PHILADELPHIA – Ostensibly the Eagles dominated the Minnesota Vikings during a 24-7 win on Monday night but like any NFL game there were a handful of moments that could have tilted things dramatically.
Irv Smith’s drop late in the second quarter turned a potential 63-yard touchdown and a manageable 21-14 Vikings deficit at the half into a 10-point swing with the help of poor Kevin O’Connell time management and a comfortable 24-7 edge at intermission for the Eagles, ultimately the final score,
It stayed that way because Philadelphia took its foot off the gas in the second half and Minnesota couldn’t cash in on numerous opportunities thanks to three uncharacteristic Kirk Cousins interceptions in the final 30 minutes, along with the most unlikely scenario of all, punter Arryn Siposs running down cornerback Kris Boyd in the open field after a Patrick Peterson blocked a 41-yard Jake Elliott field goal try late in the third quarter.
Siposs is also Elliott’s holder and why he was on the field.
Boyd, one of Minnesota’s top special teams players who ran 4.45 on the stopwatch coming out of Texas, scooped up the ball and appeared headed for a momentum-changing touchdown, one that would’ve cut the Eagles’ lead to 24-14 with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
Boyd made it 27 yards, to the Eagles’ 30, before the big Aussie, who used to play rugby in his native country, hustled and caught the speedier player from behind.
“That’s great speed by Arryn to track him down and great effort by Arryn to track him down,” head coach Nick Sirianni said of Siposs.
Now, this wasn’t a foot race and Boyd had to gather himself and the football before turning on the jets so he never got up to that 4.45 speed, which would have likely left Siposs and everyone else in the dust but there are few punters who could turn those advantages into what Siposs did.
“We obviously talk to our offense a lot about — we talk to them an awful lot about if there is a turnover, we have to go and make that tackle, just like our offense did,” Sirianni said. “We have a ton of team meetings about situational football. That’s a situation within the game that you have to be able to react and go. It somehow got into Arryn’s head, too, to be like I have to get this guy down and let the defense play defense here.”
The ability to play defense resulted in Avonte Maddox sinking into a zone and leaping to grab a forced Cousins pass to Adam Thielen.
Siposs often shows off his athleticism in practice when shagging kickoffs by Elliott. The punter just doesn’t catch the football like a normal return man, he leaps and high points it with his rangy 6-foot-2 frame. Siposs doesn’t get them all but he snares enough to impress.