Eagles hold off Falcons to reach NFC title game

Eagles hold off Falcons to reach NFC title game

The Atlanta Falcons' season came to a disappointing end after falling 15-10 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.

Here's Stefen Wisniewski tossing Falcons safety Ricardo Allen like a rag doll, and then following that up with a second block on safety Keanu Neal.

Falcons go coldQuarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons and teammates react against the Philadelphia Eagles. "But falling short sometimes is the best motivation to keep pushing forward and trying to yearn to become a better player, to become a better team, and I've never shied away from that".

"In the first half, I still felt good", Foles explained.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson's message to Nick Foles this week was "just be Nick".

Well, Foles exceeded the passing totals and even though the Eagles managed just 3.0 yards per carry, the balance - 30 passes, 32 runs - was enough to keep the Falcons guessing. "But we made too many mistakes". Foles' bad overthrow should have easily been picked, but Neal mistimed the ball and it caromed off his knee and right into the hands of Eagles receiver Torrey Smith for a fluky 20-yard gain. The 14-play, 86-yard drive put the Eagles ahead 6-3 with 10:28 left in the second quarter. Ajayi had 49 rush yards on seven first-quarter carries, but the Eagles' run game stalled after that, netting 47 yards the remainder of the game. The drive started at Philadelphia's 7-yard line, and the Eagles advanced 74 yards in 12 plays.

"Biggest emotion is for the team, for the guys, the resiliency, backs against the wall, people discounting us", Pederson said.


Neither offense, however, looked playoff-ready through the first two quarters.

Atlanta's special teams' unit has been strong all season. So with precious seconds ticking off the clock in the final stages of Saturday's NFC divisional round game, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan tried to make a statement of his own. The Falcons punted on six of their nine drives. The veteran always played hard for the Birds and it was nice to see him get some redemption after making a potentially fatal mistake.

Elliott made it a one-point game with another kick at the gun when he nailed a 53-yard field goal to send the Eagles to halftime trailing 10-9.

Atlanta averaged 22.1 points per game, down from 33.8 last season.

The Eagles defense had their backs against the wall.

Thanks to Foles doing just enough to get by on offense after completing 23 of 30 passes for 246 yards with no turnovers, Philadelphia was able to prove all of the doubters wrong by hanging on for the tough win against Atlanta to advance to the NFC Championship to face the victor of Sunday's game between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. If you asked any Eagles fans if they would sign up for that stat line prior to the game, they would have taken that in a heartbeat. The Eagles did beat the Saints in 1993, 36-20, behind a 26-point fourth quarter from the Birds. They've haven't reached the Super Bowl since Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Co. lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in February 2005.

Yet the Falcons still kept helping them.

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