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Instant Analysis: Eagles blown out by Vikings

Eliot Shorr-Parks
October 13, 2019 - 4:08 pm
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This is not how the Eagles wanted to start their three-game road trip. 

The Eagles are now 3-3 following their 38-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, a game in which they (once again) fell behind early and never held a lead in. There is plenty of blame to go around for this one, as the defense was terrible, the offense was bad when it mattered for most of the day and the coaching staff made some pretty suspect decisions. 

Here are some takeaways from the Eagles’ loss: 

Falling Behind: The Eagles’ defense allowed the Vikings to go right down the field to start the game, something that is becoming a common theme in Eagles’ games. The defense allowed two third downs on the play, including a 3rd-and-13 and a 3rd-and-1. The drive was capped off by a touchdown from quarterback Kirk Cousins to receiver Adam Thielin. 

Here is how the Eagles have started games so far this season, other than their game against the terrible New York Jets:

Washington: Behind 20-7

Falcons: Behind 17-6

Lions: Behind 20-10

Packers: Behind 10-0

Vikings: Behind 10-0

That is on all phases of the team — the offense, the defense and the coaching staff. The Eagles won't be a serious contender for a Super Bowl until they can figure out a way to stop falling behind in every game.  

Fake Field Goal: The Eagles have won a lot of games because of how aggressive Doug Pederson is — but it cost them on Sunday. Pederson called for a fake field goal with 20 seconds left in the first half and the ball on the 21-yard line. The play was a complete disaster — kicker Jake Elliott had no where to go with the ball and it fell incomplete. The issue is, even if Elliott had completed a short pass, the Eagles had no time outs — meaning the chances of them being able to run another play or take advantage of the conversion were very small. On a day where the offense was struggling to score, passing on three points for a low-percentage play felt like a risk not worth taking.

Carson Wentz: As has been the case many times this season, Wentz got off to a slow start on Sunday as his team fell behind early. Part of the reason is the Eagles came out with a clear plan to run the ball, taking it out of Wentz’s hands. Another is he struggled with his accuracy early on, putting a few passes high, something he has a tendency to do. 

Wentz started an Eagles’ comeback, however, with a great touchdown throw to receiver Alshon Jeffery with just over 12 minutes to play in the third quarter. After getting some pressure, Wentz navigated the pocket perfectly, keeping the play alive and his eyes down the field before finding Jeffery in the front of the end zone for a score. 

On the next possession, however, the Eagles’ offense managed only 23 yards on six plays before having to punt the ball. The Vikings would score on the next possession to essentially put the game away. 

Overall, Wentz was not terrible, but as the leader of the offense, he has to hold some of the blame for the offense once again coming up very small in a big spot on the road. He has to improve from the pocket and improve his accuracy. If he doesn't, the offense -- which scored 17 points last week and 20 on Sunday -- will not improve, even when DeSean Jackson does come back. 

Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas:  It was not a great day for the Eagles’ young cornerbacks, to say the least. Vikings came out firing at cornerback Sidney Jones, throwing the ball in his direction three times on the opening drive, including a six-yard touchdown to receiver Adam Thielin in which Jones was beaten badly on the line of scrimmage. After picking on Jones they turned to Rasul Douglas, who they beat twice for long touchdowns in the second quarter. Douglas gave up 62-and-51 yard scores to Stefon Diggs in the second quarter, almost on back-to-back plays if you take away the Eagles’ turn on offense. 

Jones left the game briefly in the third quarter, and his backup Craig James was quickly beat for another touchdown on a 11-yard catch by Diggs in the back of the end zone. 

Running the ball: Eagles came out with a clear plan of running the ball — a curious plan considering how strong the Vikings have been against the run this season. The plan did not work, as they ran the ball on five of their first seven plays, gaining 15 yards for an average of only three-yards per carry. The offense started to turn things around once they put the ball in the air. With how often this team falls behind early, questionable decisions like the one on Sunday to run the ball so much early look even more suspect. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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