A Comprehensive Victory – 27 Immediate Takeaways from Eagles 24, Vikings 7

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that couldn’t have gone any better. Talk about a wonderfully enjoyable game. Your town, your team, your Philadelphia Eagles dismantled Skol on Monday night, and it wasn’t particularly close. Jalen Hurts looked like prime Donovan McNabb out there while Kirk Cousins looked like prime Christian Hackenberg. One guy makes $40 million and the other guy a little more than a mill, so Hurts earned his paycheck 40 times over while Cousins should be docked for gross negligence.

On the other side, Jonathan Gannon’s defense held Minnesota to 7 points and 264yards. The MUCH MALIGNED coordinator mixed his fronts and threw pressure at Cousins as well, which should spare us the incessant bitching for at least a full week as we enjoy the Eagles improving to 2-0 and so far looking like a legit contender coming out of the NFC.

Takeaways:

1) I made an effort to watch this game while staying off social media entirely. It was a success. I think I only tweeted about one topic and avoided the knee-jerk, bullshit Negadelphia reaction. It was good to just focus on watching football and I highly recommend it.

2) Nice to see DeVonta Smith with a reception on the first play of the game. Easy pitch and catch to get him going. They did this last week with a tunnel screen for A.J. Brown, which opened the floodgates. Smith finished with seven receptions for 80 yards after putting up a week 1 donut.

3) I really liked that middle screen on the first drive. The timing just got a little borked. Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo played it perfectly but Landon Dickerson wandered too far down the field. In the NFL, you can only be one yard off the line of scrimmage when a pass is thrown:

They got whistled for another one of these on the second drive, again on Landon Dickerson, then on the third drive with Seumalo, which was a straightforward RPO. This was an issue at times last year and shouldn’t be an issue this year, so they need to clean it up.

4) Hurts on the opening drive: 5/5, 63 yards, two carries for seven yards and a touchdown. Can’t start much better than that. He had one of his best passing games as an Eagle, maybe his best actually. I really meant it when I wrote earlier that he looked like McNabb out there at times. He also did a nice job of protecting himself by sliding and getting the ball out as well.

5) Pretty good flub by Joe Buck on the first punt Minnesota punt: “Rick Lovato, the long snapper, down there to make the stop.” Huh? He plays for the Eagles. That was 45 for the other team, Troy Dye.

6) The OPI on DeVonta Smith was a shitty call, but the refs must have saw him put his hand out and make the slightest of contact. That’s the only thing I can think of there.

7) The first boo for Jalen Reagor was immense. Could hear it loud and clear on television. I can’t believe they got the Eagles for a first down with that end-around though. They ended up scoring on that drive but Reagor didn’t do much overall, finishing with 29 all purpose yards.

8) Beautiful 53-yard touchdown to Quez Watkins. Minnesota’s safety totally blew the coverage and Hurts just lofted it up there for an easy score. Good play design if you think about it, with that Dallas Goedert out route paired with the Watkins go route.

9) That “illegal contact” penalty on Minnesota was total bullshit. We’ll consider if a make up call for the Smith OPI.

10) Hurts’ best throw of the game may have been that 2nd and 12 toss that Dallas Goedert couldn’t bring in. Brilliant play from the DB there, but to see Jalen drop it right into the bucket was great. That was actually his first incompletion. He was 12/12 for 157 and a touchdown before that sequence.

11) They used the draw play to success on the second-to-last drive of the first half, kind of like a reverse play action. Normally, you think of running to set up the pass, right? But in that case they started by throwing the ball, then hit a soft Minnesota front with a couple of counters before Hurts had the big touchdown run. Fantastic play calling on that drive.

12) Irv Smith dropping a touchdown pass? Man that was huge. Would have been a seven or 10 point game at the half if they finished that play

13) Jonathan Gannon made adjustments. Notably, he opened a number of drives with five down linemen, tripling up with Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, and Javon Hargrave all on the field at the same time. And in the fourth quarter following the turnover, he blitzed the shit out of Cousins, resulting in a red zone interception.

14) Slay giving that ball to James Harden means that Harden is now the new Mike Trout.

15) Ugly ass blocked field goal. Oof. Arryn Siposs did a GREAT job running down the dude and preventing a TD. Could have been a turning point in the game if Minnesota came back there to cut the lead to 10. Arryn Siposs has that DAWG in him.

16) Agree with this:

17) Big Play Slay did a brilliant job on Justin Jefferson all night long. Just blanketed him all over the field and earned those two interceptions. He was around the ball on seemingly every target that came his direction and should win weekly NFL honors for his performance.

18) That Eagles interception was a bummer. Timing looked off, but bottom line is the ball hit Kenneth Gainwell on the hands, so what can you do there? Jordan Hicks with a pick is not something I predicted coming into the game.

19) The only negative I can think of, aside from the blocked field goal and pick, was penalties, 8 total for 60 yards. It’s week 2, so they’ll get it cleaned up.

20) Bonus negative that I just thought of: not sure Britain Covey is doing anything for me at punt returner. Could also go for a legit kick returner. The guys they have are serviceable, but it feels like they can explore the margins here and improve.

21) Another balanced offensive output. They went for 163 on the ground in addition to that 323 through the air. 4.7 YPC for Miles Sanders in this game.

22) Targets were so much more spread out in week 2. Hurts hit eight different guys, going to A.J. Brown eight times. Smith seven, and Goedert six.

23) Minnesota finished 4-12 on third down, so a huge improvement there for the defense. Gannon is officially OFF THE HOT SEAT.

24) Still need to see more from Haason Reddick.

25) They hammered Minnesota in time of possession. Reminder: Doug’s Super Bowl team was elite in this department and won the war of attrition in almost every single game that year.

26) What the fuck was this?

27) There was zero reason for two Monday Night Football games to be on at the same time. Who is doing the NFL schedule? We want a doubleheader, not overlap. Outrageous!

They ran this little bug on the top left of the screen for a portion of the game, which was annoying:

“Now on ESPN”

No shit man. I chose to watch this game. I don’t need to know that the other game is “now on ESPN.” Likewise, Titans and Bills fan don’t need a constant reminder of what’s happening in the Eagles/Vikings game, right? ESPN/ABC missed the mark with this. It was bothersome, but the game was fantastic. Go Birds.

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