Eagles 24 – Falcons 26
1Q: ATL 3 PHI 0
2Q: ATL 17 PHI 3
3Q: ATL 0 PHI 14
4Q: ATL 6 PHI 7
The Eagles took the field last night against the Falcons in the season opener and came up a little short. The Eagles started out slow and a dug a hole they just couldn’t climb out of. Give the Falcons credit. They had a solid game plan and kept the Eagles off balance with great play action and different formations. Mainly with Julio Jones. If you noticed he lined up in a different spot almost every play. I’m going to break down this recap blog into two categories. What I liked and what I didn’t like. Below is my prediction from the preview blog. I’m going to copy and paste my prediction into every recap blog just to see where it stacks up with the game itself.
Prediction – If you listened to episode 5 of the Birds Scoop Podcast you know I’m very bullish on the Eagles. I expect them to have a great year. I believe that starts next Sunday at LFF against Dallas. The Eagles are going into this game with 3/4 of their secondary being replaced from the following year. The Falcons have a top 5 receiving corp and this will present a solid test right out of the gate. This game is going to be a high scoring contest. The Falcons are tough at Home and ultimately I think they will pull it out. Eagles 28 – Falcons 31
WHAT I LIKED
Sam Bradford – Anyone who thought Bradford is to blame for this loss doesn’t know football. His first regular season game in 99 weeks (yes 99 weeks). He was 36/52 for 336 YDS 1 TD 2 INT. He was a little off in the first half but was really dialed in during the second half. Bradford was 20/22 during that stretch. Chip Kelly didn’t help him out (more on that to come). Sam took multiple shots and bounced back every time. Good to see.
Defensive Line – The combination of Cox, Logan and Thornton really controlled the line of scrimmage. They were tough at the point of attack and were consistently in the back field. Logan continued his dominated play from the preseason. It’s going to be very fun watching him all year. Cox got the loan sack of the game for the Eagles.
Jordan Matthews – Tough break for Matthews letting that ball get through his hands at the end leading to Bradford’s second INT. He finished with 10 catches for 102 yards. He was owning the real estate between the hashmarks. Took a couple big hits and really fought all game. He wasn’t the reason the Eagles lost either.
Kiko Alonso – El Bravo didn’t waste anytime getting on the good graces of Eagles’ fans. He made a game changing play with an outstanding one handed interception deep in Eagles territory. He didn’t show any effects of his knee injury from 2014. He makes a nice pairing with Kendricks at the ILB position.
Safeties – Jenkins and Thurmond were real difference makers last night. Thurmond carried over his play from the preseason with an interception to start the second half. Jenkins was all over the field and made a potentially game saving tackle on 3rd – 2 deep in the 4th quarter. He surprised Jake Matthews with a blitz and was able to trip up Devonte Freeman.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The Pass Rush – This might be the most alarming point of emphasis from last night. The Falcons offensive line is bad and that’s putting it nicely. The fact the Eagles generated absolutely zero pash rush from Barwin and Graham or even blitzing is cause for concern. The depth was a big question mark coming into this season. This is a crippling deficiency if they can’t get it figured out.
Byron Maxwell – Maxwell was awful last night. Plain and simple. $63 million and $22 guaranteed should net the Eagles a better return. This secondary performance looked a lot like what we saw last year. This relates back to the pass rush too. The pass rush and coverage on the back end are interchangeable but doesn’t excuse Julio Jones running wide open most of the game. Jones isn’t an easy cover. One of the best receivers in the game gives anyone fits. It’s only one game for Maxwell but not a good start. A Dez Bryantless Cowboys team looks even better now. I do expect Maxwell to bounce back. He is a good corner.
Offensive Line – I thought the offensive line struggled for the entire fist half. They were fooled on multiple stunts and Gardner and Barbre looked over whelmed at times. They didn’t give up any sacks but couldn’t provide any holes in the first half for the running game. The Falcons front seven was in the backfield from the get go. This unit committed multiple penalties as well. To their credit I thought they played much better in the second half. Peters pitched a shut out against Vic Beasley.
Coaching Staff – Prior to this year I questioned Chip Kelly’s play calling one other time (Last year against SF). Last night was the second. I just don’t understand the ratio of 16 runs and 52 passes. Especially since Bradford needs to be eased in. The Eagles have the 3 horseman of running backs and didn’t even give them a chance to get going. There were two 3rd downs where I lost my cool watching the game. The first one was in mid way through the second quarter. 3rd – 1 and Chip goes with an empty backfield and the play ends with Beasley batting down the ball. That has to be a run there. No excuses. It’s easy to second guess now but I would have went for it on 4th down right before Parkey’s missed FG. On the road in that atmosphere. You pick up that first down and continue to drive. I wasn’t impressed with Billy Davis, and honestly haven’t been for 2 years now. He did make some nice adjustments in the second half but why did it take him that long to do so? The adjustments need to come quicker in my opinion.
Cody Parkey – During the preseason I said I wasn’t worried about Parkey. Now I’m worried about Parkey. If you go back to preseason he was pushing everything right. What do you know, he pushed one right again. He does have a groin injury so I’m not sure how that is effecting him if at all but he needs to be better. Chip said he hasn’t lost faith in Cody, but what did you expect I’m to say?
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It’s Dallas Week. Time to move on.