including a 62-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
All said, Addison caught three passes for 72 yards and that touchdown as he continued to act as a nice complement to record-breaking Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (11 receptions, 159 yards). While the first two weeks have not gone according to plan for Minnesota, it now looks like the team has the best wide receiver duo in the NFL north of Miami.
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Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
Despite an early interception, Hurts settled in pretty well at home Thursday night. The recently-extended quarterback and NFL MVP candidate was also coming off an uneven performance last week against New England.
Whether we witnessed highlight-reel plays or Hurts do his thing on the ground, the quarterback was dialed in for the most part.
Hurts’ ability to put that right on DeVonta Smith with pressure in his face was absolutely surreal. Look at it from this angle and tell us you are not impressed. Hurts concluded Thursday’s win completing 18-of-23 passes for 193 yards with that touchdown through the air. He also added 35 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts. Not a bad night’s work.
Danielle Hunter, EDGE, Minnesota Vikings
The subject of trade rumors this past offseason, Hunter has come to play through two weeks. He had a sack of Baker Mayfield last week. Thursday night saw Hunter record three take downs of the mobile Jalen Hurts.
His performance was impressive given Hurts’ ability to scramble when facing pressure out on the edge. Just check this out.
Given Minnesota’s issues in the secondary and at linebacker, getting this type of consistent pass rush is going to be a key moving forward. Hunter provided that in a losing effort Thursday night.
Top Minnesota Vikings takeaways from Thursday night
Turnovers. Turnovers. More turnovers. Minnesota gave the ball away four times Thursday night, resulting in 17 Eagles points. One of the biggest mistakes of the evening belonged to the aforementioned Jefferson, who fumbled at the goal line to take away a potential touchdown. Instead, this play resulted in a touchback.
Philadelphia would go on to net three points on the next possession after Jake Elliott nailed a 61-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. That’s a 10-point swing. A Kirk Cousins fumble to open the third quarter also resulted in an Eagles touchdown. That was game, set, match. Minnesota simply isn’t good enough to overcome the turnovers that plagued the team Thursday night.
Absolutely no rushing attack
Vikings running backs Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler tallied 34 rushing yards on 14 attempts last week against Tampa Bay. It’s starting to look more and more like moving on from Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook was one of the biggest mistakes of the offseason.
This did not change Thursday night. Mattison tallied 28 yards on eight attempts. Chandler had a single rush attempt for zero yards. As a team, the Vikings averaged 3.1 yards on nine attempts on the ground. It once again forced Cousins to throw the ball north of 40 times. It’s just not a recipe for success.
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Top Philadelphia Eagles takeaways from Thursday night
Some pass protection and depth issues
As noted above, Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter tallied three sacks of Jalen Hurts Thursday night. The quarterback went down four times and was hit a total of five times. That doesn’t even take into account Hurts using his mobility to avoid other pressures.
More than anything, left tackle Jordan Mailata was atrocious in pass protection in front of Hurts. He really does seem to be a weak link on this offensive line. At the very least, it’s something to watch moving forward.
On defense, Philadelphia was without star cornerback James Bradberry Thursday night. We knew this was going to be somewhat of an issue going up against Minnesota’s elite receiver group.
It was. Jefferson, Addison and K.J. Osborn caught 17-of-24 targets for 265 yards as the Vikings picked on the unproven Josh Jobe and Mario Goodrich. As long as Bradberry and Darius Slay remain healthy, this won’t be an issue. But continued issues in this regard could create problems.
Rushing attack makes Eagles nearly unbeatable
Last week saw Eagles running backs put up 60 yards on 16 attempts with Gainwell (54 yards, 14 attempts) leading the charge. With Gainewell injured and sitting this one out, Philadelphia’s rushing attack looked more dynamic.
The aforementioned Swift went for 175 yards on 28 attempts. Boston Scott added 40 yards on five attempts as the Eagles gained 259 yards on the ground while averaging 5.4 yards per tote. With what Hurts is able to do through the air, getting this type of performance on the ground will make the Eagles nearly unbeatable.