After a rocky start filled with turnovers for both teams, the Eagles were able to snap their two-game losing streak and hand the Vikings their first loss of the 2016 season. When the clock hit zero, Philadelphia officially defeated Minnesota, 21-10.
Special Teams Unit Plays A Key Role
To open the scoring on Sunday, Vikings' kicker Blair Walsh connected on a 48-yard field goal with 9:05 remaining in the second quarter. The Eagles wouldn't be down for long though. On the ensuing kickoff, Josh Huff returned the ball 98 yards and flipped into the end zone for the team's first touchdown of the afternoon. It also marked the first time in franchise history that Philadelphia had kickoff return touchdowns in back-to-back games.
Caleb Sturgis came out to kick the extra point, but on the attempt, Minnesota was flagged for roughing the kicker. Philadelphia then elected to go for the two-point conversion from the 1-yard line. Quarterback Carson Wentz ran the ball up the middle and into the end zone for the additional points, giving the Eagles an 8-3 lead.
That return touchdown wouldn't be the last big play from the Eagles' special teams unit either.
After a three-and-out for the Eagles' offense in the fourth quarter, Donnie Jones booted the ball 42 yards toward Minnesota's returner Marcus Sherels. However, Sherels muffed the punt and Trey Burton fell on it, regaining possession for his team at the Minnesota 49. The play ultimately resulted in three points for Philadelphia after a 29-yard field goal by Sturgis, giving the team the 21-3 lead with 6:10 left in the game.
Eagles Defense Dominates
After two less than perfect outings, the Eagles' defense was back to its early-season ways on Sunday. Throughout the entirety of the game, Philadelphia held the Vikings to just 10 total points, seven of which came on a touchdown with 34 seconds remaining in the game. The unit consistently put pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford, sacking him six times and forcing four turnovers. The Vikings had not turned the ball over on offense in their first five games.
Green-Beckham Scores First TD An An Eagle
The Eagles' first offensive possession of the second half went much better than its opening drive of the game. Starting from the Philadelphia 23-yard line, the Eagles moved 77 yards in 5:51, with the biggest play being a 27-yard Ryan Mathews catch-and-run, the longest pass play of the day for the Eagles. Quarterback Carson Wentz finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown toss to Dorial Green-Beckham with 5:49 remaining in the third.
Rodney McLeod At It Again
After picking off Bradford in the first quarter, safety Rodney McLeod added to his big-play list just prior to halftime. With 2:51 to go in the half, the Vikings were at the Philadelphia 31. Minnesota snapped the ball and in came McLeod, who sacked Braford on a blitz and stripped the ball. Beau Allen recovered the fumble and returned it 10 yards to the Eagles' 48-yard line. The turnover led to a 35-yard field goal, putting the Eagles up 11-3 at the intermission.
Turnovers Define The First Quarter
It was a sloppy start to Sunday afternoon's game, with the Eagles and Vikings combining for five turnovers (on consecutive drives) in the opening 10 minutes of play. Philadelphia was credited with the first one when Wentz threw his second interception of the year. Minnesota took over at the Philadelphia 2-yard line, but three plays later, it was Minnesota's Bradford who then gave the ball back to the Eagles. McLeod picked him off in the end zone, putting the football back in the Eagles' hands at their own 20. Up to that point, the Vikings had not had on offensive turnover on the season.
Then on the Eagles' next offensive possession, Wentz and running back Darren Sproles had a bad exchange and fumbled the ball. Once again, the Vikings recovered. But, the Eagles' defense wouldn't let Minnesota have the ball long. Connor Barwin sacked Bradford and forced a fumble on the very next play. Malcolm Jenkins recovered the fumble and ran it back for what looked to be a touchdown and the first points of the game. However, after reviewing the play, Jenkins was touched down at the Philadelphia 25.
Unfortunately, Wentz was intercepted for the second time on the afternoon during the following drive. The first-quarter turnovers ended there, and shockingly, none of them resulted in points for either team.
In the first quarter, cornerback Ron Brooks suffered a knee injury. He was carted off the field and was out for the remainder of the game. Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) is also out.
Tackle Jason Peters (biceps) was announced as questionable to return during the fourth quarter.
The Eagles handed the Vikings their first loss of the 2016 season as QB Sam Bradford made his return to Philadelphia to face Carson Wentz.