5 things to know after Eagles fall to Vikes 48-30
Minneapolis • The Philadelphia Eagles had a lot to feel good about this week and even more to play for.
In the end, the Minnesota Vikings looked more like the team that was soaring toward the playoffs.
Matt Cassel passed for two touchdowns and 382 yards, the most by a Vikings quarterback in three seasons, and ran for another score Sunday in a 48-30 victory that snapped the Eagles five-game winning streak.
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart out, third-stringer Matt Asiata rushed for his first three career touchdowns. Greg Jennings caught a career-high 11 passes for 163 yards and a score, and the injury-depleted Vikings (4-9-1) produced their highest point total in 15 years in a game without their top two running backs, top two tight ends and top three cornerbacks.
"I knew early in the week that we matched up well with this team," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
The Eagles (8-6) thought the same.
Fresh from a decisive win at home over Detroit that gave them control of the NFC East, they fell flat. Nick Foles threw for a career-high 428 yards and three touchdowns, including one to DeSean Jackson, who had 10 catches for 195 yards. Foles took four sacks, though, and the Eagles had nine penalties for 94 yards.
"We need to stick together," coach Chip Kelly said. "That's what we did when we were 3-5, and that's what we'll continue to do."
Here are five things to know about Sunday's game:
A LITTLE HELP: Some solace came for the Eagles long after they departed the stadium, when Dallas wasted a 26-3 halftime lead at home and lost to Green Bay. The Eagles must still finish the season on the road against the Cowboys, but they kept their one-game lead in the division with two games to go. Philadelphia hosts Chicago next week, and Dallas plays at Washington.
PRIME POSITION: The Eagles kept all six of their kickoffs away from Cordarrelle Patterson, the league leader in average yards per return and with two touchdowns, but the Vikings benefited from Alex Henery's short, high deliveries. Their average starting spot was their own 39-yard line.
After Zach Ertz's touchdown catch pulled the Eagles within 27-22 late in the third quarter, Chase Ford caught a pop-up kickoff at the 31 and took it to the 46. The Vikings reached the end zone in six plays to push their lead back to 12 points.
Patterson ran twice for 15 yards, moving the chains on each carry during a touchdown drive in the second quarter. He also caught five passes for 35 yards and a score, his fourth on offense in the last six games.
TIME TO SHINE: The backups came up big for the Vikings. Asiata became the first player in the league since Daunte Culpepper in 2000 to rush for three touchdowns in his first NFL start. He only totaled 51 yards on 30 carries, but helped the Vikings control the clock. Culpepper was in attendance as part of the team's celebration of the best players in the Metrodome era of the last 32 seasons.
For Asiata, though, this was bittersweet. His father, a tour bus driver in Utah, was killed in October in a crash with a utility truck.
"I miss him, and I wish he was here," said Asiata, an undrafted overachiever who was out of the league in 2011 before sticking with the Vikings last year.
Shaun Prater, who was let go two months ago by the Eagles, also had an interception at the 5-yard line in the third quarter. Ford, a tight end who was on the practice squad the first six weeks of the season, had two catches for 55 yards.
MISSED CHANCE: Prater picked off Foles, who has 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 266 attempts this year, with the Vikings leading 24-9. The pass was intended for Jackson, who was seen on the sideline shouting at coaches and teammates.
"Great route. Great play call. I felt I was open. I guess Nick wasn't able to see it right away," Jackson said, adding: "We play this game with a lot of emotions. It's just one of those things that happened."
QUIET MCCOY: The Eagles only handed the ball off to McCoy eight times, and the league rushing leader gained 38 yards. He caught five passes for 68 yards, too, but this was quite the meager output coming off his career-high 217 yards rushing in the snow last week.
"I'm more frustrated about the loss. We prepared so well for this team, and we know how much we needed a win to control our own destiny," McCoy said. "To come up short, we can only be angry at ourselves."
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP
See more about comments here.