Grayson’s Grades: Eagles vs. Vikings
For the second year in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings in their home opener.
The Eagles forced four turnovers in this game. D'Andre Swift led the way for the offense with a monster game on the ground. The Eagles beat the Vikings 34-28.
The offense again struggled early in the game. Eventually they started finding success on the ground and began pulling away from the Vikings. The Eagles racked up 425 total yards. The defense allowed a late score by the Vikings in the final two minutes that made this as close as it was.
It has not been pretty throughout most of the first eight quarters of the season. However, the Eagles are 2-0 and get to enjoy a mini-bye on the back of this short week. They are banged up and need to get healthier.
Here is the latest edition of Grayson's Grades:
DeVonta Smith - Smith made a couple of big catches in this game. He brought in a 54-yard reception to get the Eagles inside the red zone in the first half. It led to a field goal. Smith made another huge catch in the second half when he got behind the defense and took a pass from Jalen Hurts in-stride for a 63-yard touchdown. Smith caught four passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.
D'Andre Swift - Swift got just two touches in week one. The Philly native started the home opener and took advantage of extra touches with Kenny Gainwell out due to a rib injury. In fact, he had quite the game. Swift went over 100 yards rushing before the third quarter ended. He was a huge reason the Eagles won. Swift ran with patience and hit the hole when it opened. It led to plenty of good gains. Swift carried it 28 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for six yards.
Josh Sweat - Sweat kept getting into the backfield and occasionally created pressure on Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins. He also forced a fumble while sacking Cousins in the first half. That fumble was recovered by Fletcher Cox and set the offense up inside the Vikings ten-yard line. It led to a touchdown and a 20-7 lead. Ultimately, Sweat was credited with five quarterback hits. He also added a tackle, a sack, and a forced fumble.
Justin Evans - Evans started to quickly work himself into a household name in the first half. He forced a fumble on a punt return that the Eagles recovered. Later in the first quarter, he recovered a fumble setting the Eagles offense up with a first down in Vikings territory. Evans saw more playing time due to the injury to Reed Blankenship. He finished with three tackles, one pass successfully defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Offensive Line - The Offensive Line appeared to turn a corner in the second half of this game. They were dominating the running game and creating plenty of holes for D'Andre Swift to run through. Jason Kelce said afterward that they started coming to the sideline and telling their coaches that the running game is there for the taking if we want it. They proceeded to help Swift rush for 175 yards and a touchdown. The pass blocking was better. However, Kelce admitted that they are seeing chaos thrown at them by opposing defenses and are having to adjust on the fly to it. He said that went better in this game than the first. An offensive lineman loves to run block, and this line does a great job of winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.
AJ Brown - Brown had a better game than his stats indicate; however, he was also part of a potentially major moment on the sideline in the second half. Brown was animated and appeared heated while talking to Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. Brown appeared to be heavily targeted after that. He caught one touchdown that was called back due to a penalty on Rashaad Penny. Then Brown nearly caught another touchdown but he was grabbed early on the arm by the defender and pass interference was not called. Had he not been interfered with, it appeared that he would have likely caught that touchdown pass. Brown was targeted six times. He caught four passes for 29 yards.
Brian Johnson - I struggled with Johnson's grade and whether to make it a 'B' or a 'C'. His offense lacked any rhythm last week and was getting booed at one point in the first half of this one. However, he found something that worked and stuck with it while also mixing in some deep pass attempts. Johnson's offense racked up 430 total yards. He had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver. That being said, this offense must do more. When the defense forces four turnovers, they need to lead to points. The offense looked better but still has a long way to go.
Sean DeSai - I also struggled with whether to give DeSai a 'B' or a 'C'. On the plus side, the Eagles' defense forced three turnovers with another forced by the special teams. They also recorded 10 quarterback hits with two sacks. On the negative side, the defense allowed 374 yards with most of that coming through the air. They allowed a late score making this a one-possession game in the final 70 seconds. In the end, the Eagles have forced six turnovers through two games. But they are still giving up too many points.
Jalen Hurts - Hurts still looked rusty in his decision-making. He appeared to keep it on RPO's when he should have handed it off. The Vikings were almost expecting him to keep it every time. When he stopped keeping it, his running backs started having a lot of success. Hurts did make a great throw to hit DeVonta Smith for a 54-yard gain. That drive ended with a field goal. He also took a pair of one-yard touchdown plunges. Overall, I feel he is leaving the pocket sooner than he needs to. I also believe he is not seeing the field as well as he did a year ago. The good news is that both issues can be resolved. Hurts completed 18 of 23 passes for 193 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked four times. Hurts also carried it 12 times for 35 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Jobe - Jobe did not have a good game. He was playing for the injured James Bradberry. Jobe got beat for a long 62-yard touchdown. He later appeared to believe he did not need to follow K.J. Osborn across the field and that miscommunication led to a wide-open easy touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins. Jobe finished with six tackles.
Rashaad Penny - Penny did not get a lot of opportunities with the way D'Andre Swift was running the ball. He also made a very costly penalty when he held a Vikings defender and that negated a touchdown pass to AJ Brown. Penny was a healthy scratch last week. I expected him to do more when given the opportunity. He was not hitting the holes as well as Swift. Penny carried the ball three times for nine yards. He also caught one pass for five yards.