The Eagles came into this game as 3 point underdogs at home… as the number one seed… against the number six seed. This was their fuel throughout the week leading up to this game. As the game began the Eagles got the ball first and immediately tried to get a big play but the ball Nick Foles threw down the field got caught in the wind and landed about 15 yards short of Torrey Smith, but drew a defensive pass interference call. This set the Eagles up down the field at Atlanta’s 33-yard line. On the very next play, Jay Ajayi fumbles the ball and the Falcons recover. On their drive, Matt Ryan carved up the Eagles defense and drove right down the field and kicked a field goal.
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So, for the rest of the first half, it was a defensive showdown. Both of the Eagles and Falcons ensuing drives ended in a punt. Personally as an Eagles fan, at this point I was nervous. Foles did not look good and the offense could not seem to get in a groove. But, just as my worst fears were setting in the Eagles came out and drove down the field and scored on a fourteen play 86 yard drive for a touchdown. Nine out of the fourteen plays on this drive were designed runs, which again marked another drive dominated by runs. This put the Eagles up 6-3 after Jake Elliot missed the extra point. At this point, it seemed as if the momentum had shifted in the favor of the Eagles as they force the Falcons to punt on their next drive. But on the punt, the ball hits Patrick Robinson as he is blocking a Falcon down the field. The Falcons recover and four plays later they scored a touchdown. The only other scoring that happened was an Elliot field goal as the time expired at halftime. At this point, the score was 10-9 Atlanta and Nick Foles wasn’t looking too good leaving me still deep in worry.
Both teams came out of halftime and went three and out on their opening drive. The Falcons then began to mount a decent drive that started at their own 12-yard line but the Eagles defense held and forced them to punt. Philadelphia then came out and drove 74 yards down the field and got a field goal. But, this drive something else in store for spectators, Foles actually looked pretty good. He went 5-7 for 70 yards and some of the throws were through tight windows and were just overall nice throws. At this point, the Eagles were up 12-10 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Philly’s defense then quickly forced the Falcons to go three and out and gave Foles the ball back. Foles led the Eagles on a long time consuming 14 play 80-yard drive that led to another Elliot field goal. Putting the Eagles up 15-10 with six minutes left in the game, also forcing the Falcons to have to score a touchdown to take the lead.
The Final Drive
The game was coming down to this last drive by the Falcons, starting at their own 24-yard line the Falcons began their drive to try to take the lead late in the game. Matt Ryan and the Falcons looked unstopped for most of the drive. They drove right down the field. The Eagles forced a fourth down at Atlanta’s 42 after a challenged catch was overturned. But again, Ryan connected with his target Julio Jones who made some great plays throughout the game. As the drive continued the Falcons were inching closer and closer to the end zone. And before the fans knew it, it was first and goal at the nine. After an incomplete pass on first down Ryan found Jones again for a completion to the two-yard line. The game came down to one play, fourth and goal from the two-yard line. Ryan rolled out and again looked for Jones but the ball was just out of his reach and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs. The Eagles take over on downs and run out the remaining time sending them to the NFC Championship game.
The Eagles offense definitely looked shaky in the first half. Foles came out in the second half and actually played pretty well, his stat line this game was decent, 23-30 for 246 yards no touchdowns or interceptions. As the Eagles wait to see Sunday night who they will face next week. The early lines for both the Saints and Vikings both have the Eagles as underdogs. This is no surprise considering they were underdogs against the sixth seed. Personally, if the team plays as they did in the second half I believe that they have a decent chance next week and I hope they are underdogs again so they can use it as a motivator as they did in this game.