The Eagles defeated the Falcons 24-15 and improved to 5-4 and 4-0 at home. Let’s take a look at the best and worst from the game.
The Birds won, and looked really good doing it. The defense, running game and kick return unit all played great games. After too many games of starting off poorly, the offense had a nearly 8 minute touchdown drive on their first possession. Carson Wentz had a couple of bad plays but otherwise played a fine “game manager” game, keeping his team in a close game on every drive. On defense, the Eagles made MVP favorite Matt Ryan look like just another quarterback. The Eagles needed a complete game to pull off the win, and they got just that.
Relegated to spot duty the past two games, Mathews played his best game of the year, running for 108 yards on 19 carries with 2 TDs. If he was in the doghouse, he busted out of it.
With 70 yards on 13 carries, Smallwood was a very effective change of pace to Mathews.
Kenjon Barner & the kick return unit
114 yards on 3 kick returns, Barner had a tremendous game as a kick returner, to which his blockers deserve a good deal of credit for as well.
The Eagles held the highest scoring offense in the league scored just one touchdown and only 303 yards. Julio Jones’ 10 catches for 135 yards overstates his performance, he had a couple of big catches but had more than a few bad drops. It was even worse for Atlanta on the ground, the Eagles held Devonta Freeman to just 49 rushing yards. The Eagles defense has looked very good when all starters are available, but when one is either out or just affected by injury, it has stumbled. That wasn’t the case here. Nolan Carroll left the game with a concussion and the secondary held its ground. Jalen Mills was picked on a few times, but like all season the defense adjusted as the game went on. Mychal Kendricks had a very strong game, Bennie Logan had an impact in his return and Malcolm Jenkins had a strong game as well.
This game was a test of which top unit was better, the Falcons offense or the Eagles defense, and the Eagles defense made the Falcons offense look sub-par.
Their offense had their worst game of the season, their only trip to the end zone due to a bad hamstring. Their defense did them no favors by letting the Eagles control the clock on the ground. And Dan Quinn took what will probably be the dumbest time out of the year, using his last time out to stop the clock with 2:01 left in the 4th. Did he forget there was a two minute warning? This isn’t college.
Another game, another pathetic performance by the Eagles pass catchers. Jordan Matthews had an otherwise good game but his awful drop when he was wide open deep in Falcons territory was deflating. Nelson Agholor dropped a third down, the two passes he caught totaled 7 yards. Dorial Green-Beckham did as much as you did, and Bryce Treggs’s threatening speed was no where to be seen.
The pass interference on Darren Sproles non-call was bad, but the non-call of a textbook and dangerous helmet to helmet hit from Keanu Neal on Jordan Matthews was one of the worst calls of the year. On the heels of Roger Goodell saying that full time officials won’t solve anything, the NFL’s lack of commitment to improving officiating and their nominal caring of player safety needs further attention.