Eagles force turnovers, hand Vikings first defeat
Philadelphia — Josh Huff returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, Carson Wentz outplayed Sam Bradford and the Eagles beat Minnesota 21-10 on Sunday, handing the Vikings their first loss of the season.
The Eagles (4-2) ended a two-game losing streak while the rested Vikings (5-1) hardly looked like an unbeaten team after having a bye.
“I thought we played embarrassing in two phases,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “I’m very disappointed in the performance.
Bradford returned to Philadelphia for the first time since his trade to Minnesota eight days before the season opener paved the way for Wentz to start. Bradford was 7-7 in his only season with the Eagles and won his first four starts for the Vikings.
But the Eagles pressured and harassed their former quarterback all game, sacked him six times, and forced his first three turnovers this season.
“I thought he missed some throws that he normally makes, but he got hit a lot,” Zimmer said. “It’s probably hard to evaluate his performance when (the line) looks like a sieve.”
Wentz also struggled early, tossing two interceptions. But he led the Eagles on a couple of scoring drives, including a 5-yard TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham in the third quarter for an 18-3 lead.
“That’s a great defense we played,” Wentz said. “I have to be smarter with the football. We found a way to win. That’s huge for us.”
After combining for only three turnovers in 10 games, the teams traded giveaways on five consecutive series in the first quarter and totaled eight turnovers. The Vikings started two straight drives inside the red zone, but squandered both chances.
Vikings tackle Jeremiah Sirles said: “If Sam doesn’t feel comfortable back there, it’s our fault. It’s not one guy’s fault. It’s five guys’ fault.”
Blair Walsh hit a 48-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead before Huff broke loose for his second career touchdown return. Huff sprinted up the right side, ran through Walsh’s attempted arm tackle at the 40, raced untouched to the end zone and capped it with a somersault. Wentz ran in from the 1 for the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles an 8-3 lead.
Huff said of Walsh: “He’s a kicker. I couldn’t let a kicker tackle me or I’d be mad at myself.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson took a point off the board after a roughing penalty on the Vikings against Caleb Sturgis and went for the 2-point conversion. Wentz ran it in up the middle on a draw.
Pederson went for fourth-and-2 from the Vikings 44 with 1:21 left in the first half. Wentz gained 6 yards on a keeper and Sturgis made a 35-yard field goal for an 11-3 lead.
“For me, it was an easy situation and I had trust in our guys,” Pederson said.