Grading the Eagles: Birds are merely average in loss to Vikings | Paul Domowitch
A lot of self-inflicted wounds, including costly fumbles, bad penalties and continued ineffectiveness on third down and in the red zone led to the Eagles' loss to the Vikings Sunday.
A lot of self-inflicted wounds, including costly fumbles, bad penalties and continued ineffectiveness on third down and in the red zone led to the Eagles' 23-21 loss to the Vikings Sunday.
How did the offense, defense and special teams perform? Paul Domowitch offers his grades, and then you can award your own.
The Eagles averaged 4.8 yards per carry, yet ran the ball only six times in the first half and a season-low 17 times overall. Jay Ajayi cost his team a potential touchdown on the Eagles' first possession of the second half when he fumbled at the Minnesota 5-yard line.
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Carson Wentz's overall numbers – a 68.6 completion percentage, 8.9 yards per attempts, 2 touchdowns – were impressive. But for the third straight game since his return, he lost a fumble, this one returned for a touchdown by the Vikings in the second quarter. He wasn't very effective on third down (3-for-7 for 40 yards, one sack, just two first downs).
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The Vikings came into the game ranked dead last in the league in rushing. They had been averaging a league-low 18.2 rushing attempts per game. But even without their top running back, Dalvin Cook, they ran the ball well enough to pick up five rushing first downs and keep the Eagles from teeing off on Kirk Cousins.
Kirk Cousins continually thwarted the Eagles' pass rush by getting the ball out quickly and using his underrated mobility to extend plays. He was sacked just once and completed 30 of 37 passes, including 17 to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen for 207 yards and a touchdown.
Jake Elliott made both of his field goal attempts, but wasn't given an opportunity at a 58-yarder with 9 ½ minutes left that would've made it a 20-17 game if he had made it. DeAndre Carter had four kick returns, which equaled the Eagles' total in the first four games. But he averaged just 21.5 yards per return.
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The Eagles have nobody to blame for this loss but themselves. They had inexcusable drive-killing penalties, including a pair of false starts and a couple of illegal formations, two costly fumbles — one in the red zone and another that the Vikings returned for a TD — and a costly dropped third-down pass in the red zone. This one will leave a bad taste in their mouths for a while.