A disappointing performance on the road in Minnesota quickly erased many of the good feelings from the team’s five-game winning streak.
But the Eagles are still in good position for a playoff run — if they can correct some of the surprising issues to emerge from Sunday’s loss.
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Metro breaks down what went wrong for the Eagles in their 48-30 loss to the Vikings:
1. Secondary issues
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart both on the sideline due to injury, it was clear the Vikings would need to lean on their talented wide receivers corps. And yet, the Eagles secondary allowed receivers to run wide open all game long. Bradley Fletcher was the biggest liability, specifically when he was matched up with former Packers wideout Greg Jennings. Jennings had a career-high 11 catches in the game and went for 163 yards and a touchdown. Fletcher also had a huge pass interference penalty at the end of the first half when he was covering Jerome Simpson. On third-and-5, he bailed out the Vikings, giving them a new set of downs from the 1-yard line and Matt Asiata ran it in to go up 17-6. After getting abused for most of the first half, the Eagles switched Cary Williams to Jennings. He didn’t do any better. Williams was also in man-to-man on Cordarelle Patterson on the touchdown that more or less ended the game with 6:54 to play. Even on special teams, secondary member Roc Carmichael picked up a silly taunting penalty on a punt with just over eight minutes left in the game to back up his team to the 4-yard line. They went three-and-out and Patterson answered back with that score — following a personal foul call on Williams.
2. Asiata all day
Speaking of Peterson and Gerhart out, it was Asiata who stepped in for the reigning MVP. If you know who he is, give yourself a pat on the back. The second-year back out of Utah got his first career start and first carries of the season on Sunday. He wasn’t Peterson good — or even Gerhart good — but he did enough to give the Vikings a representative run game. He finished with 27 carries for 44 yards and two 1-yard touchdown runs. He had three catches out of the backfield for 15 yards as well. For someone who had three career carries prior to Wednesday, he did a good job of keeping the Vikings from being too far behind the chains. The powerful back also did well in pass protection. Three touchdowns in a game actually tied a franchise record, though it has been done 16 times.
3. Allen on the loose
Jason Peters vs. Jared Allen was one of the more important matchups going into the game. If Nick Foles was going to have enough time to find his receivers down field, he needed his Pro Bowl left tackle to stop the fellow Pro Bowler Allen. He rarely did. Allen was in Foles’ face most of the game. Allen finished with two sacks, two tackles for loss and four QB hits, but even those numbers don’t measure the impact Allen had on the victory. The Vikings’ secondary is poor — No. 28 in the league entering the game — but despite a big game from DeSean Jackson, the Eagles’ offense never seemed in synch and Foles picked up a lot of garbage yardage on the Eagles’ final two drives when they were down two scores. Allen also gets credit for taking over the long-snapping duties in the second half due to an injury.