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Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles: Third Quarter Open Thread

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The second quarter was not friendly to the Vikings

NFL: NFC Championship-Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After a first quarter that ended in a 7-7 tie, the Philadelphia Eagles were deep in Minnesota Vikings’ territory, looking to take their first lead of the ball game. The Vikings stuffed Jay Ajayi for a short gain to bring up third down and less than a yard. Nick Foles then found Zach Ertz for another first down that took the Eagles down to the Minnesota 11-yard line. It only took one more play for the Eagles, as LeGarrette Blount took a handoff and absolutely ran over Andrew Sendejo en route to an 11-yard touchdown. Jake Elliott added the extra point, and the Eagles had their first lead of the evening at 14-7.

The kickoff from Elliott went into the end zone for a touchback, giving Case Keenum and company the ball at their own 25 to start their first drive of the second quarter. Latavius Murray managed a short gain on first down, and Keenum found Stefon Diggs for seven yards to set up a 3rd-and-2 situation. Keenum could not find McKinnon on the next play, and it was another three-and-out for the Vikings. Ryan Quigley came on for his second consecutive punt, and this one was taken to the Philadelphia 30 by Kenjon Barner.

Minnesota forced the Eagles into a 3rd-and-8 situation on that possession, and then the league’s best third down defense got beaten again as Foles found Zach Ertz for a 15-yard gain to the Philadelphia 47. However, the Eagles couldn’t advance further, as Danielle Hunter got to Foles for the Vikings’ first sack of the day. Donnie Jones came on to punt it away for Philadelphia, and Marcus Sherels called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 15.

Jerick McKinnon got the drive started with a short run, and then Keenum found a wide open Stefon Diggs for a big 22-yard gain for a first down to the 39. After a throw away from Keenum, a toss play to Jarius Wright picked up four yards to bring up a 3rd-and-6. Keenum found Diggs again for another first down into Philadelphia territory at the 49.

Keenum then found Adam Thielen for another first down to the Eagles’ 37, and McKinnon then picked up a few on another handoff. Keenum then found McKinnon on a screen for a first down and a nice gain to the Philadelphia 21. Two plays later, the Vikings hard 3rd-and-5 at the Philadelphia 16-yard line. Keenum dropped back to pass, and was hit by Derek Barnett, who knocked the ball loose. The Eagles fell on the fumble, and the Vikings’ drive was thwarted.

The Eagles looked poised to go three-and-out again, but got a conversion on a swing pass to Corey Clement when it appeared Anthony Barr had him for a loss. Torrey Smith then picked up another first down for the Eagles and they were suddenly back to near midfield. Then, on third-and-long, Foles dropped back, managed to avoid a sack, and hit a wide open Alshon Jeffery for a 53-yard score. Elliott added the extra point, and the Vikings found themselves down 21-7 late in the quarter.

The Vikings quickly got the ball to near midfield on a couple of completions to McKinnon and a nice pass from Keenum to Jarius Wright. The Vikings then faced another third down, but Keenum could not connect with Kyle Rudolph, and the Vikings had to punt again. Ryan Quigley booted it away, and it went into the end zone for a touchback.

With time winding down, Foles found Ertz for another huge gain, and got the Eagles into field goal range. They brought on Jake Elliott for a 38-yard attempt, and he put it through the uprights to put the Eagles ahead 24-7 going into the locker room.

Since the opening drive, the Vikings have flat out gotten their butts kicked up one side of the field and down the other. Keenum has not been good, as he’s completed 15-of-23 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The leading receiver has been Diggs, with five catches for 50 yards. McKinnon also has five catches, picking up 28 yards. Kyle Rudolph has his 25-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the game, and Adam Thielen has two catches for 24 yards. Latavius Murray and Jarius Wright each have one reception for 11 yards.

On the ground, after a quick start, the Murray/McKinnon combo has cooled considerably. McKinnon has 22 yards on seven carries, while Murray has 18 yards on six carries. Wright also has four yards on an end-around.

The Vikings’ defense has been getting thumped on a regular basis on this one. They’ve allowed the Eagles to convert 5-of-7 third downs, which is uncharacteristic, and Foles has completed 15-of-22 for 208 yards and a touchdown while facing very little pressure from the Minnesota defense.

We’re at halftime in Philadelphia, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s not looking for for the purple. They trail 24-7, and the Eagles will get the ball to start the second half. Can the Vikings stage an epic comeback?