Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles

ATL
12
PHI
18
FINAL
1234T
ATL 330612
PHI 037818

Jay Ajayi scored two rushing touchdowns and the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons.

1:59 | September 7, 2018 | Atlanta Falcons, Football, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

Game Information
Location: Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 69,696

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Matt Ryan to Julio Jones failed in Philly again.

Jay Ajayi had a pair of touchdown runs, Nick Foles caught another pass to jump-start a sputtering offense and the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles needed another defensive stand to open the NFL season with an 18-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

A sloppy, mistake-filled game that featured 26 penalties came down to Ryan throwing an incomplete pass to Jones in the left corner of the end zone on the final play from Philadelphia's 5.

Jones couldn't come down with Ryan's pass from the 2 in the right corner of the end zone in Atlanta's 15-10 loss in the divisional round in January.

"It was deja vu," said cornerback Ronald Darby, who covered Jones on the last play this time around instead of Jalen Mills. "Jones is one of the best but we got the stop."

A weather delay pushed kickoff back 45 minutes, forcing fans to wait for the unveiling of the "world champions" banner following the franchise's first Super Bowl victory. Wearing his gold Hall of Fame jacket, former safety Brian Dawkins riled up the sellout crowd with owner Jeffrey Lurie by his side and led a chorus of "Fly Eagles Fly."

The defense fed off that energy with a strong goal-line stand on the opening series, stopping the Falcons three times at the 1.

"We put a big emphasis on red zone," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We trust our matchups and do we do our job."

They did it again at the end.

After Ajayi's 11-yard TD run and 2-point conversion gave the Eagles a lead with 2:25 left, Ryan led the Falcons down the field. He completed a 36-yard pass to Jones and connected with him again for 18 yards on third-and-17.

The Falcons had a first down at the 10 but Ryan threw four straight incomplete passes. A penalty on Jordan Hicks gave them one more chance and the Eagles held again.

"That's a great defense and a great team," Jones said. "You aren't going to score at will on that team. They won a Super Bowl for a reason, they have the same guys on defense."

Needing a spark on offense, Eagles coach Doug Pederson resorted to the "Philly Special" play that helped the Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in the Super Bowl. This time, Foles caught a 15-yard pass from Nelson Agholor to extend a drive that ended with Ajayi scoring a go-ahead 1-yard TD run in the third quarter.

"It was in our third-down men," Pederson said.

Foles, the Super Bowl MVP still filling in for Carson Wentz, played it safe and the offense was conservative until Pederson turned to his favorite play on third-and-5 midway through the third quarter. Corey Clement took a toss and flipped to Agholor, who threw it to Foles running open down the right side for a gain to the Falcons 26.

Foles hit Zach Ertz for 18 yards on third-and-6 and Ajayi ran in a few plays later to put Philadelphia up 10-6.

"No panic, we're resilient," Pederson said.

Against New England, tight end Trey Burton took a flip from Clement on a reverse and threw a 1-yard TD pass to Foles to give the Eagles a 10-point halftime lead.

Philadelphia's defense overcame a pair of blunders to temporarily preserve the lead. Tre Sullivan kicked a loose ball on a punt and the Falcons recovered the fumble at the Eagles 32. A sack by Fletcher Cox on third down was negated by Derek Barnett's offside penalty to keep the drive going. But Rasul Douglas intercepted Ryan's pass at the 4. Jones said he lost the ball in the lights.

Deion Jones then intercepted Foles' pass that bounced out of Dallas Goedert's hands and returned it 20 yards to Philadelphia's 27, setting up Tevin Coleman's 9-yard TD run that gave the Falcons a 12-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Matt Bryant hit the right post on the extra point.

On a hot, muggy night, it looked more like an August preseason game than a playoff rematch. Both teams looked rusty after many starters didn't play much in preseason. It didn't compare to the action in Kansas City's 42-27 victory at New England in the 2017 NFL opener.

Bryant kicked field goals of 52 and 21 yards in the first quarter.

ANTHEM

Jenkins and defensive end Michael Bennett were on the sideline when the national anthem was played and made no overt demonstrations while it was played. Jenkins raised his fist during "The Star-Spangled Banner" last year and in the first preseason game as one of the most high-profile NFL players protesting racial inequality and other social injustices. He stayed in the tunnel for the last three weeks. Bennett mostly stayed off the field in the preseason. He wandered behind teammates near the bench and adjusted his equipment this time.

INJURIES

Falcons: S Keanu Neal left the game with a knee injury in the first half. ... LS Josh Harris had his streak of 103 consecutive games played end because of a hip injury.

Eagles: WR Mack Hollins was placed on injured reserve hours before the game because of a groin injury.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 16.

Eagles: Visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 16.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Eagles
05:01 Matt Bryant 21 yd FG 3 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Eagles
06:09 Jake Elliott 26 yd FG 3 3
02:08 Matt Bryant 52 yd FG 6 3

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Eagles
04:37 Jay Ajayi 1 yd run (Jake Elliott kick) 6 10

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Eagles
09:48 Tevin Coleman 9 yd run (missed kick) 12 10
02:19 Jay Ajayi 11 yd run (Jay Ajayi 2pt Rush) 12 18

Team Stats
  Atlanta Philadelphia
1st Downs 16 18
Total Yards 299 232
Passing 225 119
Passing Completions/Attempts 21-43 20-35
Yards/Pass 4.8 3.2
Rushing 74 113
Rushing Attempts 18 27
Yards/Rush 4.1 4.2
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles Lost 0 1
Interceptions Thrown 1 1
Possession 27:50 32:10

Atlanta Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matt Ryan 21 43 251 5.8 0 1

Philadelphia Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Nick Foles 19 34 117 3.4 0 1
Nelson Agholor 1 1 15 15.0 0 0

Atlanta Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Devonta Freeman 6 36 6.0 0 20
Tevin Coleman 9 19 2.1 1 9
Julio Jones 1 11 11.0 0 11
Matt Ryan 2 8 4.0 0 6

Philadelphia Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Jay Ajayi 15 62 4.1 2 11
Corey Clement 5 26 5.2 0 21
Nelson Agholor 1 16 16.0 0 16
Darren Sproles 5 10 2.0 0 5
Nick Foles 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1

Atlanta Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Julio Jones 10 169 16.9 0 36
Tevin Coleman 1 26 26.0 0 26
Austin Hooper 3 24 8.0 0 15
Mohamed Sanu 4 18 4.5 0 10
Devonta Freeman 3 14 4.7 0 14
Calvin Ridley 0 0 0.0 0
Eric Saubert 0 0 0.0 0

Philadelphia Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Zach Ertz 5 48 9.6 0 18
Nelson Agholor 8 33 4.1 0 10
Darren Sproles 4 22 5.5 0 9
Nick Foles 1 15 15.0 0 15
DeAndre Carter 1 10 10.0 0 10
Dallas Goedert 1 4 4.0 0 4
Mike Wallace 0 0 0.0 0

Atlanta Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Desmond Trufant 6 0 0 0
Brian Poole 5 0 1 7
Robert Alford 4 0 0 0
Ricardo Allen 4 1 0 0
De'Vondre Campbell 4 2 0 0
Deion Jones 4 5 0 0
Grady Jarrett 3 2 0 0
Damontae Kazee 2 0 0 0
Deadrin Senat 2 1 0 0
Derrick Shelby 2 0 0 0
Takkarist McKinley 1 0 1 6
Vic Beasley Jr. 1 0 0 0
Jack Crawford 1 0 0 0
Terrell McClain 1 0 0 0
Keanu Neal 1 1 0 0
Duke Riley 1 0 0 0
Deante Burton 0 1 0 0
Kemal Ishmael 0 0 0 0
Foyesade Oluokun 0 0 0 0
Brooks Reed 0 1 0 0
Eric Saubert 0 0 0 0

Philadelphia Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Jalen Mills 6 0 0 0
Jordan Hicks 5 2 1.5 12
Ronald Darby 5 1 0 0
Rodney McLeod 5 1 0 0
Malcolm Jenkins 3 0 0 0
Sidney Jones 3 1 0 0
Fletcher Cox 2 1 1.5 8
Brandon Graham 2 0 0 0
Corey Graham 2 0 0 0
Kamu Grugier-Hill 2 1 0 0
Derek Barnett 1 1 0 0
Michael Bennett 1 1 0 0
Nathan Gerry 1 0 0 0
Destiny Vaeao 1 0 0 0
Chris Long 0 4 1 5
Jay Ajayi 0 0 0 0
Rasul Douglas 0 0 0 0
Rick Lovato 0 0 0 0
LaRoy Reynolds 0 0 0 0
Wendell Smallwood 0 0 0 0

Atlanta Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Deion Jones 1 20 0

Philadelphia Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Rasul Douglas 1 0 0

Atlanta Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Philadelphia Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Shelton Gibson 2 43 21.5 0 30

Atlanta Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Justin Hardy 2 11 5.5 0 6

Philadelphia Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Darren Sproles 3 29 9.7 0 12
Tre Sullivan 1 0 0.0 0 0

Atlanta Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Bryant 2 2 100.0 52

Philadelphia Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Jake Elliott 1 1 100.0 26

Atlanta Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Matt Bosher 6 286 57

Philadelphia Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Cameron Johnston 6 313 65