The Falcons came into Saturday’s Divisional matchup with a Eagles as highway favorites. That’s a top-seeded Eagles, 3-point home dogs opposite a sixth-seeded Falcons. Part of that had to do with Atlanta’s convincing win over a Rams in Los Angeles in a Wild-Card round. And partial of that had to do with an Eagles group forced to start Nick Foles.
But after a indolent start, Foles staid down, a Eagles’ invulnerability stiffened, and a Falcons couldn’t modify on a vicious fourth down with reduction than a notation to go that cemented a 15-10 feat and put Philadelphia in a NFC Conference Championship diversion for a initial time given a 2008 season.
Here are 6 takeaways from a Eagles’ win.
This was all about Nick Foles
There were a lot of reasons to like a Falcons on Saturday. The review started with Matt Ryan and a well-balanced offense and finished with “They’re confronting Nick Foles.”
In his 3 regular-season starts, Foles looked zero like a Eagles quarterback who, in 2013, started 10 games and finished 64 percent of his throws with 27 touchdowns and usually dual interceptions, and a passer rating of 119.2. There were glimpses, yes, like in Week 15 when he was 24 of 38 for 237 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-29 win over a untimely Giants outfit.
But in his final dual starts — opposite a Raiders and Cowboys — Foles was 23 of 49 for 202 yards, one touchdown, dual interceptions and a passer rating of 48.2. But all altered opposite a Eagles. Yes, Foles looked shaky on his initial series. His really initial chuck was a arm punt-iest of arm punts:
But a football gods done it transparent early that they were examination out for him. The Falcons were flagged for defensive pass division on a play. Unfortunately, a football gods done no such promises to Jay Ajayi, who fumbled a play after and set adult a Falcons’ expostulate that finished in a Matt Bryant margin goal.
But Ajayi done adult for a miscue; he had 49 rushing yards in a initial entertain and combined 44 receiving yards, including 32 on this 3rd-and-7 acclimatisation early in a fourth entertain that set adult a Eagles’ final margin goal:
Foles finished a night 23 of 30 for 246 yards with no turnovers and he took usually one sack. And while a Eagles’ usually touchdown came on a LeGarrette Blount one-yard run, that was a cherry on tip of a 14-play, 86 yard first-quarter expostulate that relied mostly on a using diversion and in a routine authorised Foles to get comfortable. And once he did, he was a best quarterback on a margin for a final 30 minutes.
Despite entrance into a diversion as 3-point underdogs, SportsLine’s Stephen Oh explained that Philadelphia was still sticking to a win luck of 51 percent, that was fortuitous on one thing: Foles personification like a replacement-level quarterback. Oh’s simulations likely that Foles would chuck for fewer than 200 yards and 1.3 flitting touchdowns and if he could extent turnovers (the make-believe projects 0.7 interceptions) and gaunt on a using diversion (the make-believe projects 4.5 yards per lift for a using backs), a Eagles would have a possibility to lift a upset.
Well, Foles exceeded a flitting totals and even yet a Eagles managed usually 3.0 yards per carry, a change — 30 passes, 32 runs — was adequate to keep a Falcons guessing. And now Foles is one diversion divided from a Super Bowl.
In box you’re already looking forward to a least-likely quarterback showdown, there’s a 2.8 percent possibility Foles faces Blake Bortles in a Super Bowl.
Falcons couldn’t find that descent balance
A week ago, when a Falcons throttled a Rams, they had 72 sum descent snaps and 39 were runs. They tranquil a round for 37:35, including 13:07 in a third quarter, that started with a Falcons removing a round and going on a 16-play, 76-yard expostulate that finished in a Matt Bryant margin goal. Of those 16 plays, 12 were runs. Against a Eagles, a Falcons had 59 plays and usually 20 were runs. They did normal 4.3 yards per lift though a Eagles aren’t a Rams; L.A. ranked 22nd opposite a run, according to Football Outsiders’ metrics, while Philly is No. 3. And they’re seventh opposite a run. Put another way: The Falcons indispensable a near-flawless diversion plan, generally with Foles personification a approach he did. But when it mattered a Eagles’ D stiffened, hold a Falcons to 4 of 13 on third down, sacked Ryan 3 times, and hold one of a league’s best offenses to 281 sum yards.
That said, a Falcons still had a possibility to win it.
Facing a 4th and 6 with 3:30 to go and trailing, 15-10, Ryan and Julio Jones did this:
But confronting another fourth down from a Eagles’ 2-yard line, and with usually over a notation to go, here’s a play a Falcons went with:
Which immediately lifted a many apparent question:
Also not assisting on that play: Jones initial fell down, afterwards let a round trip right by his hands.
This was a penalty
This happened mid by a initial quarter:
Eagles reserve Rodney McCleod was flagged for nonessential roughness. Here’s a question: How else was McLeod ostensible to make a play on a ball? Run around to a other side of Mohamed Sanu and strike him there? Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman even weighed in.
Sherman isn’t even wrong.
This was not a catch
On a Falcons’ final drive, a play usually before Jones’ 20-yard squeeze on fourth down (see above), Sanu seemed to have a initial down. But a Eagles challenged that he mislaid control of a round as he went to a ground:
Good news: The replay officials got it right.
The miss of coherence stays maddening.
When birds face birds in a postseason, a hometown birds are now 10-0.
There is no such thing as home cookin’ when it comes to a man using a clock, during slightest not in a postseason:
The Falcons’ deteriorate again ends in disappointment. The Eagles, meanwhile, will horde possibly a Vikings or Saints subsequent Sunday in a NFC Championship game.
For now, we can relive all a sorcery from Saturday’s live blog: