The Eagles made a primetime statement with a dominating 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football in the home opener at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles gave fans something to cheer about as quarterback Jalen Hurts was masterful, throwing for 333 yards on 26 of 31 passes. He opened the game by connecting on his first 11 pass attempts, setting up a new career high. Hurts had a touchdown pass – a BOMB to Quez Watkins for 53 yards – and two rushing scores as well as 57 more rushing yards.
The defense held its end of the bargain after the Eagles took a 24-7 halftime lead by holding the Vikings scoreless in the second half. Cornerback Darius Slay positioned himself as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week with two interceptions and five pass breakups, while keeping Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson under control. The defense forced three turnovers — all Kirk Cousins interceptions — and the Eagles are 2-0 with their first NFC East showdown next Sunday in Washington. Here’s how the game went:
• The Eagles kicked off the opener and rushed for 82 yards in 11 games as Jalen Hurts finished the practice by hitting three Vikings defensive players for a 3-yard touchdown, his second of the season. DeVonta Smith caught his first pass of the season on the first play from scrimmage, a gain of 5 yards. The key drive play was a third pass and 13 to A.J. Brown, his first reception as an Eagle at Lincoln Financial Field, for a 19-yard gain at Minnesota’s 10-yard line. Hurts was 5-for-5 for 63 yards with passes completed by four different receivers. Miles Sanders added 14 rushing yards on two carries. The Eagles lead 7-0 with 9:09 left in the first quarter.
Highlight: Jalen Hurts keeper on play option goes for 3-yard TD
• The Eagles finished the first quarter with a 7-0 as the defense forced two punts. Darius Slay interrupted a pass intended for wide receiver Justin Jefferson on third down during the Vikings’ first practice. Then James Bradberry denied a pass intended for tight end Irv Cross to end the second drive. The Vikings managed just 10 yards of attack in the first quarter.
• WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Jalen Hurts went deep to Quez Watkins, who got behind the entire Minnesota defense for a 53-yard touchdown to extend the Eagles’ lead to 14-0 with 14:52 left in the first half. Hurts is 10 of 10 for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Highlight: Jalen Hurts dials pitch codes perfectly to Quez Watkins for 53-yard TD
• The Vikings fought back after the Watkins with a nine-game, 75-yard touchdown. The Vikings converted two third-down situations — a third-and-1 with an end around Jalen Reagor for 17 yards, then a third-and-6 with a pass to K.J. Osborne for 15 yards. Tight end Irv Smith caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to bring Minnesota on the board.
• Jalen Hurts has completed his first 11 assists. The first incompleteness came with 7:08 left in the first half on a well-placed fly ball to tight end Dallas Goedert in traffic that the Vikings managed to break up.
• With 1:58 left in the first half, the Eagles extend their lead with a 26-yard touchdown from Jalen Hurts. The drive started with back-to-back passes to DeVonta Smith who gained 19 yards and 16 yards, respectively. Two plays later Boston Scott ran down the middle for a 16 gain and two plays later Miles Sanders added 9 rushing yards before the scoring play. The Eagles lead 21-7.
• Like last week in Detroit, the Eagles took advantage of late-half practice to extend their lead and lead 24-7 at intermission. Pinned to their 5-yard line, Jalen Hurts opened with a 9-yard gain on a designed run. After converting the first down, the Eagles were facing a third-and-6 when the Vikings called timeout. Hurts his DeVonta Smith for 16 yards and then connected with Dallas Goedert on consecutive plays of 19 and 24 yards, respectively, to put the team in position for a 38-yard field goal late in the half.
• Jalen Hurts finished the first half with 251 passing yards on 17 of 20 attempts, 50 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Dallas Goedert leads the pass catchers with 64 yards, but Quez Watkins (69 yards) and DeVonta Smith (64) are right behind him.
A promising Vikings drive was thwarted by Darius Slay’s first interception of the year on a Kirk Cousins pass intended for Justin Jefferson. Slay followed Jefferson for much of the night. The Vikings were at the Eagles 19-yard line before the goal-line interception.
Highlight: Darius Slay completes Justin Jefferson’s route to secure INT red zone
• After the turnover, the Eagles were close to tack on three more runs, but the Vikings blocked Jake Elliott’s 41-yard attempt. Patrick Peterson flipped the offer, and Minnesota returned it to the Eagles 30-yard line. The Eagles moved into scoring position with two completed passes from A.J. Brown who scored 23 and 12 yards respectively.
• The defense took it back after the blocked basket. Kirk Cousins’ third and 7 attempt against Adam Thielen was intercepted by Avonte Maddox for his first pick of the season. Maddox brought it back to the Eagles 15-yard line.
• It was all defensive for the Eagles in the second half. Fletcher Cox came on with a sack and a forced fumble which the Vikings recovered to end a drive and return the ball to the Eagles with just 8:18 left in the game and the score still 24-7.
• The Vikings force a turnover as Kenneth Gainwell couldn’t catch quarterback Jalen Hurts’ short corner or Texas route pass and it was intercepted by former Eagle Jordan Hicks. He was returned 19 yards to the Eagles 9-yard line.
• KILL KILL KILL!!! The Pro Bowl cornerback recorded his second interception of the game in the end zone on a pass to wide receiver Justin Jefferson to recover the ball for the Eagles with 7:07 left.
• The Vikings were just 1v4 in the red zone as defensive end Josh Sweat ended the night with a sack from quarterback Kirk Cousins on the last play of the game – a third and a goal from the Eagles 11-yard line that went for a loss of 7 yards.