September 07, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles pulled out a simultaneously sloppy but thoroughly entertaining opening game against the Atlanta Falcons, and are now 1-0 to start the season. As always, we hand out 10 awards.
In the third quarter, with the Eagles badly needing a spark offensively, Pederson called "Philly Philly," which was the sequel to "Philly Special." It was a near-identical play to the one the New England Patriots ran against the Eagles in the Super Bowl, with the only exception being that the the Eagles were in 12 personnel, while the Pats were in 11 personnel.
Here's the version the Pats ran in the Super Bowl:
And here's the version the Eagles ran Thursday night.
That is simply awesome. Doug, take a bow.
Foles can certainly catch the football, but he had trouble throwing it. On the night, Foles was 19 of 34 for 117 yards (3.4 YPA), and a QB rating of 50.7. And he's lucky it wasn't worse, as Robert Alford somehow dropped a gift-wrapped INT, like Keanu Neal did a year ago in the playoffs.
The Eagles-Falcons line opened with the Eagles favored by 4.5 points. By the time the game had begun, it had swung all the way back the other way, with Falcons favored by 1. This time around, Lane Johnson didn't have time to break out his dog mask, but it's interesting that bettors continue to doubt this team, especially at home.
Going back to the 2016 season, if you take out the Eagles' meaningless Week 17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last season, the Eagles have won 12 straight games at Lincoln Financial Field. In chart form:
In those games, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 351-168.
Jordan Hicks returned from a torn Achilles, and he didn't look at all like a player still hampered by that injury. On the night, he had 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup. Here he is running right through Devonta Freeman for one of his sacks.
Jordan Hicks just ran straight through Devonta Freeman lmao pic.twitter.com/k3lZfGJ1RX— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 7, 2018
If Hicks can stay healthy, he and Nigel Bradham can be one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
The last three times the Eagles have faced the Falcons, Julio Jones has put up huge numbers.
|Julio Jones vs. Eagles
|Division round, 2017 playoffs
|Week 1, 2018
Despite Jones' big performances, the Falcons were unable to score more than 15 points in any of those games.
Barnett had two bad offsides penalties.
The first negated a Chris Long sack on 3rd and Goal, giving the Falcons another shot at the end zone. The Eagles woud hold the Falcons to a field goal anyway.
The second negated a Fletcher Cox sack that would have ended a drive. The Eagles regrouped from that penalty when Rasul Douglas picked off Matt Ryan. Actually, on that drive, the Falcons might have tried a long field goal within Matt Bryant's range, so maybe Barnett's penalty was a blessing in disguise.
With a ball just kind of bouncing around after a Falcons punt, Sullivan wandered a little too close, and the Falcons pushed him into it, resulting in a muffed punt, which Atlanta recovered. That was the most egregious of the many dumb errors the Eagles made Thursday night, which need to be cleaned up.
Yes, it's only Week 1 and talking about playoff seeding seems ridiculous, but when you're a team as stacked as the Eagles, the regular season goal should be home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This was such a potentially huge game in terms of tie-breaker implications.
I swear I'm not crazy for pointing this out.
Cox's stat line won't wow anyone. If you look at the box score, it will tell you that he had 2 tackles and a sack. Meh.
But he was clearly dominant all night long. He had 4 hits on the quarterback, he had a sack taken away, and he consistently pushed the pocket all night, which led to sacks for some of his teammates.
Cox looks like a different guy this year, and I think he is going to be a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate. I'm looking forward to watching his play when the All-22 comes out.
On a night when the Eagles' Super Bowl banner was unfurled, it was almost fitting that the team wasn't on the field to see it. A rain delay forced the team inside, so they missed the festivities. That sort of jibes with the players' decision to have a large Super Bowl sign removed from the locker room this week, on the premise that it is a new year, and past accomplishments are exactly that.
The 2018 Eagles are off to a sloppy, but positive start. They're 1-0, with a few bad opponents on the horizon.
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