The Eagles and Falcons had to wait an extra 45 minutes to officially kick off the NFL Season due to Thunderstorms in the area, but once it cleared, fireworks lit up the night. Philadelphia prevailed with an 18-12 victory as this game, much like the last meeting in January, went down to the wire.
The offense struggled once again but did just enough behind a stellar outing from the defense to start 2018 where they left off in 2017… with a win. Here are our likes and dislikes from the game:
Defense – This defense is not only solid but timely. They started the game with a goal-line stand finished it the same way holding one of the top-5 offenses to just 12 points. The defensive front is strong but they create pressure and turnovers when they need it. A true “bend, don’t break” mentality, except they rarely bend either.
Jordan Hicks – Jordan Hicks really showed why he is considered one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL when healthy. He and the rest of the LB core kept the Falcons running backs in check for most of the game shorthanded without Bradham.
Jay Ajayi – Ajayi did not see the ball in the first quarter and some wondered if he was still nursing an injury. Those thoughts were laid to rest as he looked powerful in the fourth quarter, ending his night with 15 carries for 62 yards and 2 major touchdowns.
Philly Philly: Part 2 – The Eagles offense struggled mightily in the first half posting just 68 yards which were 7 less than Julio Jones had over the first two quarters. Although the offense wasn’t great in the second half, the Eagles started their first scoring drive with a doozie of a play on 3rd down outside of field goal range. Video below.
Nick Foles’ demeanor – Foles got caught looking at the imaginary pass rush a few times tonight and it affected some of his throws. He looked ancy in the pocket and underthrew a few balls to receivers tonight, but you gotta hand it to him. The man ends up winning a lot of games even when he isn’t at his best.
Coaching – While the Eagles fought through to claim a crucial win, the coaching looked like they were in their first game of the season as well. Pederson challenged a 3-yard gain early in the game and wasted two timeouts in the second half. Duce Staley also started the game with a mix of Sproles and Clement instead of Ajayi. With Frank Reich gone, the staff looked like they were working their first game together.
Dallas Goedert – Goedert caused a crucial interception that led to the Falcons reclaiming the lead late. It was a classic rookie miscue as contact was coming. You’d just like to see him hang on to the ball, but no harm, no foul after a win.
Rodney McLeod – McLeod dropped two possible interceptions in the first half that could have been game-changing. He himself would tell you he should have had the second one. Other than that, he played well.
Thursday Games – The 45-minute delay made this one pretty painful to stay up for but for the game to go down to the final play caused some heart palpitations throughout the Delaware Valley.
Matt Bryant — 21-yard Field Goal
(ATL 3-0 PHI) Drive: 9 plays, 41 yards (4:07)
Jake Elliott — 26-yard Field Goal
(ATL 3-3 PHI) Drive: 14 plays, 52 yards (8:03)
Matt Bryant — 52-yard Field Goal
(ATL 6-3 PHI) Drive: 8 plays, 41 yards (4:01)
Jay Ajayi — 1-yard run (Elliott XP)
(ATL 6-10 PHI) Drive: 11 plays, 563 yards (5:34)
Tevin Coleman — 9-yard run (Bryant XP – NO GOOD)
(ATL 12-3 PHI) Drive: 2 plays, 27 yards (0:46)
Jay Ajayi — 11-yard run (Ajayi 2PT Conversion)
(ATL 12-18 PHI) Drive: 8 plays, 54 yards (2:32)
The Eagles will have 10 days off before traveling down to Tampa Bay as they look to overpower another NFC South division opponent without their star Quarterback. The next 10 days will allow Philadelphia to get healthier and maybe most importantly, relax a little after a hard-fought battle tonight.