Nick Foles left the field with the lead… and this time the defense finished the job.
Boy, was that some harrowing shit. And I think Julio Jones probably should have caught that 4th down pass… but he didn’t. And now we’re talking about the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The big takeaway from this one is really easy; the Eagles were FAR from perfect and still found a way to get it done. If you told me earlier this week that they would miss an extra point and finish with a -2 turnover differential, I would have chalked it up as a loss, no doubt. But they really buckled down and overcame a sloppy start, with Jay Ajayi recovering from his early fumble (and Doug Pederson giving him the opportunity to do so). The defense played lights out all night long, holding the Falcons to just 10 points, all of which were scored off two turnovers.
The Birds did well in auxiliary areas to win this game. They won the possession battle, 32 to 28 minutes. They put together extended scoring drives of 14, 12, and 14 plays. The defense held Atlanta to a 4-13 (30.7%) third down conversation rate, well down from their league-leading 44.7% regular season number. Jones got his yards (101 on nine grabs), but didn’t find the end zone. All three units finished with just 4 penalties for 24 yards. And they even had some balls bounce their way, not the fumble on the punt, but the disallowed Mohamed Sanu catch, the Nick Foles fumble recovery, and the ridiculous completion that came off a Falcon safety’s knee, just like they drew it up.
And if you watched any post-game stuff on NBCSN or the NFL Network, you now understand that this team felt totally disrespected by the home dog designation they were given. In my experience, coaches and players say they don’t care about what the media or public says or does, but that’s rarely true, especially when they’re being written off. Clearly, they were motivated by the nationwide diss.
More importantly than anything I just wrote, I think the biggest positive is that you’re going into the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP game with this guy feeling a lot more confident about himself: