Give coach Pederson a big “atta-boy” in this one— he seemed to learn from the past as he concentrated on establishing his run game up the gut which paid off in time of possession, thereby keeping the ball out of Matty Ice’s cold fingers, and he finally displayed professional discretion in taking the points with a field goal when “aggressive Doug” would have gone for it…
And Doug apparently recognized that a ball-control offense, even if it didn’t hit paydirt in the end zone, would keep his defense fresh— while the Falcons defense visibly was gassed and fatigued.
Nice to see a plan based on common sense come together…
Of course some dropped passes, dumb plays, horrible officiating calls/non-calls and some missed FGA’s kept it interesting.
In the wake of the Eagles’ loss to the New York Giants last week — the team’s fourth in five tries — safety Malcolm Jenkins laid out the recipe needed for the Eagles to have success over the second half of the season.
“We have to stay patient on offense, stingy on defense, aggressive on special teams,” he told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
It worked against the Falcons— the PSA formula…
Eagles 24, Falcons 15— coach Doug Pederson re-established the ground game, as Mathews (19 carries, 108 yards) became the first Eagles running back to go over 100 yards since DeMarco Murray last October. That ball-control style of attack limited the number of chances for Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ top-rated offense. Jim Schwartz’s defense held an Atlanta attack that averaged an NFL-high 34 points per game to just one touchdown, as Ryan was hit six times and sacked twice while completing just 55 percent of his passes.
As usual this year it came down to a final minutes drama…
With 2:24 left in the game, the Eagles’ defense needed to come up with a critical stop. The Falcons, down by six points, decided to go for it on fourth-and-5 from their own 40. Quarterback Matt Ryan looked to Julio Jones and threw downfield, but the pass fell incomplete and the Philadelphia defense got the ball back into Carson Wentz’ hands.
The Eagles went on to add a field goal on that possession, making the score 24-15 with two minutes remaining. When Atlanta got the ball back, Ryan again tried to pass to Jones but Leodis McKelvin came up with the interception. That turnover sealed the Eagles victory.
Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards and led the Eagles (5-4) to a comeback victory for the first time this season. Caleb Sturgis made three field goals, including a clutch kick from 48 yards to seal the win late.
Mathews ran in from the 5 and also converted the 2-point conversion for a 21-15 lead with 7:14 left in the game.
On Atlanta’s ensuing possession, Julio Jones dropped a pass on third-and-12 and the Falcons punted away. Jones couldn’t make a difficult catch on fourth-and-5 on Atlanta’s next drive.
The Falcons came in averaging 33.8 points. But they settled for field goals of 38, 43 and 46 yards by Matt Bryant before Ryan connected with Gabriel.
Ryan Mathews had just nine carries combined in the past two games while 33-year-old Darren Sproles was featured. But coach Doug Pederson made a point to establish the run right away. Mathews carried seven times for 34 yards on the first drive, taking it in from the 4 for a 7-0 lead.
Rookie Wendell Smallwood had 70 yards rushing and Philadelphia finished with a season-high 207 on the ground.
Matt Ryan was 18 of 33 for 267 yards, one TD and one interception.
DRIVE-STOPPERS: Vic Beasley Jr. had two sacks, including a strip that forced Wentz to fumble and the Falcons recovered at their own 42. Philip Wheeler stopped Mathews at the 1 and Paul Worrilow tacked Mathews for a 1-yard loss on the next play to force a field goal in the fourth quarter.
PLAYING DEEP: On consecutive plays to end the first half, Julio Jones and then Eagles wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham played deep safety to defend potential desperation passes.
INJURIES: Eagles CB Nolan Carroll left the game late in the first half after sustaining a concussion in a collision with Jordan Hicks … Falcons CB Desmond Trufant, RB Tevin Coleman and TE Jacob Tamme sat out with injuries. Eagles LG Allen Barbre missed his second straight game.
The Eagles (5-4 and very much alive in the wild-card playoff hunt) enjoy a sigh of relief and satisfaction before they gear up to fly to Seattle for the Seahawks next Sunday.
|Passing 1st downs||7||12|
|Rushing 1st downs||3||12|
|1st downs from penalties||1||1|
|3rd down efficiency||2-11||5-14|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||0-1|
|Yards per Play||6.3||5.6|
|Yards per pass||7.3||5.8|
|Yards per rush||3.7||5.5|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-1||2-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|N. Carroll II||2||1||0||0|
|M. Smith II||1||1||0||0|