Around the NFL Writer
Big Play Slay earned his moniker Monday night.
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay got his hands on pass after pass in the 24-7 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings.
Slay earned five passes defensed and two interceptions, both in the red zone. He became the only player with five-plus passes defensed and two INTs in a game in the last three seasons.
The 31-year-old reminded the world he remains one of the top cover corners in the NFL.
“You know how it always goes — the older you get, the more they think you’re falling off. But I ain’t one of them guys. I’m still at an elite level. I deserve a lot of respect in this league,” Slay said, via the official transcript.
Slay helped lock down Justin Jefferson, who was held to just 48 yards on six catches a week after putting up a 9/184/2 line against Green Bay. Slay lined up against Jefferson on 36.2 percent of Jefferson’s routes, per Next Gen Stats (most by any Eagles defender in the game).
“I take no matchup lightly, but he is one of the best in the world,” Slay said of Jefferson. “I am one of the best in the world, too. I was looking forward to the matchup.”
Slay faced six targets in primary coverage against Jefferson and allowed one catch for seven yards while recording two INTs and two dropped INTs, per Pro Football Focus.
Slay earned a 90.2 PFF coverage grade in this game, his third game with a 90-plus coverage grade since joining the Eagles in 2020. No other Philly CB has had any such games since 2020.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni noted that Slay’s ability to take on No. 1 receivers like Jefferson allows the Philly defense to deploy different strategies.
“You don’t just go in and put all your eggs in one basket, right?” the coach said. “There were different disguises, different coverages, but make no mistake about it, a lot of it was to stop No. 18. He’s a heck of a football player.
“But when Slay had to cover him one-on-one, obviously did an unbelievable job. When you bring all the guys on Slay’s second interception — really on the one before that, too, right, that could have been an interception — you can’t help and there is no help when you bring all those guys.
“You’re in cover zero and Slay got sticky in the coverage and made an interception. So that’s what we see Slay do over and over again.”
Against Minnesota, the Eagles generated three takeaways and allowed fewer than three big plays (completions of 20-plus yards or rushes of 10-plus yards) for the first time since Week 5, 2019.
With the offense humming to open the season and the defense capable of putting up performances like Monday, Slay’s Eagles are one of the favorites in the NFC.
Bills reserve offensive lineman Bobby Hart has been suspended without pay for one game for violating unsportsmanlike conduct rules after Monday’s game against the Titans in which he took a swing at a Titans player and struck the head of a Tennessee coach.
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Around the NFL Writer