The Eagles defeat the Vikings 34-28 as the run game paves the way

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FILE – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is set to sign one of the richest deals in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, including $179.3 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The Eagles announced on Monday, April 17, “QB1 is here to stay,” but terms were not yet announced, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

The Eagles took on the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night football and it started just like the Patriots game. The offense could not execute on that first drive and score a touchdown so they instead settled for a field goal. 

The defense and special teams caused several turnovers while Jalen Hurts threw his first interception in back back-to-back-to-back series. It took a while but the Eagles offense found their rhythm on the ground.

A new RB1 for the Eagles?

With Kenny Gainwell out of the game, D’Andre Swift shined brighter than expected. Swift was shifty in between tackles as he tallied 175 rushing yards and helped the Eagles offense find their identity once again. Swift averaged 6.3 yards per carry which was significantly better than Gainwell’s average in the week before. 

As slick and smooth as Swift was, he wasn’t the star of the show for the Eagles. Instead, it was DeVonta Smith, who tallied 131 receiving yards on 4 receptions in addition to one touchdown. The pass game was a total struggle but Smitb was the lone bright spot.

Eagles Thursday night football
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) looks for an opening while under pressure from New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Hurts had moments where he looked like he was in control but Brian Flores continued to adjust on the fly against the former MVP runner-up which led to the Eagles focusing on the ground game. They finally let the game come to them as opposed to forcing the matter like they did against the Patriots.

Jalen Hurts has yet to find his footing for Philly but the good news is that the Eagles are 2-0 and have time to wait for him. He passed for 181 and 1 touchdown pass against the Flores’ led Vikings defense but he looked much sharper against them than he did against the Pats.

As for the defense, they played better than okay. The defensive line forced Kirk Cousins into uncomfortable moments while the young corners and Darius Slay held their own. They did have moments where they lost their footing but Minnesota’s mishaps overshadowed that.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles’ offense could not close out the game right away as they went three and out. They gave the Vikings a chance to fight back but Minnesota continued to shoot themselves in the foot with time winding down. 

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018 in Philadelphia. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

With Avonte Maddox out, the Vikings adjusted to the loss and moved Justin Jefferson around. This led to a big K.J. Osborn touchdown which brought the Vikings closer with the score at 27-20 in favor of the Eagles. It was broken coverage by a defense that had continuously struggled with miscommunication throughout the game.

The Eagles responded with patience as they relied on Swift to help put away the Vikings. On third down, Hurts found A.J. Brown for a big first down which led to a big 43-yard run by D’Andre Swift. Swift then scored on the next play to help put away the Vikings. 

The Eagles have started the season at 2-0 and will now face the Tampa Buccaneers in week 3 on Monday Night football. This should give the team enough time to regroup and hopefully work on this offense. 

AP Photo/Matt Rourke