After a rough 32-6 week one loss to the Eagles, the Falcons have more questions than answers. Inability to convert on third down, and 260-yards of total offense, and no trip to the endzone would be the story in Atlanta’s start to the season.
Matt Ryan and the offense would lead the Falcons to get the 2021 season underway as they received the opening possession. He would lead them on a 14-play 72-yard drive after starting at their own 25-yard line.
However, the drive stalled out at the three-yard line, where the Falcons had to settle for a 21-yard Younghoe Koo field goal. This made it 3-0 Dirty Birds with 9:59 left in the 1st.
The Eagles then had their turn to respond with quarterback Jalen Hurts leading the charge. Quez Watkins hauled in the first reception, and then a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Falcons safety Erik Harris, would move the Eagles to midfield for their second play of the drive.
Hurts would take advantage of the defensive blunder, marching Philly into the redzone before capping the seven-play 75-yard drive with an 18-yard TD pass to rookie DeVonta Smith. It was Smith’s first career reception, as the Eagles took a 7-3 lead with 6:17 left in the 1st quarter.
Atlanta’s ensuing possession would start at their own 17-yard line after Cordarrelle Patterson took out the kickoff from the endzone. Matt Ryan would again lead the Falcons deep into the red zone. However, again they would have to settle for a field goal. This time it would be a 27-yarder from Koo to cut the deficit to one.
Jalen Hurts would open the Eagles’ next possession with two quick completions. The first for 13-yards, connecting with Dallas Goedert, and then finding his other tight end Zach Ertz, for 28-yards, putting the ball at the Falcons 42-yard line. This, however, was where Atlanta’s defense would make their first stand of the day.
Facing a 4th and four from the 36-yard line, Hurts would get pressure from Grady Jarrett, who pursued the quarterback until he threw the ball away, falling incomplete and forcing a turn over on downs. Atlanta’s offense was unable to capitalize on the possession while they incurred 25-yards in penalties before their drive fizzled out at their own 46-yard line, forcing the first punt of the game.
After two additional punts on the Eagles and Falcon’s next drives, Philly’s offense would get back cooking. Hurts led them on a 12-play 62-yard drive that he concluded with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Goedert. It would be revied and confirmed, much to the displeasure of the Falcon faithful.
The disappointment continued on the PAT, after an illegal formation was called on the Falcons. The Eagles would then go for two from the one-yard line, and Miles Sanders punched it in to make it 15-6 Philly with two seconds left on the half.
In the second half, both teams would struggle to get anything going. The Falcons opened with two straight three-and-outs, while the Eagles punted and turned the ball over on downs after a 4th and two at the Falcons 20 yard line. However, on Philly’s 3rd drive of the half, Hurts would again get the Eagles flying.
He started the drive with an eight-yard pass to Goedert. Four plays later, Hurts would find Sanders for 25 yards, making it 1st and goal at the eight-yard line. This would set up an eight-yard touchdown run for Kenneth Gainwell, the first of his career. This made it 22-6 with 1:25 left in the 3rd.
Atlanta’s offensive struggles continued, with their next three possessions netting just 40 total yards of offense. Their last of those three possessions would result in a turnover on downs, with the Falcons going for it on 4th and ten from their own 32-yard line. Ryan would take a 10-yard sack, and the Eagles took over at the 22-yard line.
Two plays later, Hurts connected with Jalen Reagor for a 23-yard touchdown pass. This made it 29-6 with 4:20 left to play. Atlanta’s next possession would again end in a turnover on downs, this time following two sacks, the Eagles took over at the ATL-25.
To pour some salt into the wound, Philadelphia would take that and turn it into a field goal, making it 32-6 before it was all said and done.
Written by Adrian Beecher