Friday, 19 January, 2018

Falcons final offensive play did not surprise Eagles defense

Not bullish on the Eagles' chances The Phillies and Braves made a delicious wager on Saturday's game between the Eagles and Falcons
Shannon Reynolds | 14 January, 2018, 17:46

Despite being the NFC's top seed and hosting the NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Falcons, the Eagles entered Saturday's contest as three-point underdogs.

In the absence of star quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles went into Saturday's game as the first top-seeded team in National Football League history not to be favoured in their first post-season game. The Eagles never said if Ajayi got injured and he was effective as a pass-catcher in the second half, but it seems like his extended rest took him out of the rhythm he was in early in the game. "We made it. They counted Philly out, but we're still in!" exclaimed one excited fan.

Defensive end Brandon Graham was one of the players who got pressure on Ryan as he rolled out to the right side of the defense.

Jones wouldn't say if he felt he was interfered with on the play by Mills. For almost the entire game, the home-standing, top-seeded Eagles were trying to give the Falcons a win, and the Falcons stubbornly refused to take it.

The two teams exchanged punts before Foles engineered an 86-yard, 14-play drive for an Eagles touchdown. He completed just one pass thrown beyond 15 yards as Pederson used a variety of short throws to build his quarterback's confidence. "Getting the ball out of his hand, finding the open receiver and did a really nice job executing the gameplan". "We've been in those situations during the regular season, so we kind of know how to handle those situations, not try to make a play but let the play come to us".

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Well, Foles exceeded the passing totals and even though the Eagles managed just 3.0 yards per carry, the balance - 30 passes, 32 runs - was enough to keep the Falcons guessing. "But that's just on us". Special teams. That's been the story this year. We are in this together.

With the ball on the Eagles' 2-yard line, Jones, covered by cornerback Jalen Mills on the play, slipped to the ground and appeared to take a push from Mills. The Birds also defeated the Vikings in both of the seasons they went to the Super Bowl, 2004 and 1980. He failed to find his second read on Saturday as 21 of his 36 pass attempts were to either Jones or Sanu. James White caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, and Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards. Philadelphia had to call upon its defense to preserve the lead, with Matt Ryan's fourth-and-goal pass to Julio Jones with just more than one minute remaining falling incomplete.

Atlanta capitalized on the turnover with a 33-yard field goal from Matt Bryant, giving the Falcons an early 3-0 lead. And it would have Ryan, as the play's name gives away, sprint to his right, allowing the Eagles to focus on defending just one half of the end zone. On other plays, he and Devonta Freeman didn't have an inch to run when Ryan handed off. Foles played well in his first five quarters and struggled in the next five.

In a news conference, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said his players were determined to show they could cope without Wentz, who was ruled out for the season in December when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

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