What We Saw

Eagles' Trent Cole holds back Vikings RB Adrian Peterson.
Eagles' Trent Cole holds back Vikings RB Adrian Peterson.
Posted: January 05, 2009

Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch will tell you the things he will be keeping his eyes on during that week's game. Here's how things panned out yesterday:

1. Yo, Adrian: The Eagles knew they couldn't completely shut down Adrian Peterson, but they also knew they had to limit his number of long runs. Peterson managed to score two touchdowns, one on his longest run of the game, a 40-yarder in the second quarter. But overall, the Eagles held him to 83 yards on 20 carries with most of the runs going for fewer than 5 yards.

2. More charity: In their playoff-clinching win over the Cowboys, the Eagles forced five turnovers. Yesterday, Asante Samuel returned an interception 44 yards for a score to give the Eagles a 16-7 lead in the second quarter, and Juqua Parker recovered a fourth-quarter fumble that led to a David Akers field goal and increased the Eagles' lead to 26-14.

3. Remember the run: Coming into the game, the Vikings owned the league's best run defense, holding opponents to 76.9 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Even so, the Eagles needed to keep the Vikings honest with the run. And they did. The Birds had as many runs as completions (23) and finished with 67 yards rushing (an average of 2.9 yards per carry).

4. Four touchdowns a day keeps Akers away: The Eagles have struggled in the red zone this season. They were 3-for-3 inside the 20 vs. Dallas last week, but were 2-for-12 before that and ranked 22nd in the league. Yesterday, against the team that owns the NFC's best red-zone defense, the Eagles were 0-for-1, settling for a David Akers field goal from the Vikings' 13 in the second quarter.

5. Rookie returners gone wild: The Vikings' coverage units aren't very good. The Eagles' return men - rookies DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps - are. That was evident when Jackson returned five punts for a total of 109 yards, including a 62-yarder that set up the first of David Akers' four field goals. Demps had 47 yards on three kickoff returns, including runs of 19 and 15 yards.

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