Michael Vick was unable to deliver a miracle this time around.
The Vikings were able to do on Tuesday night what the Giants couldn't do last week - finish the job against the team that entered the game with the league's top-ranked offense in terms of yards and second-ranked scoring offense. Never able to get into a rhythm, the Eagles were beat by the Vikings 24-14 and will enter postseason as the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs.
"We flat out played terrible in all aspects. We didn't block great. We didn't run great. Offensively, we stunk," tight end Brent Celek said. "That's all there is to it."
Vick was harassed by the Vikings defense which used an array of blitzes to keep the Eagles off-kilter throughout the game. Vick finished 25-of-43 for 263 yards with two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing) and an interception for a un-Vick-like 74.1 passer rating. Vick carried the load on the ground with 63 yards on eight rushes, but was also sacked six times. One of the game-changing plays came on cornerback Antoine Winfield's sack, strip and 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter near the end of the first half as the Eagles were driving.
Offensive tackle Winston Justice said that there were a number of communication breakdowns along the offensive line that led to the sacks.
"That is unacceptable. We can't expect to win games like that," Justice said. "We just can't play and hope things happen and that is basically what we did tonight. We just need to get better."
Running back LeSean McCoy had 17 touches, but totaled just 85 yards. McCoy's longest play, a 28-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass, breathed some life into the offense in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were trying to rally from. Heck, after the 28-point fourth quarter against the Giants, what's 10 points? However, Vick was sacked for the final time on second-and-10 from the Vikings' 42 and the drive stalled.
"We just didn't handle our business," McCoy said. "We came out fired up and we knew that the stakes were high. We just didn't answer. We played terrible."
Celek was the most productive offensive player with 10 catches for 97 yards. The Vikings did a tremendous job of not allowing DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to beat them deep while applying pressure. Maclin had six catches for 74 yards, and Jackson was held to two grabs for 32 yards.
"We just didn't play well. There are times you win and times you lose. Today was one of those days we didn't play well and we lost," Jackson said. "As far as any other explanations, I can't speak to that. I am just here to say we didn't play well and we got our butts kicked."
It is now certain that the Eagles will host a team at Lincoln Financial Field in the wild card round of the playoffs. Should the starters get a rest against Dallas on Sunday, the offense has until then to figure out a way to get back on track.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:25 a.m., December 29