D’Andre Swift Breaks Loose, Jalen Hurts Sneaks In, and Justin Jefferson Shines

Just when it looked like the season opener of Thursday Night Football would become one-sided between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikes showed signs of life by relying on a familiar two-headed monster before Philly held on for the 34-28 win.

But are the duo of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson among tonight’s winners? Who represents in the “W” column on the Eagles’ side? Here’s our list of winners and losers from Thursday.

Winners From Week 2 TNF

D’Andre Swift

Swift made it two Thursdays in a row that a past Southeastern Conference running back broke out on national television, with Jahymr Gibbs of the Alabama Crimson Tide starting things off with his breakout evening one week ago for the Detroit Lions.

Except the former Lion and ex-Georgia Bulldog Swift rumbled to 175 yards on this evening. And that number becomes the highest yardage total by an RB in a game this season.

On top of that, Swift delivered the most rushing yards by an Eagle since LeSean McCoy back in 2013. Fittingly, he got “Swift” on this run to help set up the final Eagles touchdown.

The ‘Tush Push’ and Interior Offensive Line Play

Starting with what’s becoming one of the more undefeated formations in the NFL — the Eagles’ quarterback sneak formation. With an extra set of hands behind Jalen Hurts, the overpowering play continues to work wonders for the Eagles.

But what’s not mentioned that should be: the interior linemen in the trenches help make this play happen by getting low enough to give Hurts the short room he needs.

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And sticking with the guards and centers, they were largely responsible for helping elevate the Eagles to 259 rushing yards and three ground-based scores. And they cleared lanes to get Philadelphia to average 5.4 yards per carry.

DeVonta Smith

While it was the ground game that wore down Minnesota, it was the “Slim Reaper” DeVonta Smith who set the tone.

He snatched a 54-yarder to start the game. Then came this 63-yard bomb that extended the lead to 27-7.

Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson

Even despite the loss, plus falling behind by 20 early on, these two continue to prove their chemistry has few peers.

Cousins threw for 364 yards and tossed four touchdowns. Jefferson ended up with 11 grabs for 159 yards — plus joined the 5,000-yard club alongside another certain Vikings star named Randy Moss.

In the Middle

Eagles Defensive Line

The downside: Philly got two sacks early on but none in the final four Vikings offensive possessions.

The upside: Three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and bottling the Minnesota ground game.

The intriguing part of all this, though? Jalen Carter continues to impress with his havoc-wrecking side — especially dismantling this running play.


The Vikings’ Run Game Post-Dalvin Cook

Two games in, and Minnesota is yet to produce a 100-yard back in the post-Dalvin Cook era.

But here’s what’s worse for the Vikes: No one from the 2023 Vikings’ backfield is yet to surpass 35 yards in a game.

Alexander Mattison has been the lead back for Minnesota. But his yards in both games? A 34-yard day versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and now only 28 versus the Eagles.

Vikings’ Ball Security

Another problem for the Vikings — hanging onto the football.

Minnesota lost not one but four fumbles. Jefferson, Cousins, Mattison, and Brandon Powell all coughed it up.

For an offensive whiz like Kevin O’Connell, lack of ball security will never sit well for an offense-minded coach. This will likely be a long conversation inside the Vikings’ facility when they return home.

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