Instead, it turned out to be a less-than-stellar performance for both after the former teammates reunited as opponents in a game dominated 21-10 by Philadelphia through no help from the starting quarterbacks.
Wentz completed 16 of 28 passes for just 138 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a passer rating of just 52.4.
Bradford fared little better, completing 24 of 41 passes for 224 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 71.6.
The biggest difference in their performances was that Wentz stayed relatively clean. He wasn’t sacked and was hit just seven times. Bradford was sacked six times and hit 19 times – a number far too high for Mike Zimmer’s liking.
“You kind of know coming into the game that they’re going to come after Bradford,” Zimmer said. “I didn’t go to Harvard, but I can probably figure that out. We didn’t get it done.”
Bradford had defenders in his face all day as the Vikings offensive line was often overwhelmed by the Eagles’ constant blitz pressure. Bradford had to throw passes away, had to get rid of passes quickly and threw dangerous passes – whether they were intercepted or not – far too often.
Bradford shouldered some of the blame, but said it was systemic on the Vikings offense all day long.
“Obviously we knew that they were good up front,” Bradford said. “We have to figure out a way. It involves all of us. I’ve got to figure out a way to get it out quicker. We’ve got to do a better job with staying on guys. I think there are a lot of answers to that problem.”
The Vikings offense struggled from beginning to end. Even when they scored a touchdown late, it took far too much time, as Bradford was forced to check down to receivers constantly.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson felt like there was a bad vibe on the Vikings sideline throughout the game, as the Eagles constantly dictated the pressure and the flow of the game and had the Vikings offense looking like the Walking Dead.
“We just didn’t get the job done on offense,” Patterson said. “We felt like everyone was dead out there. We couldn’t get anything going. The defense did a heck of a job getting us the ball down in the red zone a couple times, but we just couldn’t finish the job.”
The good news for the Vikings is that it was just one game and the team can get back on the right track next week when they meet up with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
They will have an extra day of preparation for the Halloween night Monday game, but they may need it, because there are a lot of things that need cleaning up.
“The way we played today was unacceptable,” Bradford said. “Obviously, we did a lot of things today that we haven’t done in the first five weeks. Things we did today will keep you from winning football games and we have to figure out a way to not make mistakes. We can’t turn the ball over when we’re in the red zone. We’ve got to come away with points, especially early in the game. There were too many self-inflicted wounds today and you’re not going to overcome that on the road against a good team. We have to come back and get ready to go for next week.”
GAME DAY NOTES
- The Vikings lost a couple more players during the game. Safety Andrew Sendejo got an interception in the first quarter, but suffered sprained ankle on the return of the pick and was taken off the field on a cart. Jerick McKinnon rolled an ankle in the first half but returned to game, only to suffer another injury to the same ankle.
- Neither team was overly impressive running the ball. The Vikings ran 27 times for 93 yards, led by Matt Asiata’s 55 yards on 12 carries, thanks to a 29-yard run – the second longest of his career. The Eagles ran 26 times for 101 yards, led by Ryan Mathews, who had 56 yards on 14 carries.
- Mathews had a 20-yard run in the game, the first player to have a run of 20 or more yards against the Vikings this season.
- Sendejo and Xavier Rhodes each had interceptions Sunday, giving both of them two for the season.
- Patterson led Vikings receivers, catching seven passes for 67 yards and a touchdown and covered a punt on the 2-yard line on special teams.
- Patterson’s seven receptions were his most since Nov. 24 from his rookie season of 2013, and his 67 receiving yards were his most since Oct. 26 of 2014.
- Patterson has caught touchdown passes in consecutive games for the second time in his career. The other came in 2013 and the second team in that back-to-back streak was also the Eagles.
- Stefon Diggs was limited to just two catches for 18 yards.
- The Vikings outgained the Eagles 282-239.
- Despite their dismal performance, the Vikings were pretty strong on third down, converting nine of 19 opportunities (47 percent). The Eagles converted on just four of 11 chances (36 percent).
- The Vikings ran 20 more plays (74) than Philadelphia (54).
- Both teams committed seven penalties. The Eagles came into play as the most penalized team in the league, averaging almost 10 penalties a game.
- The Vikings were just one of four in the red zone, being denied any points on their first three visits inside the 20-yard line.
- The Eagles came away with points on all three of their visits to the red zone, but had to settle for two field goals.
- The Vikings’ first 10 full drives (they only had 11) ended with a punt, interception, fumble, punt, field goal, punt, fumble, punt, downs and downs.
- Eric Kendricks led the Vikings with nine tackles.
- The Vikings had no sacks against Wentz; Bradford was sacked six times.
- The Eagles effectively salted the game away with a goal-line stand at their own 6-yard line – stuffing Zach Line and Asiata on consecutive plays.
- Wentz had his share of problems handling the football. He had a fumbled exchange with Darren Sproles that led to a turnover and dropped three snaps out of the shotgun. Unfortunately for the Vikings, he converted first downs on two of them, scrambling for a first down on a third-and-3 play and completing a pass to Sproles after corralling the ball for another first down.
- Wentz threw just eight passes in the second half, completing seven of them for 85 yards and a touchdown.
- Sunday was the first time in NFL history that a game had gone to halftime with an 11-3 score.
- The special teams had a pair of huge miscues in the first half. Not only did the team allow a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but thanks to a roughing the kicker call on Harrison Smith during the extra point, the Eagles went for two points instead of accepting the made extra point and took a 8-3 lead.
- There have only been two kickoff returns for a touchdown in the NFL all season and both of them have been by the Eagles – Wendell Smallwood last week and Josh Huff against the Vikings Sunday.
- Jake Long saw his first action of the season, being rotated at left tackle and two of the plays in which Bradford was stripped were on plays that the defender who forced the fumble went through Long to get to him.
- There were five turnovers in the first quarter, the first time that has happened since 2005.
- Bradford hadn’t turned the ball over on 318 offensive plays dating back to last year. He had two turnovers on consecutive plays in the first quarter Sunday.
- Things could have been even worse for the Vikings. On one of Bradford’s fumbles, Malcolm Jenkins returned it 76 yards for a touchdown, but it was ruled that he had been touched while on the ground and the TD was nullified.
- Bradford’s streak of passes without throwing an interception ended at 158.