01/14/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2018 19:34
After a wire-to-wire battle, the Eagles advance to the NFC Championship Game after knocking off the Atlanta Falcons 15-10.
The game came down to a fourth-and-goal with a minute remaining at the Philadelphia 2-yard line. Cornerback Jalen Mills was able to do his best to defend a pass intended for Julio Jones forcing a turnover on downs.
It's the first time the Eagles have advanced to the Championship Game since 2008. The Eagles will await the winner of the Vikings-Saints game to play next weekend at Lincoln Financial Field.
On the opening play, quarterback Nick Foles faked a handoff and launched one deep to Torrey Smith who drew a pass interference call against cornerback Brian Poole which set the Eagles up at the Atlanta 33-yard line. However, Ajayi had the ball knocked loose by Ricardo Allen on the ensuing play and the Falcons recovered the fumble at the Atlanta 26.
The Falcons were able to capitalize on the turnover as Matt Bryant connected on a 33-yard field goal to put Atlanta up 3-0.
Early in the second quarter, wide receiver Nelson Agholor showed his ball carrier skills and picked up 21 yards on an end-around to set the Eagles up for first-and-goal. A fumbled handoff on third-and-goal was recovered by Foles at the 1-yard line. The Eagles went for it on fourth-and-one and Blount rushed in along the right end for a touchdown. Jake Elliott missed the extra point which left the score 6-3 with 10 minutes to go in the first half.
Philadelphia forced a punt on Atlanta's next drive but on the return, multiple Eagles were unable to come up with possession of the loose ball after it was touched and the Falcons took over at the Philadelphia 18. Inside the red zone, the Eagles were called for two penalties - an unnecessary roughness call against safety Rodney McLeod and a holding penalty against cornerback Jalen Mills. On third-and-goal, the Falcons scored on a short 6-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to running back Devonta Freeman to make the tally 10-6.
Later, Foles was able to find Jeffery for a 15-yard gain with a second left to bring the Eagles to the Atlanta 35. Elliott smashed home a 53-yarder as time expired to narrow the lead to 10-9 at halftime. The field goal was the longest in Eagles postseason history.
The third quarter was stagnant until the Eagles offense took over with just under six minutes to go. Foles connected with Jeffery three times during the drive which all resulted in first downs. Elliott drained a 37-yarder and the Eagles reclaimed the lead at 12-10.
The defense stood strong and forced a Falcons punt on the opening drive in the fourth quarter. The offense responded with a 14 play, eight-minute drive that ended with another Elliott field goal to extend the lead 15-10.
Head coach Doug Pederson challenged the ruling of a completed catch from Mohamed Sanu on third-and-6 and the call was overturned which brought up fourth down. The Falcons, however, were able to convert on the following play on a 20-yard completion to Julio Jones.
Later though, it all came down to an Atlanta first-and-goal from the nine-yard line, with the seaosn on the line. On fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line, Mills broke up a pass intended for Jones in the end zone which resulted in a turnover on downs. The Eagles ended the game in the victory formation.
Nick Foles: 23-30, 246 yards
Matt Ryan: 21-34, 203 yards, TD
Alshon Jeffery : 4 catches, 61 yards
Julio Jones: 8 catches, 94 yards
Devonta Freeman: 6 yards, TD
Jay Ajayi: 15 carries, 54 yards, FUM Defense:
Tevin Coleman: 9 carries, 69 yards
LeGarrette Blount: 9 carries, 19 yards, TD
Nigel Bradham: 1 sack
Rodney McLeod: 1 sack
Ricardo Allen: FF
Takkarist McKinley: 1 sack
Defense:Fletcher Cox< /a>: 1 sack