Great, we thought. If he doesn't play, they'll be prepared to stop Toby Gerhart.
What if both backs are injured? Everything will go straight to hell and it will be total chaos on the defensive side of the ball.
In retrospect, they probably should've accounted for the last scenario considering it wasn't exactly a secret both backs were nursing injuries.
The Vikings rushed for just 85 yards. I would hope they wouldn't rush for a lot. Running back Matt Asiata had three career rushes entering the game. The swarming Eagles defense prepared for reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, who has accumulated 1,221 rushing yards this season, so stopping Asiata wasn't an issue.
He rushed 30 times for just 57 yards... and three touchdowns - two one-yard runs and a five-yard run with 1:09 remaining.
But through the air is where Minnesota broke the Eagles' backs. On the Vikings second drive of the game, quarterback Matt Cassel found Greg Jennings on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Patrick Chung was beat off the line of scrimmage while Nate Allen was a half-step late covering over the top.
In the first quarter, Cassel was 9-for-9 for 168 yards and a touchdown. The former-USC Trojan wound up throwing another touchdown late in the fourth quarter which sealed any hope the Eagles might've had left. On the day, he completed 74% of his passes while throwing for 382 yards and two touchdowns.
Obviously the Vikings had to change their game plan without Peterson and Gerhart. Trusting the bulk of their offense to a guy with three career carries is negligent. No one in their right mind would do that, right?
Well the Eagles didn't think that one through apparently.
They looked unprepared over the top and the cushion that the Eagles' cornerbacks were giving the receivers was ridiculous. There's bad, there's stupid, and then there's the Eagles secondary on Sunday. Cary Williams, one of the most egregious offenders, was giving 10+ yards of cushion on third and five. Why? Beats me. Beat him too.
Greg Jennings had his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and he accomplished that in the first half putting up 114 yards on the Eagles secondary. He caught a career-high 11 passes and caught 11 of the 13 passes intended for him. Jennings finished with 163 receiving yards - he loved the Eagles game plan.
The Eagles had done a fantastic job of making adjustments over their five-game winning streak and their defense had improved drastically. They employed a "bend but don't break" attitude which was incredibly successful.
None of that appeared on Sunday. With the exception of a Mychal Kendricks interception late in the third quarter which set up an Eagles touchdown, the defensive performance was a nightmare.
They allowed more than 21 points for the first time since allowing 52 points to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Week 4. The Vikings 48 points were their season-high to this point.
There was confusion, missed tackles, and a lot of soft spots for Minnesota to exploit.
There's a saying: "you learn more from a loss than you ever could from a win." If that holds true, the Eagles will learn a lot from their performance on Sunday. All hope is not lost and the Eagles will have an opportunity on the national stage next Sunday to prove that the Vikings game was just a minor speed bump on an otherwise smooth road.
Let's just hope Billy Davis and the defense can adjust properly.
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