The Eagles and Vikings are meeting in a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field today. After 30 minutes of football, the Vikings lead 17-3, thanks to a fumble recovered for a touchdown. Here's a look at what happened in the first half:
- Bend but don't break. The Eagles gave up a ton of yardage on the opening drive, but zero points, which has become a theme in 2018. In four of the Birds' five games, their opponent has marched 50 yards or more on their first drive. Unbelievably, the Eagles have allowed just 10 points on those drives. Granted, some luck came into play today with Dan Bailey shanking a short field goal, but the Eagles giving up big yards on the game's opening drive is nothing new.
- Hello, Shelton Gibson. The second-year wide receiver caught a 48-yard pass on a deep corner route to set up the Eagles' game-tying field goal. Despite the Eagles being undermanned at wide receiver all year, it was hard for Gibson to get on the field behind Kamar Aiken, DeAndre Carter and Jordan Matthews. With his big catch, Gibson should carve out a bigger role in the Eagles' offense.
- Too cute. The Eagles had a third-and-inches on their second drive, but failed to convert when a counter toss to Josh Adams lost a yards and forced a punt. Last season, Carson Wentz was perfect on his quarterback sneak attempts and that seemed like an obvious call given the situation. The Eagles seem to be cautious about Wentz taking unnecessary hits, but to go away from a sure bet in short-yardage situations seems very silly.
- Lane Johnson's struggles continue. Last season, Johnson was arguably the best tackle in football, but it's been a different story in 2018. Johnson was beaten badly on Wentz's fumble that went for a touchdown.
The Eagles have struggled to move the ball against the aggressive Vikings defense, but the Birds need to at least try to run the ball. The Eagles run-pass ratio is skewed heavily again this week and with the offense struggling, Doug Pederson needs to change things up. After being a creative, elite unit last season, the Eagles offense looks lost and seems to have zero answers for the blitz.
Second Half X-Factor: Isaac Seumalo
Pederson announced earlier in the week that he would be rotating left guards after being less than pleased with Stefen Wisniewski's performance this year. Seumalo got first crack at the job and looked awful on the Eagles' first drive, getting pushed back into Wentz's lap on all three pass attempts.
For the Eagles to win, the offensive line needs to keep Wentz upright, something they have struggled with for the past few weeks. That starts with the weakest link, which is currently Seumalo.