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Eagles’ defense has no answer for Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs in loss to Vikings

The slow starts continue to be a weekly routine for the Eagles.

Stefon Diggs hauled in three of Kirk Cousins’ four touchdown passes and the Minnesota Vikings pounded Philadelphia 38-20 on Sunday afternoon.

The Vikings raced out to a 24-3 start before the Eagles woke up and trimmed the gap to 24-20, but Minnesota put its foot back on the gas pedal and cruised the rest of the way.

The Eagles’ defense allowed an opening drive touchdown for the fourth time in sixth games and didn’t score a point in the first period for the fifth time, but this was more about the defense not being able to get off the field. Minnesota scored touchdowns on three of its first four drives and tacked on a field goal on the other en route to their commanding start.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, if that’s what you’re asking. I’ve gotta do a better job there,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said of the slow starts. “We’ve gotta evaluate it. We have to start the game better. We’ll take a look at it this week.”

Cousins, who was 22-of-29 for 333 yards with an interception, connected on consecutive deep shots to Diggs for 62 and 51 yards, respectively, en route to their 21-point advantage. It was a tough afternoon for Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas, who was burned on those two long scores. Diggs had seven receptions for 167 yards, while Adam Thielen tallied six catches for 67 yards and a score.

Philadelphia’s defense has already yielded seven 40-plus yard receptions after surrendering six all of last year.

The pressure wasn’t there consistently either, Cousins was sacked once. He was able to bootleg and navigate the field, while also being allowed the ability to take some 7-step drops.

“You play the game that’s called, and today it was an aggressive one with a lot of opportunities to throw the football,” Cousins said. “I think (the OL) did a great job in pass protection. We did a few 7-step drops… We were able to get the ball out and people were open. It came together today.”

By the time the Eagles figured things out offensively, it was essentially too late. Doug Pederson adjusted by attacking the Vikings’ linebackers and safeties through the air with their tight ends and running backs. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert received 17 targets, with the duo combining for nine catches and 102 yards. Miles Sanders hauled in three balls for 86 yards. He had a 32-yard score down the seam, which trimmed the gap to 24-10 midway through the second and his 45-yard reception led to an Alshon Jeffery touchdown on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half.

Jeffery posted 10 catches for 76 yards.

After a Jake Elliott field goal made it 24-20, two more touchdowns by the Vikings on back-to-back touches of the ball sealed it.

The Eagles stopped what the Vikings had been doing well all year, ride the league’s second-leading rusher Dalvin Cook, he accumulated just 41 yards rushing on 16 carries. Minnesota averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on the afternoon on its 35 totes of the rock, gaining 123 yards. But once Philly clawed back in it, Minnesota went right back to the air and Cousins hits Diggs for his third touchdown of the game, an 11-yard score. Cook’s 1-yard TD run midway through the fourth capped the scoring.

Carson Wentz was 26-of-40 for 306 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception.

The Eagles travel to Dallas next Sunday night in an obviously important NFC East clash.

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