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Eagles Win War of 18-12 Over Falcons - The Morning After

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Good morning campers,

 

So, despite rumors to the contrary, we are indeed back for our...get ready for it….10th season of TMA on Philly2Philly.com!  It’s a great feeling coming back with our Eagles as first-time defending Super Bowl champions.

 

That “feeling” will take us to next Sunday, as the Birds narrowly escaped with a HUGE victory in Week 1. Luckily, I had the fortune of attending this playoff rematch from last January, and man…..history basically repeated itself. I’m all out of adjectives.

Why is it HUGE, you ask? More on that later.

Let’s get to getting!

We have to start with the obvious: the unveiling of the 2017 Super Bowl Champions banner. Of course, as most triumphant sports moments go in the annals of Philly sports history, it was delayed by rain. That’s ok. We waited almost 60 years to see something like this. An extra 30 minutes won’t kill us—although that lightning could have (rim shot!).

TMAI was obviously multitasking during the game, so P2P founder Joe Vallee is here as well.

First Quarter: Paging Mr. Sandman

The Eagles played the first quarter as if they just awoke from a hibernation, particularly on offense. Their best offensive plays were five yard penalties... by the Falcons D.

On defense, it was a similar slumber with a “bend but don't break” goal line stand.

Joe: Steve, couldn’t agree more. Early on, the Birds looked like they had slept all winter, spring and summer, and just woke up for the game about five minutes beforehand.

That being said, that goal line stand on the Falcons initial drive was pretty sweet (although it seemed like they got there rather easily). Atlanta has been waiting eight months to score in that end zone, and this brought back a lot of memories from the end of that playoff game in January. As it would turn out, the Eagles had a few more stops left in them before it was all over.

Second Quarter: More of the Same

The Birds continued their sleepwalking ways. Yes, the offense got into the Red Zone, but a costly penalty took care of that resulting in a FG—their only points of the half.

Nick Foles looked average at best and the OL struggled mightily in both run and pass protection.

On defense, the Eagles vaunted kind could not sustain consistent pressure, and were, in fact, lucky to have allowed only 6 points.

All in all, lots of rust to get rid off at halftime.

Joe: “Rust” is the right word. Unfortunately, this was the same Nick Foles from the preseason. The same Nick Foles I thought we were going to see last December after Carson Wentz went down. It did take him some time to get into a groove last season, so hopefully, it’s more of the same until Wentz comes back. Foles is either spot-on or horrendous, but Thursday night, he was more underwhelming than anything. Eagles banner

To be fair, this team really misses Alshon Jeffery, and the O-Line needs some time to work things out. While the lack of a deep ball resulted in lesser chances for turnovers, the one INT Foles threw later in the game really wasn’t his fault.

At the same time, however, the Falcons had amassed 106 total yards by the second quarter, while the Eagles had 1. Yes, you read that right. 1 yard. Thankfully, Jay Ajayi had some touches as the half drew to a close.

As far as Jason Kelce’s penalty goes...that was very questionable. So questionable that even “Mr. Philly” himself, Cris Collinsworth, actually defended him on that play. Kelce has been penalty-prone in the past, but I can’t recall too many called on him last season. Either way, it hurt the Eagles field position immensely, and it can’t become a pattern again.

Let’s fast forward to the Third Quarter, where things really got interesting:

Philly Special: The Sequel

During a pregame interview, Doug Pederson wouldn’t reveal whether he had another “trick play” up his sleeve. Turns out, he absolutely did, and once again, it caught the opposing team by surprise. This time, Nelson Agholor stood in for Trey Burton and tossed a 15-yard pass to Foles. Granted, sequels rarely surpass the original and the stakes obviously weren’t as high as the Super Bowl, but Philly Special: Part Deux (or Philly Philly) somewhat ignited a stagnant Eagles’ offense, and Ajayi scored the first of his two touchdowns moments later. For a brief moment, I actually didn’t care that this term has totally screwed Philly2Philly in SEO (Don’t believe me? Type in “Philly2Philly” in your search window and see what you get).

Fourth Quarter: The Reprise

After several heads up plays mixed with some ill-advised decisions, it’s safe to say everybody had a sense of Deja vu as the game once again came down to another goal line stand. This time, Julio Jones, who basically scorched the Eagles’ secondary (with the exception of Ronald Darby), came up with Matt Ryan’s pass, but it was ruled incomplete, and the Birds squeaked by with a HUGE W.  More on this in our final word.

A Few Notables:

-How awesome was it to have retired Birds Brent Celek and Donnie Jones on the field for the coin toss? A very classy move by the an Eagles organization that historically has not always made the right moves regarding players and staff (Google “Dan Baker firing,” Brian Dawkins - Broncos, etc.). Speaking of B-Dawk, you can never go wrong having him out there to warm up a championship crowd.

-Did you hear the Philly fans boo as halftime began? I’ll just leave that there. Fee free to comment, as I’d be interested in hearing everybody’s thoughts on this.

-After seven months of some well-deserved backlash for their Super Bowl commentary, it seemed that one half of everybody’s favorite broadcasters (no, I’m not talking about Merrill and Mike) Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, continued his Birds bashing during the game. Apparently, Collinsworth admitted his notable frustration in regards to a few of the Eagles’ touchdowns in the Super Bowl that he deemed as questionable earlier this week.

As a result, he thinks gave fans the wrong idea. I won’t reference it, because the particular site sued me once, but Google it. You’ll find it.

Sidenote: One time, somebody watching a game with me that Collinsworth was working looked at me and said, “What the hell does this beanpole know about football anyway? It’s not like he ever played.” I proceeded to them he actually had an eight-year NFL career and was on two Super Bowl teams. They were shocked. Hard to believe, Harry.

-Despite Pederson wanting to bring Ajayi along slowly, it was pretty obvious that the timeline got sped up tremendously after the offense sputtered the way it did.

-Speaking of offense, it was great to see Jason Peters back in action. Moreover, although he didn’t have much of a stat line, the same goes for Darren Sproles.

-With Jeffery out of the lineup, both Zach Ertz and rookie Dallas Goedert both need to step up and better performances than they did. Ertz, who basically wasn’t seen until late in the first half, dropped a pass (one of several) for the first time since November 2016. Normally as sure-handed as they come, hopefully, he gets them out of the way.

-Last year, the Eagles had a knack for making game-changing plays on defense. It seemed someone was always there at the right time to turn the game in their favor. Although the team missed a number of potential interceptions on Thursday, Rasul Douglas didn’t miss his opportunity. Despite the Birds turning the ball over during their next possession, the team must continue their aggressiveness in this department if they want to duplicate their success from 2017.

-Yes, it was a flag-happy game on behalf of the refs and pass interferences were called way too frequently. However, maybe it was just me, but I thought overall (with the exception of the absurd call with one second remaining on the clock at the end), more of those calls were in the Birds’ favor. Does this have anything to do with the team finally winning a Super Bowl? Of course, if they lose on that last play, it’s a whole other story. Anyway, I’m sure something will happen this year to reinforce the fact that the zebras still hate us, so nevermind.

-The Green Zone is even more awful than the hockey puck tracker. Please get rid of that, NBC.

-Two commercials really seemed to grab my attention. I’m going to avoid commenting on the Nike ad, because either way, someone will disagree with me, and it’s not a battle I feel like fighting. So there’s that.Photo: Wccftech.com

While I don’t own a Playstation 4, I am a comic book geek, and that Spiderman game looks absolutely stellar. If I did own one, I would’ve already downloaded the game.

Crown Royal aired what might have been the first commercial involving a major alcohol brand whose product was the secondary focus. Instead, it involved a “Water Break” for customers in the bar who were drinking their product and want to “stay in the game.” It might have gone over some people’s heads, but I thought this was brilliant. Will it knock some sense into those who have a tendency to “booze and cruise”? You’ll never know, but it’s worth a shot. Kudos to them.


A final word: Plain and simple, this wasn’t pretty. To say the Eagles’ defense was the primary factor in this win is a massive understatement. They got to Matt Ryan when it counted, and their multiple goal line stands will be discussed for quite some time. The Birds are banged up. We know this. Frankly, I didn’t have them winning this game. Time and time again, however, this team surprises me.

 

Over the course of a season, teams win games they shouldn’t, as well as lose some games they should win. The Falcons have now lost Super Bowl LI, last year’s playoff game and this year’s opener to the Eagles in extreme, heartbreaking fashion. In short, Atlanta and Ryan have to be one pissed off football team right now. They play the Eagles tough, this might not be the last time they play again this year, depending on how their respective seasons play out.

 

 The Eagles won’t sneak up on anybody in 2018, and just one loss could make the difference between a first round playoff bye and having to play on the road. The Bucs and Colts aren’t the Vikings and Rams, but the Birds can’t let up on the gas.  

Steve, so awesome to have you back for another year of TMA. Hope you enjoyed the game.

Now that I think “Time’s yours” is officially retired, I truly have no idea how to end TMA. So I’ll close with this: Just remember, whenever you hear somebody slight our Super Bowl champions, you know what to tell them:

“No one likes us, we don’t care.”

 

 See you next week!

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

@JoeVallee214

 

Contact Steve Olenski at steveolenski@yahoo.com

 

@SteveOlenski


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