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. The defense held the Falcons to a field goal.
The Falcons are going to have a painful, regret-filled offseason, one year after what, by the numbers, was the most painful, regret-filled offseason of the NFL's Super Bowl era. "He's not ready to lead a team and I don't think he'll be able to lead a team". He still was able to get to his feet and nearly make a play on Matt Ryan's floating pass on fourth-and-goal.
While Foles did not turn the ball over on Saturday, he also did not throw a touchdown pass and did little to instil much confidence in Philadelphia's offence. Eagles tight end Trey Burton barely missed blocking a punt in the first quarter. "We just believe in one another". Foles' terrible overthrow should have easily been picked, but Neal mistimed the ball and it caromed off his knee and right into the hands of Eagles receiver Torrey Smith for a fluky 20-yard gain.
Philadelphia's defense limited Atlanta to 281 total yards on the day, which included shutting down starting running back Devonta Freeman to the tune of seven rushing yards on 10 carries. The Eagles even hung up copies of analyst predictions to show how many people were siding with the Falcons. However, on the very next play, Jay Ajayi fumbled and it was recovered by the Falcons. The Eagles nearly scored when Foles picked up a third-down fumble on a botched play, but he was stopped at the 1-yard line. Thanks to social media, we can take a look and relive the jubilation of yesterday's win. The Falcons were called for two questionable pass interference penalties in the first quarter. Credit Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas for building a roster with enough depth to withstand the injuries its sustained this year and Pederson for fostering a next-man-up culture.
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Ajayi returned at the start of the second half. There were glimpses, yes, like in Week 15 when he was 24 of 38 for 237 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-29 win over a hapless Giants outfit.
Everyone's already breaking down the Atlanta Falcons' final drive.
In this matchup of birds of prey, what's a dog got to do with it? "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". Under his command, this Eagles defense has been transformed into an elite unit. The Eagles did beat the Saints in 1993, 36-20, behind a 26-point fourth quarter from the Birds.
"Since Carson (Eagles first string quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz) went down, nobody gave us a chance", coach Doug Pederson said, referring to the oddsmakers, who installed the Eagles as 2.5 point underdogs, and most media pundits. The Eagles last made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season, losing to New England. So perhaps there is a bit of destiny on the line if the Vikings can pull out a victory this afternoon.