Instant analysis: Eagles dominant vs. Vikings on Monday night football – The News Journal

  • September 20, 2022

PHILADELPHIA − Jalen Hurts put an exclamation point on any doubts as to his standing as the Eagles’ quarterback for the present and the future.
Hurts was dominant Monday night in the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Vikings. He completed 26 of 31 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 57 more yards and two TDs.
In all, the Eagles racked up 486 yards of offense.
But it wasn’t like anyone on the Eagles had any doubts about Hurts.
“I don’t know who was worried about that,” tight end Dallas Goedert said, “but no one in the building was worried about his arm. We’ve got full confidence in the man and he comes and shows it every week.”
And yet, Hurts found something to nitpick. The Eagles went scoreless in the second half. And Hurts threw his only interception on a dump-off to Kenny Gainwell that deflected off him and right to former Eagle Jordan Hicks, setting the Vikings up at the Eagles’ 9 midway through the fourth quarter.
It hardly mattered because the Eagles intercepted Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins three times, all in the second half, and all inside the red zone. Darius Slay had two of the INTs, and he held Justin Jefferson to just 48 yards receiving.
So when Hurts was asked what pleased him the most about his performance, he responded: “I’ll tell you what left me most unpleased, was how we finished the game on offense. We kind of have to keep the foot on the gas.”
Hurts certainly did that in the first half. He spread the ball around to all of his receivers. Four had at least 69 yards receiving, led by Dallas Goedert with 82 yards. DeVonta Smith, who was shut out last week against the Lions, had seven receptions for 80 yards. Quez Watkins caught a 53-yard bomb for a touchdown in the first quarter before finishing with 69 yards. A.J. Brown, who had 155 yards in his Eagles’ debut, had 69 on Monday night.
“You never know whose game it’s going to be,” Smith said. “(Monday), it just happened to be everybody.”
Smith was then asked what it says about the offense if it was everybody’s game: “It’s tough for defenses. You can’t key in on one guy. You never know who the ball’s going to. You never know what to expect.”
The Vikings certainly didn’t know what hit them.
The Eagles did all of their scoring in the first half, when Hurts completed 17 of 20 passes for 251 yards. His rushing touchdowns came from 3 yards out and 26 yards out.
On the last TD, Hurts ran down the right sideline and appeared to be going out of bounds before cutting back inside and barreling over a defender. That gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 1:58 left in the first half.
The Eagles got the ball back at their 5-yard line with 1:21 remaining. Incredibly, Hurts led them down the field, completing passes of 19 and 23 yards to Goedert to get to the Vikings’ 20-yard line with 6 seconds left.
Jake Elliott kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired and the Eagles had a 24-7 lead at the break. They also had 347 yards of offense in the first half alone.
“You’d probably see some teams, ‘OK, we got a lead. Let’s just bleed it out,’” Hurts said. “Coach (Nick Sirianni) had trust in us to execute, get the ball down the field.”
It was like that for the entire first half, at least.
Hurts completed his first 11 passes, for 151 yards before throwing his first incompletion on a pass that Goedert couldn’t hold onto.
Hurts ran the ball in from the 3 to give the Eagles the early lead on their opening drive. Then he hooked up with Watkins on a 53-yard bomb in which Watkins was 10 yards beyond the closest defender.
The Vikings got back into the game on Irv Smith’s 2-yard touchdown reception with 9:39 left in the half. But Hurts once again took the Eagles down the field. He completed two straight passes to Smith, then Boston Scott’s 16-yard run got the Eagles to the Vikings’ 34.
A few plays later, Hurts took off down the right sideline for 26 yards and the Eagles led by 14.
Hurts started off the second half the same way, throwing and running the Eagles down the field. But the drive stalled at the Vikings’ 21, and Elliott’s 41-yard field goal was blocked.
It hardly mattered. Hurts had already done his damage, and the Eagles defense took care of the rest.
“Another outstanding performance,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said about Hurts. “He threw some unbelievable balls. He made a lot of plays. This was a really great, well-rounded game for him.”
The Eagles’ defense picked things up in the second half, intercepting Cousins three times. The first was by Slay at the Eagles’ goal line in the third quarter as Cousins was attempting a pass into the end zone for Justin Jefferson.
As Cousins threw the ball, Javon Hargrave hit his arm on the follow-through, thus preventing Cousins from getting enough on the ball to get it over Slay. Slay returned it to the Eagles’ 19-yard line.
Maddox had the second interception, coming after the Vikings blocked Elliott’s field goal attempt. He leaped high to snare the pass. That impressed Slay, who said about the 5-foot-9 Maddox: “I definitely think he can dunk.”
Then Slay got another one, just after Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks intercepted Hurts’ pass, giving the Vikings the ball at the Eagles’ 9. On third down, Cousins, under a heavy rush, threw the ball into the end zone where Slay picked it off.
Slay almost had two more interceptions, but couldn’t quite hold onto them.
It didn’t take long for Smith to catch his first pass. It came on the very first play of the game as Hurts threw to Smith over the middle. The play went for 5 yards.
Smith was shut out in the Eagles’ opener last week against the Detroit Lions. It was the first time that Smith was held without a catch both in college and the NFL. Smith had at least one catch in every game last season. And he had at least one catch in every game during his four seasons at Alabama.
Smith finished with seven catches for 80 yards.
“When the ball comes to you, you have to make the most of your opportunity,” Smith said. “So just going out there, us as an offense, executing, everybody got their opportunities and everybody made the most of them.”
For the Vikings, Jalen Reagor made his return to Philadelphia after the Eagles traded him on Aug. 31. The Eagles got back a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 and a seventh-round pick in 2023. Reagor is serving as the Vikings’ punt returner.
Reagor was seen on the field before the game shaking hands with Eagles GM Howie Roseman, and hugging special teams coordinator Michael Clay. He also exchanged hugs with DeVonta Smith among other receivers.
Reagor touched the ball once in the first half, on a jet sweep. He gained 17 yards. Reagor also caught one pass for 7 yards.
Reagor was booed by Eagles fans, except for when he tried to return a punt after catching it inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line. Several Eagles’ tacklers swarmed him, much to the delight of the crowd.
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

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