Jalen Hurts has dominant game, then Philadelphia Eagles defense buries Minnesota Vikings
PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts put an exclamation point on any doubts as to his standing as the Eagles' quarterback for the present and the future.
Hurts was dominant Monday night in the Eagles' 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. He completed 26 of 31 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 57 more yards and 2 TDs.
In all, the Eagles racked up 486 yards of offense.
But the Eagles went scoreless in the second half. It hardly mattered because the defense held the Vikings to just 264 total yards. They intercepted Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins three times. Darius Slay had two of the INTs, and he held Justin Jefferson to just 48 yards receiving.
Jefferson had 184 yards receiving in the Vikings' opener.
Hurts, meanwhile, spread the ball around. Four of his receivers had at least 69 yards receiving, led by Dallas Goedert with 82 yards.
The Eagles did all of their scoring in the first half, when Hurts completed 17 of 20 passes for 251 yards. His rushing touchdowns came from 3 yards out and 26 yards out.
On the last TD, Hurts ran down the right sideline and appeared to be going out of bounds before cutting back inside and barreling over a defender. That gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 1:58 left in the first half.
The Eagles got the ball back at their 5 yard line with 1:21 remaining. Incredibly, Hurts led them down the field, completing passes of 19 and 23 yards to Goedert to get to the Vikings' 20-yard line with 6 seconds left.
Jake Elliott kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired and the Eagles had a 24-7 lead at the break. They also had 347 yards of offense in the first half alone.
Hurts completed his first 11 passes, for 151 yards before throwing his first incompletion on a pass that Goedert couldn't hold onto.
Hurts ran the ball in from the 3 to give the Eagles the early lead on their opening drive. Then he hooked up with Quez Watkins on a 53-yard bomb in which Watkins was 10 yards beyond the closest defender.
The Vikings got back into the game on Irv Smith's 2-yard touchdown reception with 9:39 left in the half. But Hurts once again took the Eagles down the field. He completed two straight passes to Smith, then Boston Scott's 16-yard run got the Eagles to the Vikings' 34.
A few plays later, Hurts took off down the right sideline and the Eagles led by 14.
Hurts started off the second half the same way, throwing and running the Eagles down the field. But the drive stalled at the Vikings' 21, and Elliott's 41-yard field goal was blocked.
On the play, punter Arryn Siposs chased down the Vikings' Kris Boyd, who picked up the ball, at the Eagles' 30.
The Vikings couldn't take advantage as Maddox's interception ended that drive.
After that, it was academic.
The Eagles' defensive picked things up in the second half, intercepting Cousins three times. The first was by Slay at the Eagles' goal line in the third quarter as Cousins was attempting a pass into the end zone for Justin Jefferson.
As Cousins threw the ball, Javon Hargrave hit his arm on the follow through, thus preventing Cousins from getting enough on the ball to get it over Slay. Slay returned it to the Eagles' 19 yard line.
Maddox had the second interception, coming after the Vikings blocked Elliott's field goal attempt. Boyd picked up the blocked field goal and returned it to the Eagles' 30. On third down, Maddox picked off Cousins.
Then Slay got another one, just after Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks intercepted Hurts' pass, giving the Vikings the ball at the Eagles' 9. On third down, Cousins, under a heavy rush, threw the ball into the end zone where Slay picked it off.
Slay almost had two more interceptions, but couldn't quite hold onto them.
It didn't take long for DeVonta Smith to catch his first pass. It came on the very first play of the game as Hurts threw to Smith over the middle. The play went for five yards.
Smith was shut out in the Eagles' opener last week against the Detroit Lions. It was the first time that Smith was held without a catch both in college and the NFL. Smith had at least one catch in every game last season. And he had at least one catch in every game during his four seasons at Alabama.
Smith finished with 7 catches for 80 yards.
A lot of penalties
The Eagles were called for three illegal receiver downfield penalties in the first quarter alone. Two were on left guard Landon Dickerson, the other on right guard Isaac Seumalo.
In all, the Eagles were flagged 8 times for 60 yards.
Haason Reddick finally gets a homecoming
Haason Reddick has played in 81 games in his NFL career ever since the Arizona Cardinals made him their first-round pick in the 2017 draft.
But the Eagles' game against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night was only Reddick's second career game at Lincoln Financial Field in the NFL, and the first since his rookie season.
Of course, Reddick, the South Jersey native is very familiar with the Linc, having played his home games there for four years while at Temple. But the atmosphere wasn't nearly the same. The Linc was never packed for a Temple game the way it is for Eagles' games.
"I’m not going to get caught up in that hype. I’m just focused right now on being better than I was Week 1, fixing the things I didn’t do right in Week 1. That’s all I’m going to focused on.
"It’s Philly man, that’s all I can say."
For the Vikings, Jalen Reagor made his return to Philadelphia after the Eagles traded him on Aug. 31. The Eagles got back a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 and a seventh-round pick in 2023. Reagor is serving as the Vikings' punt returner.
Reagor was seen on the field before the game shaking hands with Eagles GM Howie Roseman, and hugging special teams coordinator Michael Clay. He also exchanged hugs with DeVonta Smith among other receivers.
Reagor touched the ball once in the first half, on a jet sweep. He gained 17 yards. Reagor also caught 1 pass for 7 yards.
Reagor was booed by Eagles' fans, except for when he tried to return a punt after catching it inside the Vikings' 10 yard line. Several Eagles' tacklers swarmed him, much to the delight of the crowd.
Contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.