Thoughts From Eagles-Vikings

bradfordstillsucksDefense Dominates Sam Bradford, Vikings Offense

The Eagles’ defense returned to pre-bye week form today, in a dominating effort against Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense.

The Minnesota offense was held to just three points while the game mattered, turning away four scoring opportunities in Philadelphia territory.

Rodney McLeod has been such a great addition to this defense, and made his presence felt again today. McLeod made two game-changing plays in the first half, coming down with an interception in the endzone on a goal-to-go situation for the Vikings, and broke up another scoring drive for the Vikings with a strip-sack of Bradford.

Sam Bradford had no answers for the Eagles’ defense, turning in a mediocre performance right in line with what one might come to expect from him at this point of his career.

Bradford primarily checked down to his running backs. He rarely took any shots down the field. Once the Vikings got down by multiple scores, it became apparent that the former Eagle starter was not going to be able to rally Minnesota for the multiple scores they badly needed.

When the pass rush came, Bradford’s lack of mobility forced him to simply duck-and-cover, whereas a guy with mobility like Carson Wentz would be able to improvise, extend and make plays.

Bradford fumbled four times, losing two, and threw one interception.

Eagles Escape With Mediocre Offense

The greater problems with the Eagles’ offense were on full display today.

The Birds struggled to move the ball throughout the game on one of the game’s elite defenses. Carson Wentz turned the ball over on each of the team’s first three possessions. The wide receivers were unable to get themselves open or make plays.

The offense as a whole was almost completely ineffective against the elite defense of Minnesota.

This isn’t the last time the Eagles are going to have a game like this.

Fortunately, Carson Wentz was able to shake off the early mistakes, and keep himself poised throughout the game. Wentz’s best moment came towards the end of the first half, on a decision to go for it on fourth and two, the rookie quarterback recovered from a bad snap, and was able to execute an end-around to pick up a first-down and extend the drive which led to a critical three points at the end of the game.

Wentz and the offense performed better in the second half, putting up 10 points. But the early mistakes remain a little troubling, as the game could have easily gotten out of hand in the first quarter if the defense wasn’t able to stand tall and make plays of their own.

Dave Fipp, Best Special Teams Coach In The League

Can you say enough about the job that Dave Fipp has done as special teams coach in his four years in Philadelphia?

For the second straight week, Fipp’s unit produced a touchdown, and Josh Huff’s kick return came at a critical time where the offense just couldn’t get anything going. When you have a unit that can regularly swing games like this on a week-to-week basis, it’s just a tremendous asset.

Quick Thoughts

Offense

  • Doug Pederson isn’t afraid to make some bold calls. In the first half, following the Huff kick return for a touchdown, a penalty on Minnesota gave the Eagles a chance to go for a two-point conversion on the one-yard line. Pederson sent his offense out for a successful try. There was also the fourth-and-two call at the end of the first half that I mentioned above previously.
  • Brandon Brooks had a great block on Ryan Mathews’ 21-yard run at the end of the first half to set up the field goal.
  • Mathews was having a solid game, with over 80 total yards, but fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter for the second time in three weeks.
  • Dorial Green-Beckham caught his first touchdown pass as an Eagle. DGB also drew a pass interference call earlier in the game, and should have drawn a second one on a bad no-call.
  • Josh Huff was involved heavily in the offense this week as well, catching four passes for 39 yards.
  • Still little-to-no involvement for the tight ends. Zach Ertz? One catch for 14 yards. Brent Celek? One catch for seven. Trey Burton? Nothing.
  • Outside of his early false-start, I thought Halapoulivaati Vaitai was much more steady in his second start of the season.

Defense

  • Connor Barwin had his best game of the season. The veteran defensive end picked up his first sack since Opening Day, and forced a fumble on the same play. He took advantage of Minnesota’s weaker offensive tackles, and got himself in a position to make plays.
  • Jordan Hicks was in on 11 tackles, and came down with a sack.
  • Seven stops and a sack for Nigel Bradham.
  • Leodis McKelvin returned to the lineup, and seemed to make it through the game without aggravating the hamstring that has bothered him all season.
  • Ron Brooks, however, left the game with a leg injury.
  • Jalen Mills was shaken up as well…the Eagles are really getting thin at corner.
  • Luckily, Malcolm Jenkins was up sliding into the slot, and Jaylen Watkins picked up the slack at the safety position.
  • The pass rush as a whole was much better today. There was a consistent rush on Bradford, and the team collected a total of five sacks on the day.

Final Thoughts

The Eagles came up big to snap their two-game losing streak, and hand the Minnesota Vikings their first loss of the season.

In what was considered a very difficult stretch of the schedule, its great to see the Eagles come together for a tough win against one of the elite defenses of the NFC.

And now, a showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, for first-place in the division is on the line next Sunday night!

Follow Denny Basens on Twitter, @DennyBasens

39 thoughts on “Thoughts From Eagles-Vikings

  1. Gritty game from 2 good D’s. We made Bradford pay!! If only they didn’t get beat down in 2 trap games we could be undefeated.. But it is what it is. #11 did not have a great game but we lived to tell the tale.

  2. DJB get some balls. Your to damn big to be getting pushed to the ground all the time and letting little DBs muscle him up. He is so damn frustrating.

  3. Howie hits homerun with Bradham and McCloud.. They both are top 4 in defensive players this year for the Eagles.

    1 Graham
    2 Bradham
    3 Jenkins/McCloud

  4. Last week I said that Big V showed me nothing to indicate that he could play in this league. Today Big V showed me I was wrong, I was much more encouraged by what I saw from his overall performance today. I was literally scared about what he was going to not do today in terms of blocking, but he played much better than I anticipated. I hope he continues to improve on what he did today next week.

  5. Oh man it’s been tough here in dc the last two weeks damn skins beat us down and they go ape shit talking about super bowl, so glad eagles won, and they lost, quiet here in dc now. Special teams great, Doug has got to get sproles and small wood more looks , kelce is so weak, big v showed up today, and we gotta find a way to get ertz and Trey the ball more

    1. Zee…imagine what big D will be like all week..the cowgirls look on prime time ,where this eagle dee will be facing a great 0 line..shwartz will befuddle a rookie qb who already theyre erecting a statue in jerrys world..Off a bye ,weve seen evidence of a humbled eagles team a paper champion in purple and now Americas team..I am respectful of savoring each God given day,but. Is it sunday yet?

  6. What does Kenyon Barner have to do to play? Really dont understand the love for Smallwood he is ok at best. Barner is bigger and more explosive IMO and all he ever does is make plays. For the life of me I dont understand why he doesnt get 10 carries a game and play alot more.

  7. So proud of this team. Showing up after two losses At home. They made a statement dropping a great defense today. I knew we were gonna win this game today cause it was just one of those games. All we had to do was hit Bradford and he would fold like a cheap tent.

    Team very well could be 6-0, 5-1 with rookies

  8. Home field has been big advantage for the Eagles this year. I remember, not long ago, when some veteran players were crying that fans booing was causing them to play worse at home…This team is totally different. This defense is awesome at home.

    I like that Wentz is fearless with the ball. It’s a shame he doesn’t have some better pass catchers that could fight for the ball. Today he made some mistakes, but he didn’t change his approach.

  9. Y Wentz made early mistakes, but doesn’t seem to get rattled.

    Bradford….I mean it was laughable…3rd and 10, 2 yrd checkdown, 3r and 15 throw it sideways to the RB…..lol. He’s pathetic.

    Great coaching in the 4th. No threat from the vikings and it was an Eagles run fest.

    Solid win, but against a team that had no chance…….Sleeves in a big game on the road….please.

    1. Troy Aikman commented in the 4th with 4 minutes and change left that the Vikings needed to stop with the short passes and start going down because they were down by 3 scores and needed to get chunks of yardage.

      But we are talking about Sammy Sleeves the king of check downs. Aikman should know that.

    1. Philly played like there season was on the line. And it was. Sets up and makes this Dallas game much more intriguing.

      Rookie to rookie. Who out plays who? 2nd overall pick pick from North Dakota state or 4th rounder Dak Prescott?

      Eagles Dline versus Dallas oline. Can we get half the pressure we got today against the best Oline in football? It’s a divisional game which gives us that familiarity and makes it more likely for us to generate a damn good pass rush againSt Dak and hopefully force him into making mistakes. We ushually dominate Dallas oline every time we play them.

      The year demarco ran for 1900 yards in 2014 we held him to under 100 yards twice on 30 carry games. Will the wide 9 be exposed against the nfl leading rusher? I mean the skins dominated and ran for 240 on us. Lions had success also and there not even known for being good rushing teams.

      Maybe it was the rust.

      People have been worrying if Jim Schwartz gets head coaching calls, I think we should worry more about Coach Fipp

  10. Can anybody remember the last time a team was so successful in free agency?

    Not only did Howie draft wentz, get all the picks back, resign our own homegrown talent,

    But the additions of Brandon Brooks, Nigel bradham, Rodney McLeod, leodis mckelvin, Ron Brooks, Tulloch. I mean damn! We hit the jackpot on all of them basically.

    Signed Malcolm, sproles, and Nolan Carroll also who were free agents under Chip Kelly.
    Eagles have hit home runs on a lot of free agents.

    One of the best off seasons in not only Eagles, but nfl history. Only thing we could have done better was keeping Walter Thurmond as a corner.

    Corner, Lb, DE on defensive side of ball in draft
    Oline, WR, maybe rb? On offense.

    Still have a few holes on roster, but if Howie can continue to build this team in the right direction in year 2 like he did in year 1 this could get scary.

    Sign Desean? Alshon? dez Bryant? Maybe josh Gordon? For that empty star power spot on offense. Imagine what a dez Bryant would open up for a Jordan Matthews and DGB and even Nelson? Hell even the run game and funny ends. I would not mind bringing in one of those guys above. Josh could come on a low risk high reward type deal.

    Draft oline in first round, and go corner of Lb in second

  11. Next years draft wish list..

    1. O line
    2. Legit #1 WR
    3. RB (thumper who can bang between the tackles)
    4. Secondary
    5. LB

    Next weeks game will be a true testament to this football team. Contain Zeke, and frustrate Dak into making bad throws. We need to utilize our TE’s more in the middle of the field. I want to see that 3 TE set formation..Go Eagles!!

  12. Pederson does what Reid never could do beat a good team. Well Im siure Reid did but it never seemed like he did. It always seemed like we would get blown out by the upper echelon teams especially AFC teams. Good job Dougie P.

  13. Great win!!!

    In other news I just read one of the funniest posts ever on here.

    Gmcliff wrote he received a job offer from the Eagles on linked in. Haaaaa

  14. As for the game, Sam showed us all the ‘skills’ that endeared him to us. Poor pocket awareness/toughness, check down passes and failed leadership. His defenders have all disappeared….

      1. not sure what to make of wentz yesterday. for sure an awful game, but he made a lot of brilliant reads but made poor throws. he left at least 2 tds on the field, against a top 3 or top 5 d, he played resilient and battled so you have to love that but he needs to hit his throws

        1. What I rewatched and still cant figure out,was why so many snaps were errant and tossed around like a hot potato..one bad npunce there,and were looking at yet more dissaray..this must be corrected..I saw sam I am fake limp and assuming his coach would shelve him when the outcome was no longer in question..This is the spiral I was hoping to see from minny..checkdown charlie tried to checkout charlie and his coach said..get back in there..zoom in on slouch shoulders…pathetic

          1. As for what to think of Wentz….compare him to the other Qbs who have played the Vikes this year…

            Mariotta 25 of 41 (61%) for 271 with 2 td and a pick 6 in a 25-16 loss. 60 yards and a maningless td came in the final minute of garbage time. Anothyer int called back on a roughing the passer pen.

            Wentz Certainly better in the second half.

            Arron Rodgers 20-36 (55%) for 213 1td 1 int 5 sacks 3 fumbles (1 lost) in a 17-14 loss

            I think Wentz played better than Rodgers.

            Cam Newton 21-35 for 262 otd and 3 Ints 8 sacks in a 22-10 loss

            Wentz played better than Newton

            Eli Manning 25 of 45 (55%) for 261 0td 1 int in a 24-10 loss.

            I think Wentz was better than Eli

            Brock Osweiller 19 of 42 (45%) for 184 1td 1 int 4 sacks and a fumble in a 31-13 loss. Only TD came at end of 4th Q in garbage time.

            Wentz was better.

            So, compared to his peers, Wentz, in his 6th game ever…..

            16 of 28 (57%) for 138 1td 2 int 3 fumbles is pretty good.

            Especially when you think about the 2nd half he had where he inproved pretty dramatically after the early struggles.

              1. No threat at all. Honestly, was anyone worried?? Sooo much fun to watch, and sooooo glad I’m now on the other side watching those 3rd and 15 one look swing passes followed by the slow walk to the sidelines, chin resting on his chest.

                And a useless TD with 38 seconds left. Vintage Sleeves.

  15. Theres no reason dez wont be back,and ill be watching how shwartz handles that ..The cowgirls are 21 of 22 in red zone this season ,with 15 tds..interesting to note the cowgirls will face a 4th string qb afterwards in Cleveland and a benless steeler team. Contrast the Eagles vs ny and atlanta..

    1. I agree Ciggy. We forget, this is a rookie QB who didn’t start getting 1st team reps until 6 weeks ago. EVERY NFL rookie, especially a QB, will go through ups and downs early on. The great thing was that even when he was having a poor game (52 QBR) was that he continued to battle, continued to lead and best of all we got a WIN.

      Teams win, players don’t. The defense was strong, overcame turnovers from the offense and special teams added a score. This is another step in Wentz’s development, and truthfully, Pederson’s development also. Schwartz had his defense in an aggressive mode, and had a good scheme.

      Moving on, we have a big one coming this week. We looked bad at the last division foe, and I would expect to see a big dose of Elliott and the run game until we prove we can stop it. Cowboys have got some weapons, so even if we stop one aspect that can look at Prescott and their receiver corp for help. NFC East has gotten strong very quick, but no doubt that the Birds are right into the middle of the mix will show our worth this Sunday night.

      GO BIRDS!!!!

  16. Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune summed up Sam Bradford’s performance against the Eagles saying this:
    He missed open receivers and showed poor pocket awareness. He looked spooked even when there were no ghosts.

    Enough said!

  17. In the end I just don’t think the eagles have the horses. I was expecting much improvement out of the WR’s and its just not happening. Line is starting to get nicked up and ryan matthews is a fumble factory. Cowboys are going to play keep away.

    1. We win this game and we very well can be sitting at 6-2 if we beat the Giants. With there running game problems and oline we should destroy and get pressure on Eli like always more then ever.

      U get to 6-2 your a fluke loss away from 7-1. Crazy. I pray those two losses were flukes. Defense still played amazing in second half, but still. Philly just allowed there first second half td all year but it was in garbage time.

      We have to beat Dallas man. Dak will have a bad game eventually right? This will be the best team he has faced all year.

      Don’t give me Green Bay or cincy. Both have been very pedestrian as of late. Packers defense is awful and can’t get pressure to save there life. No running game and drops for
      Rodgers all year.

      Stack the box!! 8 deep. Press and jam At the LOS. take away the run game as much as possible and try to let Dak beat u from the pocket. Dez is not 100 percent. And just pray Measely Beasely doesn’t torch Malcolm again.

      I’m trying to enjoy this Vikings win today. But I cannot stop dreaming and thinking about Sunday. Haven’t been this excited for a long time.

      Dak vs Carson
      Dallas oline versus Philly dline

      Could be a matchup we see and witness for the next decade +

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