Vikings’ quarterback Matt Cassel, along with the rest of the Vikings’ offense, came out firing out of the gates, and did not slow down one bit. Midway through the first quarter, Cassel and the Vikings struck first, as Cassel delivered a 57 yard strike to veteran wide out Greg Jennings.
The Eagles then drove right down the field, picking up 36 rushing yards on the drive from quarterback Nick Foles, only to end up with three points. With 2:35 left in the first, the Vikings led 7-3, and that wold be all of the scoring that went on in the first quarter.
As the second quarter began, the Vikings offense continued to click, and they put together a 10 play, 59 yard drive that resulted in a 21 yard Blair Walsh field goal. Once again, the Eagles responded with a drive of their own that ended with an Alex Henery field goal, again, making it 10-6 Minnesota, with 8:55 left in the second. Minnesota took over and absolutely demolished the Eagles defense, as Matt Cassel and company elapsed 7:49 off the clock. Matt Asiata, the Vikings’ running back who filled in for Peterson and Gerhart, pounded the rock in for a one yard touchdown. The Eagles were able to get another field goal to close the half, but the Vikings led 17-9 heading into the lockerroom.
To start off the second half, the Eagles offense went three-and-out, and the Vikings took little time to take advantage of it. Matt Cassel continued his lights out play with a six yard touchdown run to extend the Vikings lead to 15, as the score was now 24-9 with 13:19 left in the third. Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles threw his second interception on the season to former Eagle Shaun Prater, who returned it to the Vikings’ 35 as Matt Cassel took over once again. The Vikings were unable to convert off of the forced turnover, and had to punt the ball.
Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly made a risky decision after the Birds got the ball back after they forced a Vikings punt. On 4th and 1 at their own 24, the Eagles went for it and the Vikings defense stopped running back LeSean McCoy short of the first down. Once again, the Eagles defense came up big, and held the Vikings to another Blair Walsh field goal, making the score 27-9 with 4:43 left in the third.
The Eagles high powered offense finally scored a touchdown, as they went 70 yards in six plays, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Foles to DeSean Jackson in one minute and 29 seconds. Matt Cassel finally made a mistake when his pass intended for Jarius Wright was intercepted by Eagles’ linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Nick Foles then delivered a pass to tight end Zach Ertz, where Ertz made arguably the play of the day, where he extended for the one-handed catch in the back of the endzone for another Eagles’ touchdown. The Eagles came all the way back within five, as the third quarter ended with the Vikings up 27-22.
Matt Asiata took over the fourth quarter, scoring two rushing touchdowns, one in the beginning of the quarter, and his final to ice the game with 1:09 left. Cordarrelle Patterson caught a touchdown pass from Christian Ponder midway through the fourth, followed by a Foles touchdown pass to Avant, but at that point it did not matter.
The Eagles refused to kick the ball deep to Patterson on the kick-off, which ended up costing them. They gave the Vikings’ backups only half a field to work with every possesion. All the Vikings had to do was move the ball 10-15 yards and they had three points from Blair Walsh, but on five of their offensive scores, they got more.
LeSean McCoy only touched the ball 13 times, and only ran it eight times. He was held to 38 yards rushing, getting out-gained by quarterback Nick Foles. Chip Kelly managed this game like Andy Reid managed games in his last years in Philly. He cannot hold his All-Pro running back to only eight carries and expect to win games.
Matt Cassel showed up to play, and the Eagles defense could not stop him. He completed 26 of his 35 passes, for 382 yards, two touchdowns, a QBR of 96.3, and a passer rating of 116.6; gotta give credit to Cassel for delivering.
Image Source: USA Today