A familiar refrain rained down from the stands in South Philly. Murmurs that sounded suspiciously like boos greeted the Philadelphia Eagles early in their home opener against Minnesota.
Football fans from around the country who might be wondering how Philly fans could be so dissatisfied, so early with a team that advanced to the Super Bowl last season just don’t get it.
These Eagles are supposed to be so good, so dominant that any struggles will be met with the appropriate response. In Philadelphia, boos are not just appropriate, they’re expected.
Fortunately, the Eagles more than responded. Sure, the offense sputtered at times. No doubt, the defense let Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins toss the ball around the yard a bit. Still, after two weeks, the Eagles have won a pair of games and remain on track to follow up a Super Bowl season with another deep playoff run.
Heck, star wide receiver AJ Brown practically joined in with the boos on the sideline. The Eagles’ No. 1 receiver was just as frustrated as any jabroney in the stands at the seeming inability of the offense to get on track, especially through the air.
Brown caught four passes for 29 yards, while DeVonta Smith pulled in four more for 131 and a touchdown. Nevermind that the Vikings all but sold out completely to prevent Brown from beating them single-handedly.
We get it, AJ. It wasn’t pretty, especially from your vantage point.
Still, it had to be somewhat satisfying to see the Eagles adjust their game plan to what the Vikings were doing. Brown’s loss was D’Andre Swift’s gain.
Swift, the former St. Joe’s Prep and University of Georgia star was almost a total afterthought in the Eagles opener in New England. He was definitely top of mind against Minnesota.
With running back Kenneth Gainwell sidelined, Swift carried 28 times for 175 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings.
The Eagles ran the ball on 14 of 16 plays during the go-ahead touchdown drive, with Swift leading the way. The Eagles embraced old-school, NFC East-style offense during the nearly eight-minute drive that firmly stamped the game in the Eagles favor.
Defensively, injuries kept safety Reed Blankenship, cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Nakobe Dean on the sideline. A new injury to nickel corner Avonte Maddox left the team scrambling to fill in the secondary with any and every body available.
Cousins threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns but it never felt like the Vikings ever had a chance to win the game. The feeling came mostly from the fact that the Vikings are the Vikings, but most of it came from another area.
Regardless of whatever struggles the Eagles offense had or how many defensive starters were watching in street clothes, one thing is clear. The Eagles young defensive linemen are poised to be a dominant force for a long time.
Former Georgia teammates and back-to-back Eagles first-round picks Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter were as dominant as could be expected even with a limited number of stats.
Davis was a bit player in the Eagles defensive rotation last year. This year, he has applied everything he’s learned to become a problem for opposing defensive lines. Carter, at 6 feet 3 and 314 pounds, wrecks everything in a different color that he comes across.
Boo if you want, but remember that, even if the Eagles are the worst 2-0 team of all time, there is plenty to cheer about.