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Defense Unable To Slow Down Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS -- A streak of nine consecutive games allowing 21 or fewer points came to a screeching halt on Sunday against a Minnesota Vikings minus its top two running backs, its starting right guard and its starting tight end.

Minnesota's Matt Cassel played a brilliant game at quarterback and the Eagles missed a myriad of tackles in allowing 455 total net yards, 29 first downs and, most important, 48 points in a 48-30 loss.

"I wish I had an answer right now, I've got to watch the tape, but we just weren't playing tight enough coverage," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "That's attached to the rush, too. It's all attached together. It's not just the coverage giving up plays. It's the rush that has to get there. Collectively as a defense, we came up really short today."

Running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were sidelined with injuries, as was right guard Brandon Fusco and tight end John Carlson, but that didn't matter because Cassel executed the game plan of short passes, bubble screens and some deep passes to virtual perfection.

Cassel completed 26-of-35 attempts for 382 yards with three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and an interception for a 116.6 QB rating. Minnesota didn't punt until the third quarter, by which time it had scored 24 points and put the Eagles in severe catch-up mode.

"He did a great job today," Davis said. "Give the Minnesota Vikings credit, the plan, the quarterback, the execution, the accuracy, the timing, we didn't break their rhythm. And that's what we always talk about, how do we break the rhythm of the offense. We didn't break their rhythm today and all of the credit goes to them." 

A Mychal Kendricks interception gave the Eagles some spark as they drew to within 27-22 late in the third quarter, but the defense couldn't get off the field on the next Minnesota drive. A completion to tight end Chase Ford on third and 14 put the Vikings on the Philadelphia 5-yard line and two plays later running back Matt Asiata scored his second touchdown of the game. Asiata rushed for only 51 yards, but had three touchdowns in his first-career start.

Third downs proved the downfall for the defense. Minnesota converted 8-of-13 (62 percent) of them.

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