Observations: Vikings 48, Eagles 30

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 48-30 loss to the Vikings.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles’ offense turned in an uneven performance and ultimately couldn’t keep up with the Vikings. Chip Kelly employed a pass-happy game-plan as Nick Foles completed 30 of 48 passes for 428 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He was also the Eagles’ leading rusher with 41 yards on the ground.

* LeSean McCoy carried the ball just eight times for 38 yards – a week after setting the franchise record for rushing yards in a game with 217. Overall, the Eagles called 56 pass plays and nine runs.

* The Eagles went into the fourth quarter having cut the lead to 27-22. But they went three-and-out on their next two possessions with the margin of error already tiny. The Vikings took advantage, built their lead back up and ended up winning, 48-30.

* The Eagles only ran 27 first-half plays and failed to get in the end zone. Foles had a costly illegal blocking penalty in the second, negating an 18-yard TD run by DeSean Jackson. Kelly decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Vikings’ 18 and ran a double reverse. Jackson had room, but Foles was called for the peel-back block on Minnesota’s linebacker.

* In the fourth quarter, with the ball at their own 24, the Eagles decided to go for it on 4th-and-1. McCoy was stopped. Kelly challenged the spot, but the call was upheld. It looked like McCoy might have had the first down on 3rd-and-1. Minnesota kicked a field goal on its ensuing possession.

* Jackson had a monster game with 10 catches for 195 yards and a score. Zach Ertz made a spectacular grab for a touchdown in the third quarter. Ertz and Chris Polk both had drops. Jason Avant was called for a pass interference early. He later had a touchdown.

* After a touchdown late, the Eagles had to waste a timeout before getting the offense on the field for the two-point conversion.

DEFENSE

* The Eagles’ defense turned in what was probably its most disastrous performance of the season. The Vikings played with a third-string running back, but Matt Cassel lit the Birds up for 382 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He completed 26 of 35 passes and also ran for a touchdown.

* The Eagles allowed points on three of four first-half possessions. The only exception was a missed field goal by the Vikings. On Minnesota’s second possession, Cassel avoided pressure from Trent Cole and Fletcher Cox, stepping up in the pocket before hitting Greg Jennings for a 57-yard TD. Jennings appeared to have beaten Patrick Chung on the play. Chung was pulled from the game for Kurt Coleman. Jennings had a monster game with 11 receptions for 163 yards and a score.

* Later in the first half, Bradley Fletcher was whistled for a questionable pass interference penalty in the end zone. Instead of kicking a field goal, the Vikings got the ball at the Eagles’ 1 and ran it in for a touchdown. Fletcher had a nightmarish game. He gave up a completion on 3rd-and-11 late and was also whistled for another pass interference call. In the third quarter, Fletcher gave up a 42-yard completion to Jarius Wright. The Vikings then called a QB draw, and Cassel ran right up the middle for a 6-yard score.

* Bennie Logan was the Eagles’ most active defensive player, pressuring Cassel on a couple of occasions in the first half. In the second half, he deflected a Cassel pass that was intercepted by Mychal Kendricks.

* In the third, Kendricks gave up a completion to Chase Ford, and Colt Anderson missed a tackle, allowing it to turn into a 37-yard gain. Kendricks jumped in front of Ford on the play. It looked like the ball went right through his hands. Anderson was in the game because the Eagles went with a three-safety look (Chung, Nate Allen) after Brandon Boykin got injured.

* In the fourth, Cary Williams got called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and then gave up a touchdown on the next play. He also got beat by Jennings on a 31-yard completion off a double-move earlier in the half.

* The Eagles’ pass-rush was non-existent for most of the game. Connor Barwin had a sack on one play early where Cassel ran out of bounds. Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans also had sacks, but there was no consistent pressure.

* Coleman and Boykin both suffered injuries and did not return.

* The Eagles’ plan for dealing with dangerous returner Cordarrelle Patterson was to not kick to him. But that meant a series of short kicks that gave Minnesota excellent field position.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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