Instant Observations: Falcons 30, Eagles 17


Here are my instant observations from Sunday afternoon’s Eagles-Falcons game.

 OFFENSE

* The Eagles’ only ran four plays in the entire first quarter and were outgained 108 to 5. Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid tried a balanced gameplan with a low-risk, high-efficiency passing game. But that had to be adjusted after the defense showed no ability to stop the Falcons’ offense. Michael Vick was 20-for-34 for 176 yards. LeSean McCoy had 16 carries for 45 yards (2.8 YPC) against a defense that had been allowing opponents to average 5.2 yards per attempt.

* DeSean Jackson had five catches for 59 yards, including a 32-yarder in the third where he ran past Asante Samuel.

* It looked like Jackson thought he was open on a red-zone play in the third. Vick took off and ran, and the Eagles settled for a field goal a couple plays later. Definitely one we’ll have to look at with the All-22 later this week.

* The Eagles got on the board in the second quarter, courtesy of a 2-yard McCoy run. Samuel had a shot at him, but couldn’t bring McCoy down on the play. The drive went 66 yards on 13 plays. They scored another touchdown in the fourth on a 7-yard McCoy reception.

* The Eagles went three-and-out on their first series after the Falcons went 80 yards on the opening drive. Brent Celek had a drop, and Vick was sacked on third down. The Falcons brought a delayed safety blitz, and Thomas DeCoud sacked Vick.

* Dennis Kelly seemed to do fine at right guard, but I’ll have more after re-watching.

DEFENSE

* I am not exaggerating even a little bit when I say this performance could not have gone any worse for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The Falcons scored on their first six possessions. They did not punt until mid-way through the fourth quarter. Matt Ryan was 17-for-20 for 197 yards and three touchdowns… IN THE FIRST HALF. He finished 22-for-29 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Going in, the Eagles had held opposing quarterbacks to a 52.7 percent completion percentage, the top mark in the league.

* Ryan had time to find his receivers all game long. And even when the Eagles got pressure, he was able to move effectively in the pocket or pick up yards with his legs. In the third quarter, Cedric Thornton had the team’s first sack since Week 3 against the Cardinals.

* The Falcons drove 80 yards on 16 plays and took 8:44 off the clock on the game’s opening possession. Ryan found a wide-open Drew Davis in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard score. There appeared to be all kinds of confusion on the play and throughout the first drive. The Falcons went 51 yards on the second drive, and Ryan found Jason Snelling for a 3-yard touchdown. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gave up a third-down completion and then was called for pass interference on the drive. Mychal Kendricks was also whistled for pass interference on the drive.

* On Atlanta’s third drive, Julio Jones went right past Nnamdi Asomugha for a 63-yard touchdown. If Nate Allen was supposed to provide help, he was late. When Asomugha gets beat early in a route, he has no chance of recovering. We’ve seen that all season.

* Casey Matthews started in place of Kendricks at SAM. Kendricks sat out the opening possession because of disciplinary reasons.

* Fletcher Cox started in place of Derek Landri. He nearly had an INT on the second play of the game.

* It seemed like Brandon Graham played his most snaps of the season. Jason Babin committed a defensive holding penalty in coverage on a third down during Atlanta’s first possession.

* The defense was definitely more aggressive as Bowles dialed up several blitzes, but none of them seemed to work.

* Jacquizz Rodgers’ longest run of the season coming in was 9 yards. He picked up 43 yards on a third-quarter carry.

* Trent Cole and Tony Gonzalez mixed it up late. Both players were called for personal fouls.

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