NFL Nation: rapid reaction nfc wild card 2
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 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.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's season ended Sunday evening much the way it began: With questions at the quarterback position and a series of mistakes that called into question how prepared the team was for the playoffs.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson misfired on 18 of his first 29 passes, had an interception returned for a touchdown and hardly appeared to be the Vikings' quarterback of the future. Coach Brad Childress -- who returned Jackson to the starting lineup even after backup Gus Frerotte won eight of 11 starts -- committed a first-quarter game management gaffe. And fittingly, the Vikings solidified the loss when center Matt Birk's shotgun snap hit Jackson in the shin, resulting in a fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia played a strong game, especially considering the rowdy Metrodome crowd. But 10 of the Eagles' 26 points came courtesy of Jackson's interception and Childress' gaffe. The Vikings will watch film of this game and wonder why they weren't sharper for their first home playoff game in eight seasons.
Simply put, the Vikings had far too many cases of players appearing out of position or otherwise uncertain what to do. Where was the coverage on DeSean Jackson's two long punt returns, of 62 and 30 yards? Why was Adrian Peterson on the sideline for most of the fourth quarter?
Unfortunately for them, the Vikings will have an entire offseason to answer those questions.
Final San Diego 22 Buffalo 10 Final Dallas 34 St. Louis 31 Final Washington 34 Philadelphia 37 Final Houston 17 New York 30 Final Minnesota 9 New Orleans 20 Final Tennessee 7 Cincinnati 33 Final Baltimore 23 Cleveland 21 Final Green Bay 7 Detroit 19 Final Indianapolis 44 Jacksonville 17 Final Oakland 9 New England 16 Final San Francisco 14 Arizona 23 Final/OT Denver 20 Seattle 26 Final Kansas City 34 Miami 15 Final Pittsburgh 37 Carolina 19