College Football Pick’em
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Five years after the Eagles rolled over the Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field to advance to the Super Bowl, Philly welcomed Minnesota back to town on Monday night with a similar tenacity. Despite entering with high hopes after a rout of the Packers in Week 1, Kevin O’Connell’s upstart crew looked lifeless from virtually start to finish, whereas Nick Sirianni’s Eagles enjoyed arguably the finest performance of young quarterback Jalen Hurts’ career. Coupled with an opportunistic defense, Hurts helped the Birds to a 24-7 victory that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.
Here are some instant takeaways from Monday night’s prime-time showdown:
Jalen Hurts officially arrived as a franchise-caliber quarterback, and Jonathan Gannon’s defense finally gave him a sterling complementary effort. After beating the Lions mostly with his legs in Week 1, Hurts was the total package in prime time, dicing up Minnesota’s secondary from start to finish and rumbling through tackles as this week’s top QB rusher. He was accurate, efficient and even chucked it deep, only using his wheels when they were needed. It was a true breakout performance that got everyone involved — A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, even Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Defensively, Gannon’s unit was just as impressive, limiting Justin Jefferson to short targets early, completely eliminating the Dalvin Cook-led rushing attack, and picking off Kirk Cousins twice in the red zone. Star corner Darius Slay headlined the effort, outdoing Jefferson in coverage to render Kevin O’Connell’s offense ineffective in just about every facet. By the end of the night, Slay had two picks and could’ve easily had five, benefiting from Gannon deploying more blitzes.
The wide-open spacing they enjoyed in their season-opening rout against the Packers was nowhere to be found. Kirk Cousins got zero run support, routinely failed to connect with his elite receiving corps, and then forced throws late while desperate for a spark. Nothing clicked on Kevin O’Connell’s preferred side of the ball, where Dalvin Cook was a total non-factor and pass catchers took turns dropping key throws — none bigger than a would-be score by Irv Smith Jr.
Defensively, Ed Donatell’s feisty unit lost all its sizzle from the week prior, playing soft coverage to enable Jalen Hurts’ smooth sailing, with Camryn Bynum in particular struggling on the back end during a pair of Eagles TD drives. The energy level was seemingly never there for Minnesota, which averaged fewer than four yards per pass attempt entering the waning minutes of action. Patrick Peterson tried to reignite their fight with a field goal block, but otherwise, the club was hapless.
You can point to either of Jalen Hurts’ second or third TDs, which announced the Eagles as in it to win it before their roaring home crowd. The former saw Hurts uncork a perfect deep floater to Quez Watkins for a 53-yard score to put Philly up 14-0, and the latter saw the QB bulldoze through a slew of Vikings defenders for a 26-yard TD run that kept the team in front by two scores. Minnesota remained multiple scores behind for the remainder of the contest.
It belongs to Hurts, whose scramble for a score in the first half was a prime reminder that he’s one of the NFL’s best dual threats at the position:
MAXIMUM EFFORT‼️ @JalenHurts
📺: #MINvsPHI on ABC pic.twitter.com/CDCx23oO27
The Eagles (2-0) will travel to Washington for their first NFC East matchup of the year, against the Commanders (1-1), who fell to the Lions on Sunday. The Vikings (1-1), meanwhile, will return home for a showdown with Detroit.
Final from Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/r9GCa0pu9b
Josh Sweat puts the exclamation point on this one with a sack on the final play of the game.
Final from Philly: Eagles 24, Vikings 7
Eagles are 2-0 as Jalen Hurts throws for 333 yards and has 390 yards of total offense with 3 total TD.
This team may be very good folks.
W@UnibetUS | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/dPNQDEZWht
We’re recapping #MINvsPHI now on the @RicohTweets Postgame Show. https://t.co/5E97mhdpNP
The Eagles are going to win this game, but this second half has been dragging. Lot of penalties and TV timeouts have slowed the game down. No points on the board either.
#Vikings S Harrison Smith is being evaluated for a concussion. #MINatPHI
I don’t think the Eagles offense has bene good this second half, but the defense has been excellent. Kirk Cousins really took the Vikings out of opportunities for a comeback.
MOVE THOSE CHAINS‼️ @BoobieMilesXXIV #MINvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/f8wUrYsChn
.@bigplay24slay with his 2nd interception 🗣
📺: #MINvsPHI on ABC pic.twitter.com/KnV0evoizI
Kirk Cousins has 3 INT tonight in the red zone.
His only wins on MNF are against the Bears.
Kenny Gainwell can’t corral the pass by Jalen Hurts, which leads to his 1st INT of the year.
Jordan Hicks came up with the INT deep in Eagles territory.
.@JordanHicks snagged it!! pic.twitter.com/Sy02nLxvm7
.@fcoxx_91 showin’ em how it’s done!
📺: #MINvsPHI on ABC pic.twitter.com/rmQkjs29LP
SACK‼️ @fcoxx_91 | #MINvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/G75ELnYXiS
Strip sack for Fletcher Cox.
He’s had a good night too. Silenced a lot of critics this week.
BIG PLAY SLAY ‼️#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/RKuxJ1bl1j
Jalen Hurts has 394 yards of total offense tonight — 333 passing
Jalen Reagor was hit hard by Zach Pascal — and Eagles fans went nuts.
Showing off that #BudLightCelly!@2live_AM | @budlight
📺: #MINvsPHI on ABC pic.twitter.com/7tpjUjHNTo
Another INT for the Defense‼️@2live_AM | #MINvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/NN24ZzAqUh
Avonte Maddox hands Kirk Cousins his 2nd INT in the red zone.
Fletcher Cox got pressure up the middle to force the errant pass.
Cousins is not helping the Vikings in the 3Q.
Very good drive by the Eagles. Took a lot of time off the clock.
Too bad the Jake Elliott 41-yard FG was blocked as the Vikings get the ball in Eagles territory. Possible momentum shifter.
Not only does A.J. Brown get wide open — he’s a monster after the catch. He’s up to 53 yards on the day as the Eagles are driving again.
SLAY back makin’ BIG PLAYS!
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