Written by Adrian Beecher
Philadelphia, PA – The Philadelphia Eagles were able to make a defensive stand on the final second on the game in the end zone as Matt Ryan tried to connect with Julio Jones for the game-winning score to capture the 18-12 victory over the Falcons.
To start the evening, it was a game of inches, with the Eagles ending the 1st quarter with 0 yards of total offense as the Falcons held the 3-0 lead. Despite that lead though, the Falcons missed out on points after electing to go for it on 4th down and goal on their first drive of the game, being unable to convert. The Eagles were able to get thing moving in the 2nd quarter with a 14-play 52-yard drive that ate 8:03 off the clock as Jake Elliot hit a 26-yard field goal to tie things up. On the Falcons ensuing possession, however, they would answer with an 8 play 41-yard drive that was capped by a 52-yd Matt Bryant field goal.
This sent Atlanta into the locker room with a 6-3 lead at the half. In the 2nd half, Philly would get the first touchdown of the NFL season on the board with an 11 play 63-yard drive capped off by a 1-yd TD run from Jay Ajayi to give the Eagles a 10-6 lead with 4:37 left in the third quarter. After trading interceptions, the Falcons retook the lead with their first touchdown of the year when Tevin Coleman scored on a 9-yd run that capped off a two-play drive for the Falcons. “No. No. No. No. There was no miscommunication on it. It got lost in the lights. I didn’t know he threw the ball. I was looking back for it and I didn’t see it,” Jones said of the interception.
The Eagles marched down the field after punts from both teams in the fourth quarter. The Eagles connected on a 3rd and 8 at their own 48-yard line when Nick Foles completed a 9-yd pass to Darren Sproles. Shortly after, the Eagles converted on 3rd and 2 at the Atlanta 35 when Corey Clement ran for 21 yards all the way down to the Atlanta 14. Two plays later Ajayi scored his second touchdown of the game on an 11-yd run. He added a two-point conversion to bring the game to 18-12.
The Falcons only managed 74 yards on the ground on 18 attempts. They were 1-5 in the red zone and had 15 penalties for 135 yards. They were also 4-15 on third down efficiency. Despite the mishaps, the Falcons outgained the Eagles 299-232. Ryan was 21/43 for 251 yards and an interception. He was under constant pressure and was sacked four times. “This one stings for sure. We knew that this was going to be a competitive fight that would likely come down to the end, [and] it did. [It was] two heavyweights going for it to battle it out. For us, there’s obviously much to clean up on. There are parts of the game that we liked. To end, on third down we certainly can improve. [In the] red zone offensively, there’s certainly some work to do there, and having that many fouls in the game. [It’s] tough to be able to get some of the third downs that you like having to convert in that spot. That’s where we’re at,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said.
Jones had a monster day with 10 receptions for 169 yards. No other Falcon had any more than four catches. Rookie Calvin Ridley only saw two attempts come his way but looks to get into the action more for week two.
The Falcons look to bounce back this week for their home opener against NFC West rival Carolina Panthers. The Panthers come into the game 1-0 after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 16-8.