Eagles Progress to the NFC Championship in Dramatic Fashion

The Philadelphia Eagles progressed to the NFC Championship match next week after they defeated the Atlanta Falcons in dramatic fashion. The Eagles defence stopped Matt Ryan on a 4th and goal with less than a minute remaining to win the game 15-10.

A cold afternoon at the Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia fans were filled with excitement. They were playing their first playoff game since 2013 and they come into the playoffs as the number one seed.

On the opening drive for the Eagles, Nick Foles drew a huge pass interference call on the Falcons to give them the ball in Atlanta’s territory. You could hear fans in the stadium creating a loud atmosphere but that was short lived when Eagles RB Jay Ajayi fumbled the ball deep in Atlanta territory. This was one of four turnovers the Eagles had committed in the first half, two of them went to Atlanta which resulted in points.

In the second quarter, the Eagles special team muffed a punt return and gifted Atlanta the ball near Philadelphia’s end zone.

Ryan and the Falcons took advantage of both turnovers as they scored their 10 points on the drives following the turnovers. On their first offensive possession, Atlanta took the lead with a Matt Bryant 33-yard field goal. Philadelphia fought back with a LeGarrette Blount one-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead. Rookie kicker, Jake Elliot missed the following PAT try. The Falcons took the lead shortly after when Matt Ryan avoided a sack and found Devonta Freeman for a six-yard touchdown.

Matt Ryan
Ryan throwing a Touchdown pass to Devonta Freeman. Image Credit: Chris Szagola/ AP

With less than a minute to go, the Eagles had the chance to put some points on the board. A spectacular, yet crazy catch from Torrey Smith kept the Eagles drive going as Nick Foles’ pass was overthrown and deflected off an Atlanta Falcon’s knee into the hands of Smith. As the clock was ticking down, Foles found Alshon Jeffery with one second remaining to attempt a 53-field goal for Jake Elliot which he hammered home.

Atlanta went into the half leading by one point.

The second half started with both teams trading possessions. The atmosphere was tense as the home side were down by one point in a game where anything could happen. The first points of the second half came from Philadelphia late in the 3rd quarter. Nick Foles completed five of seven passes on a 12 play, 74-yard drive. It resulted in a 37-yard field goal from Elliot and it gave them a 12-10 lead.

 

The Eagles defence played brilliantly throughout the game and momentum swung towards the Eagles when safety Rodney McLeod sacked Matt Ryan for a 10-yard loss.

Philadelphia managed to get the ball back and played smart by taking time off the clock. A 14 play, 80-yard drive which took over seven minutes off the clock resulted in a field goal by Elliot to give them a five point lead. It also meant Atlanta needed a touchdown to win the game.

Matt Ryan started on his own 23-yard drive and managed to drive down the field to Philadelphia’s goal line with less than a minute to go. The Eagles stood firm with on first, second, and third down. The game down to fourth and goal on the three yard line.

Ryan snapped the ball, rolled right to find his go-to man in Julio Jones, but he stumbled and went to the floor. Ryan managed to extend the ball and eventually he found Jones who leapt high to catch the ball, but it went straight through the receivers hands and Philadelphia got the ball back on their own 3-yard line.

Image result for eagles vs falcons jones fourth down picture
Julio Jones fails to catch a crucial fourth down pass from Matt Ryan. Image Credit: Matt Rourke/ AP
Living dangerously with a five point lead on their own three yard line, the Eagles had to find a way to get out of their own end zone and they did as Grady Jarrett was called for an offside penalty. One first down later and the Eagles had won the game in dramatic fashion.
Philadelphia Eagles celebrating their victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Image Credit: NFL
Despite being labelled as the underdogs going into the game, the Eagles progress to the NFC Championship game next week as the host where they will face either the New Orleans Saints or the Minnesota Vikings.

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