The Atlanta Falcons traveled to Philadelphia Sunday and left with a win for the first time since 1988. Atlanta moved to 7-0 on the season after an impressive 30-17 outing against the Eagles.
Below we will grade each area of the game for the Falcons”
Offense (Grade – A): Sunday was arguably Atlanta’s best offensive outing since Week 3 in San Diego. Matt Ryan played an exceptional game in his return to his home state of Pennsylvania. He threw for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. In the first half alone, Ryan completed 17 of 20 pass attempts for 197 yards and had a 147.3 passer rating.
The Falcons running game racked up 146 yards with Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers doing most of the damage with 58 and 60 yards, respectively. The offensive line performed well against a stout Eagles defensive line only giving up two sacks the entire game. They gave Ryan plenty of time to throw the ball and held their blocks long enough for him to successfully extend plays by leaving the pocket.
The receiving corps backed Ryan with Julio Jones leading the way with five receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown, including a 63-yard bomb from Ryan in which Jones was one-on-one with Nnamdi Asomugha. Jones beat Asomugha badly on the play en route to putting the Falcons up 21-7 late in the first half.
Roddy White had three receptions for 38 yards. While those numbers seem low, White played the roll of dependable veteran Sunday, coming up with catches that were key to the Falcons’ drives. Drew Davis, who played in place of Harry Douglas had two receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Davis’ play shows just how much depth the Falcons have on offense.
Defense(Grade – A): The Falcons’ defense showed up to play from the very first snap on Sunday. After the offense marched the ball down the field, the defense came in and immediately forced a three-and-out.
The Eagles first drive was three plays for negative three yards and lasted a minute and a half. That stop gave the ball back to the offense and gave it great field position to march down the field again to put Atlanta up 14-0 early. Once the defense got the 14-point cushion, it played with a passion and focus that had been missing the last few weeks.
The defense shut down LeSean McCoy, holding him to 45 yards on 16 carries. Taking McCoy out of the game made Mike Vick’s job even harder, as he had no choice but to try to take on the the workload almost all by himself. Vick was held to 191 yards passing on 21-for-35 passing and he was held to 42 yards on seven carries.
Vick struggled all day to get anything of substance going as the defense clamped down on his array of targets and pressured him consistently, even sacking him three times. DeSean Jackson was the leading receiver for the Eagles with five receptions for 59 yards. Shutting down the Eagles potent passing game and holding the 10th-best rushing offense in the league to 92 yards, on their home field, was impressive.
Special Teams (Grade – A): Thanks to the play of the offense, special teams really didn’t have to do much work. Matt Bosher had two punts over the span of the entire game, his first didn’t even come until 5:35 of the fourth quarter. The always dependable Matt Bryant made all three of his field goals, with a long of 43.
Rodgers had two kickoff returns for a total of 30 yards and Dominique Franks had a punt return of 11 yards. The Falcons didn’t have much need for the special teams but when called upon, they came through once again.
Coaching (Grade – A): This coaching staff gets it. It was clear going into the bye week that a few adjustments needed to be made. Head coach Mike Smith and coordinators Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan put on a coaching clinic Sunday, and it was clear to see on Ryan’s first touchdown pass to Davis.
The play consisted of Julio Jones being used as a decoy on an underneath route. Three Eagles defenders flocked to Jones, leaving Davis wide open in the endzone. Plays like that one speak volumes about the coaching on this team. The play was perfectly designed and called at a perfect time in the game.
Smith and his staff completely out-coached Andy Reid and the Eagles’ staff from the very start of the game. The first drive of the game was 16 plays and 80 yards which lasted almost nine minutes. It set the tone for how the game would go from then on. The coaches put the Eagles in a position where they needed to score on every offensive drive and that’s hard for any team to do. Atlanta has found a trio of coaches that match their talented roster and that’s scary for any opposing team.