Darius Slay Commends Opponent After Intense Matchup

September 20, 2023

Athlete Studio

Last Thursday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings showcased a highly anticipated rematch between cornerback Darius Slay and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Slay, known for his exceptional coverage skills, had the upper hand in their previous encounter, intercepting two passes and limiting Jefferson to just 48 yards on 12 targets. However, this time, Jefferson was determined to seek his revenge.

Slay, in his podcast, revealed the intensity he felt from Jefferson leading up to the game. "I can tell you for sure that he had this game circled," Slay said. "Because buddy was locked in, he wasn’t talking as much. I tried to talk to him one time, I said 'Hey man, you ran a great route,' he ain’t say nothing. Last year, I told him that, he said something, said 'Man, appreciate that.' But at that time, I already had a pick, I was already having a good game. This game (it) was early and he ran a great route on me, I said 'good route.' He ain't say nothing. He got right back to the huddle. I said 'Oh yeahhh, he locked in.' Great battle, man."

Although the Vikings ultimately suffered another loss, Jefferson managed to outshine Slay individually. He finished the game with an impressive stat line of 11 catches for 159 yards on 13 targets. Slay, a five-time Pro Bowler, acknowledged Jefferson's exceptional performance and his unwavering presence on the field.

"Dude was amazing, man," Slay admitted. "I gotta give him the upmost respect. I've only seen one other receiver do what he does. This man do not come out the game. Only one other receiver that never came out the game when I guarded him was Antonio Brown. You usually have guys that play receiver, if they're the best ones, sometimes they get out on run plays. Not those two guys. I gotta commend them."

Jefferson showcased his versatility and ability to make difficult catches against tough coverage from Slay. He recorded four receptions that gained between 20 and 30 yards, including a near-touchdown that unfortunately turned into a fumble and touchback right before halftime. Pro Football Focus (PFF) highlighted that Jefferson caught seven of his eight targets while being covered by Slay, accumulating 88 yards and six first downs.

Slay nearly had an interception in the second half, but the ball slipped through his hands, and Jefferson capitalized on the opportunity. "The man was making crazy plays, crazy catches," Slay expressed. "I'm talking about very much contested. Every catch he caught against me was very much contested. They did a great job, too, with moving him around. That's what makes him so great, he can play outside, slot, he can line up in the backfield, he can do whatever he wants to do because that offense is built around him."

Despite the Eagles' victory, it was Jefferson who stole the spotlight, becoming the first player since Steve Smith Sr. in 2011 to start a season with consecutive 150-yard performances. As we eagerly await their next encounter, it is evident that the matchup between Jefferson and Slay will once again be a must-watch event.

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