Eagles vs. Vikings Week 5 observations and reaction

Eric Hartline - USA TODAY SPORTS

The mistakes on offense remain consistent. The offensive line continues to struggle, Doug Pederson isn’t running the football and Carson Wentz has turned into a human pinata.

The Philadelphia Eagles got Skol crushed on Sunday.

At 2-3, the reality has set in.

Kirk Cousins threw for 301 yards and a touchdown, Adam Thielen caught seven passes for 116 yards and a score and the Minnesota Vikings exacted some revenge from last year’s NFC Championship Game throttling with a 23-21 win over the Eagles.

The Eagles played an abysmal first half, with Wentz constantly being under duress. Lane Johnson was beat for a strip-sack for a second straight week, but this time it led to a 64-yard fumble return touchdown. They trailed 17-3 at the half and while they figured things out offensively in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overcome the hole they dug themselves into.

Another big problem that continues to plague the offense is Doug Pederson’s lack of commitment to the running game. The Eagles came in averaging 4.4 yards per carry and while Jay Ajayi does have a cranky back, Wendell Smallwood put up over seven yards per tote coming in and Josh Adams five.

It really doesn’t matter who is getting the rock, the offensive line generates significant push.

Yet Doug continues to not run the ball, I’m baffled.

Pederson dialed up 39 designed passes as opposed to 13 runs. Sure, some of that was due to getting off to the woeful start, but Philly called just five runs in the first half. It had 13 designed passes. On the year, the Eagles headed into the contest running it just 37 percent of the time.

It actually wasn’t until the Eagles began the pound the rock the they got back into the game. Five of the nine plays on the opening drive of the second half were runs, but Ajayi fumbled on 1st-and-goal from the five.

The teams then traded field goals before the Birds finally found the end zone early in the fourth when Wentz hit Smallwood in stride on a wheel route for a 12-year score. No, that wouldn’t have been a touchdown last year.

A 4th-and-1 conversion from Jeffery preceded the touchdown.

The Eagles also picked up the two-point conversion to make it a six-point game.

Minnesota turned the ball over on its next touch when a lateral wasn’t handled by Roc Thomas. Nigel Bradham made the recovery at the Vikings’ 30, but the Eagles didn’t capitalize. An intentional grounding penalty took the Eagles out of field goal range and they wound up punting.

The Vikings then took the next 6:24 off the clock and a Dan Bailey 52-yard field goal with 2:47 left and the Eagles left with no timeouts. Cousins was sacked just once, but he was under heavy duress for much of the evening. Jim Schwartz mixed up blitzes, the defensive line got home, but Cousins was getting the ball out so quick it didn’t even matter.

Michael Bennett was the latest victim on the NFL’s over-infatuation with the roughing the passer penalty.

That’s one of the worst ones yet.

Wentz finished 24-of-35 for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He certainly wasn’t the problem. Zach Ertz caught 10 passes for 110 yards and a score. Ajayi was the leading rusher with 29 yards on eight attempts.

The Eagles now have a short week and head to the Meadowlands for a Thursday night showdown with the New York Giants.


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at adrian@phillyinfluencer.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here.

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