The 13-3 Eagles, led by second-string quarterback Nick Foles, take on Exton, Pa.'s Matt Ryan and the 10-6 Atlanta Falcons in a divisional playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. Ryan threw incomplete on first and second down, then connected with Jones to the 2 on third down, setting up the final play.
Meanwhile, the Eagles, who looked like the top team in the National Football League for a good portion of the season, lost star quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in a win over the Rams late in the season. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman each chipped in this one, yet it was Coleman who rushed the ball far more effectively against Jim Schwartz' defense. It'd be stunning to see the Patriots lose, considering New England has been favored to win the 2018 Super Bowl for just about the whole season. They battle to the end.
The Eagles head coach has not received much credit this year, and his qualifications were questioned plenty prior to the season.
"It's a play we've had in our arsenal, but never got to it", Pederson said. According to NFL.com, Ryan is the third-highest rated postseason passer of all time with a 70.7 completion percentage, 10.1 yards per attempt, 16:3 TD-to-INT ratio and 119.1 rating over his last six playoff games. The first was a 12-play, 74-yard drive ending with a 37-yard field goal to make it 12-10 in favor of the Eagles.
"It was really more like a PCL, and I really started feeling stuff on my PCL".
"Just do your job", said tackle Fletcher Cox. "We always talk about that". Entering the game, Quinn spoke of the importance of remaining balanced on offense, and the Falcons are at their best when the run can set up the play-action pass. "There are a lot of good things that we've done, and it was highlighted tonight that we didn't get it done at the end of the game".
Mistakes hurt the Eagles in the opening half.
With 7:41 left in the half, an Atlanta punt bounced off Philadelphia special teams player Bryan Braman and was recovered by the Falcons' LaRoy Reynolds at the Philadelphia 18. The Falcons attempted a pass play with one minute left, but Ryan was unable to connect with Jones for the game-winning score.
That's when Matt Bryant's number was called and, as he has all season long, the Falcons' veteran kicker booted a 33-yard field goal to give Atlanta the early 3-0 lead. But the reason is obvious: With MVP candidate Carson Wentz injured, backup Nick Foles is starting under center for the Eagles. But the quarterback quickly dived on the loose ball and was ruled to have scored.
Jake Elliott, who made all three of his field goal attempts on the day, would miss the extra point.
The second half was a totally different story. Foles' errant pass ricocheted off Neal's hands to Torrey Smith for 20 yards.