Philadelphia's offense was not impressive, but the Eagles defense was as they overcame the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the NFL divisional round.
The Eagles shut down Atlanta's potent offense and earned a berth in next week's NFC championship game following Saturday's triumph at Lincoln Financial Field.
Atlanta (11-7) were actually favoured to knock off the NFC's top seed, because the Eagles offense has sputtered since starting quarterback Carson Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a week 14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
However, Atlanta's eighth-ranked offense that averaged nearly 365 yards per game was held to 281 yards by the Eagles on Saturday.
"That's a really good Atlanta team we beat and everybody's excited," Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox told NBC Sports. "We got a big team win. We'll be ready for next week."
With the win, the Eagles (14-3) will host next week's NFC title game against either the New Orleans Saints or the Minnesota Vikings, who play on Sunday.
EAGLES COACH PEDERSON HAD PERFECT GAME PLAN
Despite a shaky start that included running back Jay Ajayi fumbling on his first carry and two poorly thrown passes by Nick Foles, the Eagles settled down and implemented Doug Pederson's superb game plan. Foles, whose struggles over the final two weeks of the regular season were a big reason the Eagles were home underdogs, finished 23 of 30 for 246 yards with completions to eight different players. He completed just one pass thrown beyond 15 yards as Pederson used a variety of short throws to build his quarterback's confidence.
From there, the Eagles receivers did a great job of getting yards after the catch. Alshon Jeffery was the top receiver with four catches for 61 yards while rookie running back Corey Clement led the team with five receptions for 31 yards. Ajayi, who ran for 54 yards, caught three passes for 44 yards. Foles did get lucky as the Eagles got a field goal to make it a 10-9 Falcons lead before half-time thanks to a fortunate deflection. A Foles pass went off the knee of a leaping Keanu Neal and the ball caromed back to Eagles receiver Torrey Smith.
"We just kept believing in each other. That was it. Our team never wavered," Foles told NBC Sports. "Defense did an amazing job. Special teams.
"That's been the story this year. We all stuck together and believed we could move the ball."
RYAN DID NOT SCAN THE FIELD WELL
The Eagles sacked Matt Ryan three times, but even when the Falcons quarterback had time, he was locked in on either Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu. When the Falcons reached the Super Bowl last season, they did so largely because Ryan did an incredible job of spreading the ball around. He failed to find his second read on Saturday as 21 of his 36 pass attempts were to either Jones or Sanu. Jones finished with nine catches for 101 yards on 16 targets while Sanu had three receptions for 50 yards on five targets.
Ryan's final pass, on a fourth-and-goal from the two, was incomplete as he tried to force it to Jones in the corner of the end zone.
Taylor Gabriel, who had two catches for four yards, was the only other Falcons receiver with more than one target. Ryan's best pass may have been an improvisational throw as the Falcons capitalised on an Eagles turnover to take a 10-6 lead in the second quarter.
A muffed punt, which bounced off the feet of at least two Eagles players, led to a Falcons touchdown. Ryan did his best Brett Favre impression to spin away from pressure before lobbing a short pass to a crossing Devonta Freeman for a six-yard score.
Ryan was the 2016 NFL MVP because he made plays like that, but he was not nearly as productive in 2017 and was hamstrung by play calling and the Eagles defense on Saturday.
SAINTS-VIKINGS WINNER WILL REPRESENT NFC IN SUPER BOWL
While Foles did not turn the ball over on Saturday, he also did not throw a touchdown pass and did little to instil much confidence in Philadelphia's offense. The Eagles' defense is among the league's best, but the Vikings have the NFL's top defense and the Saints defense ranks third with 20 interceptions.
Whether it is the Vikings or the Saints, the Eagles defense might be on the field too much and the game could get away from Philadelphia despite the benefit of homefield advantage.
24 de marzo 2018
|Colombia collapse a slap for France, says Giroud|
|Vazquez wants Spain to face Messi|
|Gotze, Sahin mentoring Jadon Sancho at Dortmund|
|Low to make changes for Brazil friendly as injured Can heads home|
|Conti targets Milan derby for injury return|
|Bancroft charged over ball-tampering incident|
|Bancroft faces ball-tampering allegations as South Africa take control of third Test|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton out to make pole count, Ricciardo ready to fight|
|Northern Ireland 2 South Korea 1: Son frustrated as World Cup preparations stutter|
|Olympiacos & Nottingham Forest owner denies any wrongdoing over drug trafficking charges|
|I´ll dance with the fans - Gayle ready to party in Harare|
|Two games in two days! Ireland´s Doyle returns from Turkey to play for Bradford|
|Bancroft caught up in ball-tampering row|
|Everything is fine again! Khedira offers positive fitness update|
|Puyol ´doesn´t see any problem´ with Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Spain already know their team - Sampaoli seeks Argentina certainty|
|No offers for ´happy´ Bellerin, insists Arsenal full-back´s agent|
|F1 teams up with Netflix for documentary series|
|Iker is trembling already! - Ramos hunting down Casillas´ cap record|
|Warriors leave it late to preserve winning start, Hayne injures hip|
|Silva leaves Spain squad for personal reasons|
|Egypt coach Cuper declares Salah among world´s best|
|A-League Review: Simon haunts managerless Mariners, Jakobsen opens City account|
|Ricciardo: I´ve been shot in the ankle before season has even started|
|Alvarez temporarily suspended over positive test|
|Ronaldo trumps Salah, Messi missing - winners and losers from Friday´s internationals|
|Giggs wants Bale to stay at Real Madrid|
|Canes end Highlanders´ winning run|
|Bottas ´sorry´ for qualifying crash|
|Muller and Ozil set to miss Brazil friendly|
|´I wanted to wipe the smile off your face´ - Hamilton-Vettel rivalry already simmering|
|Ramos hails Spain´s belief after Germany draw|
|Buffon not ready to walk away as Italy look to the future|
|Hamilton breaks records to take pole in Melbourne|
|Curry suffers MCL sprain in first game back from ankle injury|
|Rain ruins day three in Auckland|
|Celtics get another short-handed win, Curry injured again|
|Wozniacki exits as Venus, Konta cruise in Miami|
|Wozniacki stunned by Puig in Miami|
|Mexico 3 Iceland 0: Layun scores brace in friendly win|
|Djokovic struggles continue as Cilic, Dimitrov progress|
|Usain Bolt not ready for top level, says Stoger|
|Ronaldo is a goal – Santos hails Portugal star|
|Pro Bowl TE Bennett announces retirement from NFL|
|Broncos acquire Veldheer from Cardinals for sixth-round pick|
|Dustin Johnson smashes 489-yard drive at Match Play|
|Celtics star Irving to have procedure on knee|
|Giants lose Bumgarner, Samardzija to injuries days before season opener|
|Dybala and Icardi World Cup chances not over yet, says Sampaoli|
|Reed dumps Spieth out, Harman accounts for McIlroy|
|James: Colombia can´t get carried away with France win|
|Italy to wait on Verratti injury|
|Lopetegui happy with Spain showing against ´physically stronger´ Germany|
|Warriors rampant, Weir inspires Edinburgh|
|Messi has had hamstring injury for ´some time´|
|Forward-thinking Southgate makes case for England´s defence|
|McLeish to ring Scotland changes for Hungary clash|
23 de marzo 2018
|Rodrigo dedicates Spain goal to Canizares after death of son|
|France were taught a lesson in aggression by Colombia, says Deschamps|
|Late Simmonds penalty breaks Bath hearts|
|Ronaldo up to third on all-time list after Portugal brace|
|Cowboys boost receiving corps with Allen Hurns signing|
|Tigers cling on to win Elland Road thriller, Saints respond at Hull KR|
|Meunier expects PSG will sack Emery|
|Tony Romo finishes last in PGA Tour debut|
|Germany friendly emotionally important for Brazil - Tite|
|France 2 Colombia 3: Quintero completes stunning comeback in Paris|
|Portugal 2 Egypt 1: Late Ronaldo double stuns Salah-inspired Pharaohs|
|No Messi, no Magic – Sampaoli playing a risky game ignoring Dybala|
|Netherlands 0 England 1: Lingard strikes to ruin Koeman´s debut|