PHILADELPHIA – Eagles cornerback Darius Slay got his hands on nearly as many passes as Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson, which spelled Minnesota's fate during the 24-7 loss on Monday night.
A week after Jefferson's career-high 184 yards against a Packers defense unwilling to deploy its top cornerback, Jaire Alexander, in man-to-man coverage, the Eagles put Slay on Jefferson with success at Lincoln Financial Field. Jefferson was held to six catches for 48 yards on 12 targets, of which two were intercepted and three deflected by Slay.
Slay followed whenever Jefferson aligned as an outside receiver in the Vikings offense. But Jefferson said he felt there were opportunities to be had when he was sent in motion and Slay didn't track him across the formation.
"I knew I was going to get that from him," Jefferson said. "He's a great cornerback and a great player. A great guy, too. But definitely felt like we could've had some more opportunities out there to score and put up points, but we just didn't."
Quarterback Kirk Cousins' previously impeccable connection with Jefferson was disrupted, and Slay was often in the middle of it. Cousins struggled, but the first of his three interceptions could be laid at Jefferson's feet.
Jefferson took blame for not cutting off a deep route in front of Slay, who sat shallow at the goal line for an easy interception in the third quarter. Slay, the 31-year-old former All-Pro selection, had another interception when Cousins underthrew a lob on a fade route to Jefferson in the end zone.
"I take no matchup lightly, but he is one of the best in the world," Slay said. "I am one of the best in the world, too. I was looking forward to the matchup."
Slay added three deflections, including a batted pass in which he got grabby with Jefferson on third down but didn't get flagged for the contact. The Vikings are familiar with the physical Slay, the former Detroit Lions star, but that didn't help them.
"Obviously his ball skills, going up and getting the football," receiver Adam Thielen said. "He's always been very talented in that aspect. Got a lot of respect for him, actually have a friendship with him; he's a really good guy. He obviously impacted the game and made a difference and probably helped that team win."
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said offensive players "pressed a little bit," contributing to the misfires and dropped passes. Jefferson didn't want to put the entirety of the Vikings' shortcomings on Slay's disruption.
"They double-covered me sometimes," Jefferson said, "but the majority of it, I felt like I was running routes on linebackers and [slot corners]. It was there, we just didn't execute."