After the Minneapolis Miracle just one week ago, the Minnesota Vikings' season ending in what can only be described as devastating fashion, being outplayed and outmatched from nearly the beginning, in a 38-7 dismantling at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles and backup quarterback Nick Foles.
1st Down: The Vikings actually struck first in this game, and the highly functioning offense from the Divisional Round game against New Orleans looked like it carried over into the NFC Championship game. After receiving the opening kick-off, the Vikings quickly worked their way down the field going 75 yards in nine plays, ending on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to tight end Kyle Rudolph to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead. On the drive Keenum went 3/3 for 48 yards and Latavius Murray rushed three times for 11 yards. However it would all go downhill from there.
2nd Down: The Vikings defense held the Eagles on their first drive, but then Case Keenum threw a pick-six after his arm was hit while throwing a pass that tied the game. The Vikings were then outscored 38-0 the rest of the way. The Vikings punted after going three-and-out the next two drives, and then on the third, Keenum fumbled again, this time on a blind side strip sack that led to the Eagles scoring again. In all the Vikings rushed for only 70 yards, and they passed for 263, but turned the ball over three more times, five in all, as they threw a game-ending interception, and turned the ball over twice on downs in the second half.
3rd Down: Meanwhile defensively the Vikings had no answer for the Eagles offense. Nick Foles had one of the best performances of his career and had two long touchdown passes that demoralized the Vikings top ranked defense. On the day Foles was 26-33 for 352 yards, three touchdowns with a 141.4 quarterback rating and a 95.8 QBR. He hit tight end Zach Ertz for eight receptions for 93 yards, Alshon Jeffery for five receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 53 yard score, then he threw a touchdown to Torrey Smith on a flea-flicker, as he caught five passes for 69 yards. Meanwhile on the ground, Jay Ajayi rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries, and LaGarrete Blount ran for 21 yards on six carries including an 11 yard touchdown run.
4th Down: Injuries also killed the Vikings, as offensive lineman Pat Elflein got hurt and left the game, along with standout defensive backs Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo which contributed to Foles torching the Vikings secondary.
It was a disappointing end to the Vikings season that leads to seeing two teams play on their home field in the Super Bowl in two weeks. The Vikings head into the offseason with a major question at quarterback and only time will give us the answer to that question. The Vikings end the season 13-3 in the regular season with an NFC North title and a loss in the NFC Championship for the fourth straight time.