NFC East: rapid reaction nfc wild card 2

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 26, Vikings 14

January, 4, 2009
1/04/09
7:53
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

MINNEAPOLIS -- Who says the Eagles need a running game? Quarterback Donovan McNabb delivered clutch throws all afternoon before Brian Westbrook nailed the door shut on the Vikings when he raced for a 71-yard touchdown after catching a short pass midway through the fourth quarter. The Eagles advanced to a divisional playoff game next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the defending champion New York Giants.

With nothing working on the ground -- other than Correll Buckhalter's 27-yard scamper -- McNabb did a superb job of controlling the game with his arm. Twice he led the Eagles from the shadow of their end zone with brilliant throws to wide receiver Jason Avant. McNabb threw the ball to eight different players.

He finished 23 of 34 for 300 yards and a touchdown. He threw a bad interception late in the first half, but he more than atoned for that by helping his team hold the ball for much of the second half. For most of the day, the Eagles' defense did a nice job of holding down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. He got loose for a 40-yard touchdown to put Minnesota on top 7-6, but he only finished with 83 yards on 20 carries. Eagles defensive end Trent Cole had a huge day with 14 tackles and cornerback Asante Samuel overcame an hip injury to make a game-changing play in the first half.

Samuel jumped in front of a Tarvaris Jackson pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles a 16-7 lead. He had to leave the game at one point, but he returned and did a nice job against the Vikings receivers.

It was obvious that Jim Johnson's defense wanted to make life miserable for Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. He looked overwhelmed for most of the game and made a lot of poor throws.

It was also a huge playoff debut for Eagles rookie DeSean Jackson. His one catch of the day went for 34 yards and it put the Eagles in scoring position. He also had a 62-yard punt return that set up another score.

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