Turnovers were the story of the first quarter.
The Minnesota Vikings couldn’t convert on several opportunities in the first period. After forcing a three-and-out on defense, the offense looked to go three-and-out, but Jeff Locke got his leg caught on a defender after punting and bought the penalty for running into the kicker. The Vikings couldn’t convert a first down once again, but the defense set up the offense on the 2-yard line when Andrew Sendejo intercepted an overthrown pass.
The turnovers kept coming. On the Eagles’ next drive, Carson Wentz botched a handoff and Anthony Barr eventually recovered. However, on the next play, Jake Long, subbing in at left tackle, was beaten and Bradford was stripped of the ball, a fumble that Malcolm Jenkins recovered.
Never fear, because three plays later Wentz threw an interception to Xavier Rhodes.
Through it all, the game remained scoreless through the first quarter.
With so many interceptions in a scoreless first quarter, the Vikings finally got points on the board six minutes into the second quarter. They picked up a first down with consecutive rushing plays, then converted third-and-9 with a 22-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph. Eventually they had to settle for a Blair Walsh 48-yard field goal to take a short-lived 3-0 lead with 9:01 to play in the first half.
It didn’t last long because Josh Huff returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown when the Vikings allowed a big seam in a return to the Eagles’ right and Huff easily broke through Walsh’s attempt at an arm tackle. When Wentz took a quarterback draw in for the two-point conversion, the Eagles had an 8-3 lead.
Another turnover when Bradford got hit before he threw led to the final points of the first half, setting the Eagles up at the 48-yard line. Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson went for it on fourth-and-2 near midfield and Wentz delivered a 6-yard run despite bobbling the snap. When Ryan Mathews broke loose for a 20-yard run on third-and-9, the Eagles were in field goal position and Caleb Sturgis delivered the 35-yarder for an 11-3 halftime lead.
Bradford completed only 10 of 22 passes for 93 yards and an interception in the first half while Went was 9-for-20 for 53 yards and two interceptions. Bradford also fumbled twice.
The Vikings’ first possession of the second half seemed to be representative of the way the offense was performing, as Bradford took back-to-back sacks to end the drive after only one first down.
The defense wasn’t much better on Philadelphia’s initial possession of the second half. After giving up one first down, Trae Waynes was called for a third-down pass interference to give Wentz another set of downs. The quarterback responded by hitting Jordan Matthews for 27 yards and Darren Sproles 19 yards to the 9-yard line. On third-and-goal, Wentz hit Dorial Green-Beckham for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Eagles an 18-3 lead with 5:45 to play in the third quarter.
The Vikings took the ensuing drive inside the 10-yard line as the third quarter ended.
However, to start the fourth quarter the offensive line couldn’t get a push and Zach Line and Matt Asiata were stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1, turning the ball over to the Eagles.
When the Eagles couldn’t get a first down, the Vikings gave it right back when Marcus Sherels couldn’t handle the punt and the Eagles recovered at midfield. From there, the Eagles drove inside the 5-yard line and made it a three-possession game with a 21-yard field goal to pretty well seal the fate of Minnesota’s first loss.
The Vikings drove to midfield on their next possession but turned the ball over on downs. They quickly got it back when Xavier Rhodes forced a fumble that Harrison Smith recovered, but their final drive, while ending in a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson was too little, too late in a 21-10 loss.
Bradford finished the game 24-for-41 for 224 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but he was pressured all day, sacked six times and fumbled the ball away twice as he was hit and had two others that the Vikings covered up. It was simply the worst outing for the offensive line in a game that gave the Vikings their first loss of the season.null