Eagles Defense Does In Jackson and the Vikings in 26-14 Wild Card Loss

Playing in his first playoff game against a defense known for making even good quarterbacks look bad, Tarvaris Jackson was no match for the Eagles on Sunday, as Minnesota bowed out of the NFL Playoffs with a 26-14 setback at home.  The Eagles sacked Jackson once and took back an interception for a score, but the real story was the fact the Vikings offense had no answers for Philly in the second half when they were held scoreless.

Jackson finished the game to a chorus of boos, and was 15-for-35 for 164 yards with the one pick that was taken back by Asante Samuel for a score that put the Eagles up for good at 16-7.  Adrian Peterson had 83 yards on 20 carries, and scored  on a 40-yard run and a three-yard score that made it 16-14 at the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Eagels put together the biggest play of the game, as Donovan McNabb threw a screen pass to Brian Westbrook and the shifty running back got through the first wave of defense and went 71 yards for a touchdown that made it 23-14 with 6:37 to play.

The Vikings didn’t gain a yard on their next 3-and-out, and then after they forced a Eagles punt, they started to put a drive together, but a bad snap by Matt Birk that hit off of Jackson’s ankle was recovered by the Eagles, stopping the last real serious Vikings threat.  It was a play that showed the inexperience of the Vikings and the savvy of the Eagles, who will move on to meet the Giants next Sunday.

The Vikings had 7 second half drives, and put up just 101 yards, had five punts, a fumble a the game ended with them holding the ball.  McNabb was 23-for-34 for 300 yards with one TD and one pick.  Even when the Eagles QB was pressured, he usually was able to escape the pressure and make a play or at least get rid of the ball.  The Vikings were able to get to him for three sacks for negative 17 yards.

Minnesota outrushed the Eagles 148 to 67, but the turnover for a score by Samuel along with four David Akers field goals in the end were too much to overcome.  The Eagles may be on a road to the NFC Title game if they play the Giants as well on defense as they played the Vikings Sunday.

For the Vikings and coach Brad Childress, it’s a season to build on, but a season that most will agree could have been a lot better with a team with as many playmakers as they have.

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