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September 20, 2022

The three most pivotal plays in the Eagles' win over the Vikings

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-Dallas-Goedert-Eagles-Vikings-2022 Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Jalen Hurts celebrating a 26-yard touchdown where he bullied his way into the end zone.

With a completely dominant first half that set the tone for the remainder of the game, the Eagles took down the Vikings 24-7 on Monday Night Football. It was the most Lincoln Financial Field has rocked since, well, the last time the Eagles hosted Minnesota for a night game, the iconic 38-7 performance in the 2017 NFC Championship Game. The Eagles might not have hit that exact mark, but this victory is still going to send Philadelphia into an utter frenzy this week.

As I did after the Eagles' Week 1 W over the Lions, here are the three most pivotal plays from a wild night in South Philadelphia:

Eagles ball, 2nd and 8, Philadelphia 47, 15:00 remaining in the second quarter, Eagles 7, Vikings 0

Cruising into the second quarter with a seven-point lead, the Eagles had a chance to start separating themselves from the Vikings. That's exactly what Jalen Hurts did! In one of his best throws as a pro, Hurts stood tall in the pocket and hit Quez Watkins for a 53-yard bomb where Watkins burned everyone on the Minnesota defense. It was as if the safeties forgot there was an outside wide receiver on the play:

The Linc, of course, went ballistic. Building a 14-point first-half lead is obviously an easy way for the Eagles to put themselves on the road to victory, but it also showcased development from Hurts that was absent from his first two seasons in Philadelphia. It was a play, on national television at that, that put the football world on notice that he's not the NFL passer some make him out to be. 

Hey, Watkins is "fast Batman" for a reason. 

Also, just saying...

Eagles ball, 3rd and 2, Minnesota 26, 2:09 remaining in the second quarter, Eagles 14, Vikings 7

BULLY BALL!

As much as Hurts' looked improved from the pocket on Monday night, he still brings the juice in the running game. Outside of Lamar Jackson, no quarterback is making the plays he does with his legs. With the Birds facing a third and two, Hurts ran to his right, started bulldozing his way up the field and never stopped until he reached pay dirt, barreling into the end zone for a 26-yard score that oozed "Broad Street Bully" energy:

Dallas Goedert absolutely destroyed Minnesota safety Harrison Smith as a blocker. Smith has it rough against Eagles tight ends at the Linc, right? Goedert made Zach Ertz proud on that one. 

Vikings ball, 3rd and goal, Philadelphia 9, 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, Eagles 24, Vikings 7

Darius Slay already had once interception on the night before grappling another one away on a throw from Kirk Cousins, sealing an Eagles victory in the fourth quarter:

If it wasn't for such a heart-pounding Hurts performance, Slay is the guy getting talked about as having a huge game. I was so critical of Slay in his first season in Philly in 2020 and he's done nothing but prove me wrong since. He was a Pro Bowler in 2021 and deserved All-Pro consideration. He was everywhere on Monday night. Four pass breakups and two picks when everyone was assuming Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson would go off for 150 receiving yards is just a statement performance. The dude is gunning for his second ever First-Team All-Pro selection right now. 

What a night at the Sports Complex. 


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