The Philadelphia Eagles were unable to put together a full 60 minutes of solid play in their Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, losing 26-24. And while there were plenty of impressive performances, inconsistent plays ultimately doomed the Eagles on Monday night. Let's take a look at who played well, and whose game still needs work:
Kiko Alonso: The Eagles' newest middle linebacker helped keep the team in the game when things were looking ugly early. Alonso's gorgeous first quarter interception of Matt Ryan in the end zone put a halt to the Falcons' offense, and helped the Eagles crawl back in to the game. Outside of his big play, he finished the night with six total tackles and a pass defensed.
Darren Sproles: Just like last year's Week 1 game, Sproles helped move the offense when it was stagnant. He finished the game with five carries for 50 yards and seven catches for 76 yards. He was a mismatch for the Falcons defense all game, breaking off big plays to help move the offense.
Mychal Kendricks: The linebacker many observers thought would be gone by Week 1 ended up leading the Eagles in tackles. Kendricks finished the night with 10 combined tackles, one of which was an open-field tackle on third down that forced Atlanta to settle for three points. Kendricks and Alonso are an impressive tandem inside, and that should only improve as time goes on.
DeMarco Murray: Murray didn't get many touches Monday night (12, to be exact), but he made them count. Murray scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. Murray should certainly get the ball more in the weeks to come, and hopefully more touchdowns follow as well.
Byron Maxwell: While Alonso - the other of the Eagles' prized offseason acquisitions - had a nice debut, Maxwell did not. In a game featuring one of the league's best receivers in Julio Jones, the Falcons seemed content to go after Maxwell on routes short and deep alike.
Eagles fans have been used to seeing that kind of treatment with players like Bradley Fletcher, but the big contract Maxwell received is supposed to mean he doesn't lose as many battles as he did Monday night. It's obviously still extremely early in the season, but Maxwell is going to have to string together some successful performances to make fans forget about this game.
Cody Parkey: The game should have never come down to a make-or-break field goal, but that's why kickers are on the team. Parkey hit a short field goal early in the game. but he couldn't deliver when his team needed him most, missing a 44-yarder in the fourth quarter that would have given the Eagles the lead.
Malcolm Jenkins: It's a little unfair to put Jenkins in this spot. After all, he did have some nice plays, including a nice third down stop on 3rd and 1 late in the fourth quarter. But he also dropped two interceptions, and missed some assignments in the passing game. If last year is any indication, Jenkins should be fine.
Chip Kelly: This was an odd game for the Eagles' head coach. For one, he had quarterback Sam Bradford throw the ball 52 times, while only giving his running backs 16 carries between the three of them.
Then there was the biggie. On 4th and 1 from the 26, and with the Eagles offense humming, Kelly elected to pull the offense off the field and go for the field goal. A made field goal would have put the Eagles up by one, but if the offense converted the fourth down try they could have scored--or at least made it an easier field goal attempt.
It's a classic "what-if" scenario, and unfortunately it's one all of Philadelphia will be debating for the next week--at least.