MINNEAPOLIS — Andre Dillard hadn’t played more than half a dozen offensive snaps in a game before Sunday, when Eagles left tackle Jason Peters suffered a knee injury in the first half of a 38-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Peters briefly returned, but Dillard ended up playing much of the game against the NFL’s third-ranked defense coming in. Dillard took the field with the Eagles trailing, forced to throw more than they had envisioned, the U.S. Bank crowd howling, and the Vikings horn blasting over the PA system.
“That’s football. That’s how it goes sometimes,” Dillard said.
The Eagles’ offensive line played below its usual standard across the board. Dillard didn’t seem to do anything terrible or anything really great, either.
There was no immediate word on the severity of Peters’ injury. Dillard said he didn’t know if he will be asked to start next Sunday night at Dallas, which also got a rude surprise Sunday, losing, 24-22, at the New York Jets.
“I think it was a good learning experience, more than anything, just going against some of the best D-linemen in the league and just getting more experience as I go,” said Dillard, the team’s first-round rookie.
Dillard said he gets some first-team practice reps each week, just in case. Peters, 37, missed five plays against the Jets the week before, 17 plays in the Detroit game.
“Learning the pace of the game and the quality of opponents I’ll be going against in the future,” Dillard said. “I don’t see this as a negative for me at all. You never really lose. You win, or you learn from it.”
The Eagles’ fake field goal just before halftime was a disaster, as Jake Elliott’s pass to Dallas Goedert was intercepted by Everson Griffen. The Eagles could have gotten within 24-13 on a 38-yard field goal, but they opted to try a fake with just 20 seconds left in the second quarter and no timeouts remaining.
Doug Pederson, who shocked the Patriots just before halftime of Super Bowl LII on the same field with a Trey Burton touchdown pass to Nick Foles, said the idea was that Goedert would get the first down on fourth-and-4 and get out of bounds in time to give the Eagles a shot or two at the end zone. A lot had to happen there, for a team that was just starting to pull itself together after a horrible start.
Elliott, who had hit a 53-yarder to get the Eagles on the board, said the Eagles were going to kick the field goal if they didn’t get the look they wanted. They got the look, both Elliott and Pederson said, though the Vikings did not seem surprised, and Goedert sure seemed to be covered.