One of the most glaring head-scratching decisions the Eagles made, repeatedly, was to squib/short kick every kickoff. The reasoning on the surface is sound.
The Vikings feature the most electrifying kick returner in the NFL in rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He leads the NFL in return yards with 1,199 on 36 attempts. His 33.3 yards per return average is tops in the NFL and has already returned a kick 109 yards for a touchdown this season. Patterson is one of six players to return a kick for a touchdown this season and he is the only player with multiple returns for touchdowns.
Patterson's track record is there so the squib kicks seemed to be a good idea in the beginning of the game.
It was later in the game when they became head-scratching decisions.
The Vikings made the adjustment to put more skill players up front so their upbacks could start making plays on the short kicks. It did not stop the Eagles from sticking to their game-plan of not allowing Patterson to beat them.
Well, it's tough on the defense when the Vikings are starting their drives near the 40 yard line. Minnesota's average starting position was at their own 39 yard line for their 12 drives compared to the Eagles starting at their own 25 yard line.
Let's run some numbers. If Patterson is averaging 33.3 yards per return, that means Eagles kicker Alex Henery would have to kick the ball to the five yard line to give Minnesota the ball at the 39 on average.
Many people raised the point on social media and it is a valid one - if Henery cannot kick the ball into the endzone, or out the back of the endzone, consistently in a dome, the Eagles needs to find someone who can get it done.
By the second half and surrendering great field position to the Vikings, I would've taken my chances with Henery trying to kick the ball out of the endzone - especially considering he tied a career-long with a 51-yard field goal in the first half that cleared the uprights by a ton.
Hindsight is 20/20 but this was one of many errors that led to the Eagles demise on Sunday.
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