Eagles

Eagles vs. Vikings Week 7 Observations and Reaction (With Videos)

Sam Bradford’s return to Philadelphia left him battered and bruised; he can thank the Eagles’ ferocious defense for that.

“We got whipped,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.

Damn right you did.

The Eagles’ defense posted six sacks, forced four fumbles and intercepted Bradford once as they overwhelmed the Vikings’ offensive line throughout en route to a 21-10 victory on Sunday afternoon to hand Minnesota its first loss of the season.

“That’s the defense that we expect every week moving forward,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said.

They’ll need another performance like that next Sunday night in Dallas with first place in the NFC East on the line.

The Eagles’ biggest strength took advantage of the Vikings’ biggest weakness. The trio of T.J. Clemmings, Jake Long and Jeremiah Sirless were no match for Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry and the rest of the front seven. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz clearly used the blitz a lot more in this one as well, straying away from his usual pressure with four philosophy.

Aided by some garbage time stats, Bradford finished 24-of-41 for 224 yards with a touchdown and interception. He had a quarterback rating of 71.6 and QBR of just 7.6. He overthrew some receivers and was clearly rattled by the Eagles’ relentless pressure. He didn’t have a turnover all season until committing three on Sunday.

Zimmer commented on his performance.

“I thought he missed some throws that he normally makes,” Zimmer said. “He got hit a lot. It’s hard to evaluate his performance when (the line) looks like a sieve. It’s hard to throw when somebody’s grabbing your arm.”

It was Bradford’s first time in Philly since being traded to the Vikings eight days before the start of the season. He had won his first four starts with Minnesota and tossed six touchdowns and no interceptions. Bradford went 7-7 in his lone season with the Eagles last year.

Carson Wentz, who was named the starter after the Bradford swap, didn’t look much better. He was 16-of-28 for 138 yards with a touchdown and a pair of picks. His ball placement was off on some of the wide receiver screens, he sailed some balls and forced a couple throws into coverage. With that being said, he outplayed Bradford in the second half and used his legs to convert a fourth down and score on a two-point conversion.

Fifth-round rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai played better in his second start filling in for the suspended Lane Johnson. He seemed balanced and looked more comfortable out there despite making some mistakes. Pederson still ran the ball predominantly off the left side of the line and admitted that he didn’t give Big V as much help as last week.

“Quite honestly, this game, probably not as much (help) as I did last week. It felt like he kind of settled in and did a nice job,” he said.

A wild scoreless first quarter saw a crazy stretch of five consecutive possessions featuring a turnover — three interceptions and two fumbles. After Blair Walsh’s 48-yard field goal staked the Vikings to a 3-0 lead with 9:01 left in the second quarter, the Eagles took over and scored the next 21 points.

It began with Josh Huff’s ensuing 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Wentz crossed the goal line on a quarterback draw when the Eagles went for two points following a Minnesota personal foul penalty.

It wasn’t the only bold move from Pederson. After Wentz overthrew Trey Burton in the left flat on a 3rd-and-2, Pederson elected to go for it on fourth down at the Minnesota 44-yard line. Wentz was able to move the sticks despite fumbling the snap when he turned the corner on Everson Griffen along the left edge.

Ryan Mathews, who ran for 56 yards on 14 carries and fumbled again late in the fourth, helped put the Eagles in field-goal range following a 20-yard run off the left side on 3rd-and-9. He got great blocks from Jason Peters and the pulling Brandon Brooks.

Sturgis’ 35-yard field goal gave the Eagles a 11-3 advantage heading into the break.

Philadelphia sacked Bradford twice on Minnesota’s opening series of the second half before using a nine-play, 77-yard march to extend the margin. This is where we saw Wentz’s backyard football skills coming into play following a bad snap from Jason Kelce. He immediately rolled to his right and flipped the completion to Darren Sproles for a gain of 19 yards.

Dorial Green-Beckham capped the 5:51 drive with his first touchdown of the season, upping the cushion to 18-3.

Sturgis added a 21-yard field goal with 6:09 left and a garbage touchdown from Bradford to Cordarrelle Patterson accounted for the final margin.

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