Good morning, Eagles fans. There's no time to dwell on yesterday's 23-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It's time to turn the page as the Eagles will now travel on a short week up the turnpike to face the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football. Here's everything you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft, beginning with the details of the gut-wrenching loss.
1. Top-5 Key Moments in Loss to Vikings
1. The Vikings scored just one offensive touchdown on Sunday and had two missed field goals. But a key turning point came when the Eagles were driving in the second quarter in a tie game. Pass protection broke down and Wentz was stripped of the ball. It fell right into the hands of Vikings' defensive tackle Lival Joseph who ran it back for a touchdown.
2. With less than a minute to go in the second half, the Eagles tried to hold off the Vikings offense in Philadelphia territory. On second-and-6 from the 30, Michael Bennett wrapped quarterback Kirk Cousins for a crucial sack. However, the play was controversially flagged for roughing the passer and the Vikings scored two plays later. Eagles fans and teammates did not agree with the call and neither did Sunday Night Football Rules Analyst Terry McAulay.
3. The Eagles started the second half with what appeared to be their best offensive drive of the game down 17-3. But when they got to the red zone, running back Jay Ajayi fumbled the football. The Vikings took over and used a 68-yard pass to Thielen on the very next play to flip the field and the script.
4. The Eagles looked to make a comeback with a defensive stop and then a drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Wendell Smallwood. Head Coach Doug Pederson decided to try a two-point conversion and it was successful, making it a six-point game early in the fourth quarter.
5. The Eagles' defense made the stop it needed next and then some. After a Vikings toss in the backfield was dropped, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham picked up the fumble to give the Eagles offense the ball at the 30-yard line. But the offense couldn't make the most of a golden opportunity, punting the ball away following crippling penalties. The Vikings were able to put together a long drive that ended with a field goal and all but sealed their victory.
2. Mistakes Cripple Offense Once Again
Sunday was more of the same for an Eagles offense that hasn't been able to quite put it together this season. In the first half, the Eagles' offense scored just three points and had a turnover that immediately turned into seven points for the Vikings. Mistakes, penalties, and another slow start doomed the Eagles' offense and kept them from taking a winnable game in the second half. Eagles' Insider Dave Spadaro wrote about what went wrong in another forgettable offensive day:
The Eagles got back into the game in the early moments of the fourth quarter as they drove 66 yards in 10 plays and scored on a Wentz pass to Smallwood, and then Smallwood dashed to the edge and dived to the pylon for the two-point conversion to close the deficit to 20-14. The defense did its part when linebacker Nigel Bradham pounced on a Vikings fumble when Cousins lateraled to running back Roc Thomas and Thomas couldn’t handle the ball. The Eagles had the football at Minnesota’s 30-yard line, with a chance to take the lead. But … on first down from there the Eagles were penalized for illegal formation and Wentz passed incomplete for wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on first-and-15. On second-and-10 after a Vikings neutral zone infraction, Wentz threw incomplete as he was pressured and was penalized for intentional grounding. On third-and-20 from the Vikings' 40, Wentz passed incomplete for Jeffery – credit safety Harrison Smith for knocking the ball loose – down the field. Threat over.
“That’s a possession that we need to do something with. We need points there,” center Jason Kelce said. “Last year, we turned that opportunity into a touchdown. We need to get back to doing that.”
3. Defensive Boiling Point
The defense also had its share of mistakes, breakdowns, and even confusion in the loss to the Vikings. Big plays killed the Eagles as Minnesota's top receivers found breakdowns in the secondary consistently to get open. The defensive line got pressure all game but couldn't sack Cousins more than once (It could have been twice if not for a controversial call). And with the game on the line, the defense allowed a drive of more than six minutes that ended with a back-breaking field goal. Frustration defined the defense's day:
“We just have to make sure that we correct our mistakes,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “Like Malcolm (Jenkins) said today, ‘We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we have to fix it ourselves.’ Self-inflicted wounds just can’t fly – you don’t win games like that.
“We just have to stop putting ourselves in that position where we have to come from behind. We have to have a complete game and we know that.”
4. Ertz's dominance
A bright spot for the offense is that tight end Zach Ertz has picked up where he left off last season with a dominant first five games -- not just for a tight end, but as a receiver.
Ertz led the Eagles with 10 receptions for 110 yards (11.0 avg.) and 1 TD yesterday and became the first Eagle to register 10+ receptions and 100+ receiving yards in back-to-back games since Pete Pihos from 12/4/55-12/11/55. Ertz is the first NFL tight end to accomplish the feat since Tony Gonzalez with Kansas City from 12/25/04-1/2/05.
Ertz surpassed DeSean Jackson (356, 2008-13) for the 8th-most receptions in Eagles history as he now has 362. Ertz needs only one reception to tie Mike Quick (363, 1982-90) for the 7th-most catches in franchise history.
His 41 receptions rank third in NFL of all players and first among tight ends (No. 2 Jared Cook has 30). Ertz's 437 receiving yards ranks ninth in NFL among all receivers and first among tight ends (No. 2 Travis Kelce has 407). Ertz also has a franchise-record eight career games with 10+ receptions, which are the third-most by an NFL tight end since 1999, behind Tony Gonzalez (15) and Jason Witten (12).
Vikings vs. Eagles: October 7
Take a look at the best photos from the Eagles' Week 5 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
5. Toyota Player of the Week
Ertz was among three players that stood out in yesterday's game and gave the Eagles a chance to pull out a win. Vaughn Johnson put together three nominees for Toyota Player of the Week, which you can vote for here.