One of the subplots of the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Vikings on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field was the matchup between Justin Jefferson and Darius ‘Big Play’ Slay.
Both had big years in 2021, and both made the Pro Bowl last season. The second-year wideout was coming off a big performance(nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns) against the Packers in Week 1, while the 10-year corner and the Eagles’ defense were looking to have a bounce-back performance after struggling against the Lions.
This was the first time these two went head-to-head, and it was evident by the night’s end that Round 1 went to Slay.
According to Pro Football Focus, when Slay was on Jefferson, he held him to one catch on six targets and had a career-high tying two picks.
In addition, Slay also finished with a career-high five passes defensed.
After the win, Slay said he was looking forward to the matchup against Jefferson.
“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.”
Jefferson, who finished the game with six catches for 48 yards, gave props to Slay.
“He’s a competitor for sure,” Jefferson said. “I knew that I was going to get that from him. I mean, he’s a great cornerback. He’s a great player. A great guy, too.”
At age 31, Slay is playing at a high level, and he still believes he’s an elite corner in the NFL.
“I have a lot of respect, but you know how it always goes, the older you get, they think you are falling off, but I am not one of those guys,” Slay said. “I am still at an elite level. I deserve a lot of respect. I think the league respects me enough. It is just the media.”
76ers star James Harden was in attendance on Monday night, and after his first interception, Slay gave the ball to the 10-time All-Star.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know he was at the game until they put him on the [videoboard],” Slay said about Harden. “He is one of my favorite players. I am like, why not? I get a chance to meet James Harden, a Hall of Fame basketball player. If I make a play tonight, definitely a pick, I have to give him the ball because he is well respected in the league and my favorite. I thought it was a good opportunity.”
After allowing 35 points to the Lions last Sunday, the Eagles’ defense got the job done against the Vikings, and ‘Big Play’ Slay was one of the biggest reasons.