The Dan Quinn era got off to a perfect start as the Atlanta Falcons survived a late comeback from the Philadelphia Eagles to win 26-24 after some excellent play on defense.
It was a dream start for the Falcons, swarming to the football and shutting down a strong Eagles offense. Atlanta looked a million miles away from the league’s worst defense, which it was last season. Sam Bradford couldn’t get anything going, and DeMarco Murray finished the half with minus-4 yards.
On offense, the Falcons moved the football with ease but continued to stall in the red zone. Leading 13-3 with 1:05 in the second quarter, Bradford was picked off by William Moore. The result? A Julio Jones touchdown—his second of the day—to put Atlanta up 20-3 at the half.
Dominant. Atlanta started the second half with the ball. With a chance to kill off the game, Matt Ryan threw a pick which set off a series of dominoes. The momentum had swung, and it was all Philadelphia. The Eagles scored 14 unanswered points to make it 20-17.
Ryan and the Falcons’ offense was able to move the football, but again, the drive stalled. The ever-reliable Matt Bryant converted a 44-yard field goal to put Atlanta up 23-17, but the momentum was still very much in Philadelphia’s favor. Bradford continued to make it look easy, picking off the Atlanta defense at will. Six plays and 80 yards later, the Eagles lead for the first time. Down by two, the Falcons marched back down the field. And guess what? You got it, a stalled drive with a field goal. Bryant converts and it’s 26-24.
On fourth-and-1, Chip Kelly decided to kick a field goal in uncharacteristic fashion. Up steps Cody Parkey, and it’s missed. With the football, the Falcons have the opportunity to close it out. Three and out. Atlanta once again put the game in the hands of the defense, but could someone make a play?
Bradford completes to Sproles for two yards on first down. He targets Sproles again but this time it’s incomplete. On third down, with the game hanging in the balance, Bradford’s pass was tipped into the hands of Ricardo Allen. Ballgame.
Dan Quinn has his first victory as head coach, and the Atlanta Falcons move to 1-0 with a huge primetime victory over one of the NFC’s top teams. Next up, it’s the Giants.