For the third time in as many years, the Philadelphia Eagles have faced the Atlanta Falcons and won a close one. This game was remarkably similar to last year’s playoff showdown. The last play of each of these games was even a fourth-down toss to Julio Jones in the end zone. The Philadelphia Eagles have to be happy with the result as the defense played lights out and the offense did just enough to win with some key offensive players missing.
The Eagles’ defensive line
The Philadelphia Eagles defensive line was absolutely dominant in week one. The Eagles were so good against the run that the Falcons gave up running. Atlanta ran the ball only 16 times while throwing it 45 times. Unfortunately for the Falcons, passing didn’t go much better. Matt Ryan was under constant pressure and was sacked four times. Fletcher Cox was an absolute beast and demanded the attention of the offensive line. Haloti Ngata played much better than anticipated after he seemed to struggle in the preseason and Chris Long was a force recording one and half sacks in the game.
While he only gained 33 yards receiving, Agholor made 8 catches and gained 16 yards rushing as well. In addition, Agholor passed for 15 yards on a trick play to Nick Foles that no one saw coming, especially after so much was made of the Philly Special after the Super Bowl.
After an offseason of hearing that Ajayi will be a workhorse style running back the first half was surprising. At halftime, Darren Sproles had 21 snaps to Jay Ajayi’s nine. Sproles failed to impress in his snaps and Ajayi ended up receiving most of the carries towards the end of the game. Ajayi ended up gaining 62 yards with two touchdowns which was just enough for Philadelphia to come out with a win.
Red zone defense
All in all, the Falcons drove into the red zone five times. However, the Eagles defense buckled down when it mattered only allowing nine points on those five trips. This includes keeping the Atlanta Falcon’s out of the end zone in the last seconds of the game and securing a come from behind win for the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFL’s new catch rule
Already in the first game of the season, there was controversy on what is a catch and what is not. Julio Jones bobbled a ball on the way to the ground as he was sliding out of bounds. It was ruled incomplete and after a challenge from Atlanta, the ruling on the field stood. This was incomplete despite the fact that it seemed Jones had control of the ball in bounds. It looks like this year is gonna be another long one.
Foles struggled mightily against the Falcons. He threw for 117 yards on 19 completions and 34 attempts. He also threw an interception and several of his passes were off target but still caught. Foles still looked uncomfortable in the pocket and the passing game just never really caught on (get it, caught on). On the positive side, Foles did have a big 15-yard reception to keep the offense on the field. It was the same trick play that the Patriots used in the Super Bowl when Brady dropped that pass.
Featured image from James Lang/USA TODAY Sports
“From Our Haus to Yours”