Vikings 24 Eagles 14
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles got their bye a week early — and not the way they wanted.
Joe Webb threw for 195 yards and ran for a touchdown in his first career start filling in for an injured Brett Favre, and the lowly Minnesota Vikings stunned Michael Vick and the NFC East champion Eagles 24-14 in the NFL’s first Tuesday game since 1946.
Adrian Peterson ran for 118 yards and a score, helping the Vikings (6-9) knock Philadelphia out of contention for a first-round playoff bye.
The Eagles (10-5) could’ve secured a first-round bye with a victory over the Vikings and Dallas and with a loss by either Chicago or Atlanta next week.
Now the Eagles are locked into the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6 seed on Jan. 8 or 9. Their final game against the Cowboys is meaningless in the standings, so it’s likely Vick and most of the starters will rest.
Two days after a winter storm forced a postponement, there wasn’t even a snowflake visible at Lincoln Financial Field. The game was switched from Sunday because of a howling storm that dumped about a foot of snow in the area — perhaps a good idea considering Philadelphia’s history of snowball-throwing fans.
But 42 years after fans got a bum rap for tossing snowballs at Santa — the man in the costume said it was playful pelting — the Eagles said snowballs didn’t factor in the decision to move the game.
“There were a lot of issues considered, but that was absolutely not among them,” said Pamela Browner White, the Eagles senior vice-president of public affairs and government relations.
Nine days after rallying from a 21-point deficit in the final 7:18 to beat the New York Giants on DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return on the final play, there would be no miracle at the Linc for the Eagles.
Vick, selected as the NFC Pro Bowl starter shortly before the game, mostly struggled after his three-yard TD pass to Clay Harbor in the first quarter gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead. He lost two fumbles, threw an interception and was sacked six times.
Trailing 17-7 to start the fourth quarter, the Eagles cut the deficit to three when Vick scored on a 10-yard TD run. But the Vikings answered on the ensuing drive. Peterson ran in from the 1 to put Minnesota up 24-14 with 6:43 left. The Pro Bowl running back showed no signs of the right knee injury that had him listed as questionable.
Favre was inactive for the Vikings because of a concussion, missing his second game in three weeks after an NFL-record 297 consecutive regular-season starts.
The 41-year-old Favre got hurt last week against the Chicago Bears and was listed as doubtful. Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday that Favre still hadn’t passed initial concussion testing.
The Vikings tied it 7-7 in the final minute of the first half when Antoine Winfield sacked Vick, knocked the ball loose and returned the fumble 45 yards for a score.
Minnesota had a touchdown overturned on the opening possession of the second half. Webb’s two-yard TD toss to Sidney Rice was reversed when replays showed the ball was juggled out of bounds. Juqua Parker sacked Webb on the next play and the Vikings settled for Ryan Longwell’s 30-yard field goal that put them up 10-7.
Webb made it 17-7 on an impressive run. He looked like Vick dodging and weaving through the defence on his way into the end zone for a 17-7 lead.
Vick fumbled late in the third quarter at the Minnesota 23 to end a drive.
Shortly after being selected to his fourth Pro Bowl, Vick came out strong. He connected with Jeremy Maclin on a 28-yard reception that put the ball on the three, and he hit Harbor two plays later for a TD. Harbor dragged his feet near the back of the end zone and replays upheld his first career TD.
Many players thought the game should have been played Sunday night. So did Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who said Vince Lombardi would be “mocking us” for the postponement.
In 1989, even Rendell played a role in the misbehaviour when he bet fellow fans at rambunctious Veterans Stadium that they couldn’t reach the field with snowballs.
He lost, in more ways than one.
Rendell, then the city’s district attorney, made good on a $20 bet, but later apologized when the story inspired bad press.
The Vikings were restless with the extra time in Philadelphia. They ate cheesesteaks, and acted like tourists.
It was a clear day, with cool temperatures at kickoff. Lincoln Financial Field looked ready for an August pre-season game. The clean up crew needed 1,300 truckloads to remove the snow.
This has been a miserable season for the Vikings, who nearly reached the Super Bowl last year. It was the third straight week they were affected by the weather. Their home game against the Giants on Dec. 12 was postponed a day after Minneapolis got more than 40 centimetres of snow. It was then moved to Detroit when the Metrodome roof collapsed.
Their game against Chicago last week was played at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium because of the damaged roof.
Despite having the day off Sunday, the Eagles secured their first division title since 2006 when the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 45-17.