Eagles vs. Falcons Final Score: 12 Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Win

Here’s what we learned about the Eagles in Week 10.

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz. (Jeff Fusco)

The Philadelphia Eagles are now 5-4 after beating the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday by a final score of 24 to 15. Here’s a look at 12 things to be learned from this game. 

1 – The Eagles can win a close game

Prior to this week, the Eagles were 0-4 in games decided by less than 10 points. Now the Eagles finally have a win in that category. They closed a game they deserved to win.

This Eagles victory further cements the notion that they’re a good team. They’re 5-4 and not too far away from having a better record if they hadn’t beaten themselves in most of their losses. If Philadelphia can stay out of their own way, there’s reason to be optimistic about this team moving forward. It feels like they have a legitimate chance to win each week. That’s a testament to the coaching given the lack of talent at certain spots on this roster.

2 – The Eagles are a good home team

The Eagles have struggled on the road, but there’s no denying they’re a good home team. The Birds are now 4-0 at Lincoln Financial Field this season. They’ve outscored opponents 108 to 38 in that span. That’s an average of 27 to 9.5 per game. The Eagles’ four home wins in 2016 have already surpassed their three home wins under Chip Kelly last season. The good news for the Eagles is that four of their remaining seven games will be played at the Linc. It’s going to be a tough place for opponents to play.

3 – Carson Wentz was good enough

Wentz didn’t post sexy numbers in this game. He completed 69.4% of his passes for 231 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 86.7 passer rating. He also lost possession of a fumble despite originally falling on it after he got sacked.

Still, Wentz was good enough for the Eagles to win. He avoided the killer mistakes he made in last week’s game against the Giants. Wentz had some real nice passes on Sunday. It was an overall good performance from the rookie quarterback. He didn’t have to carry the team to victory.

4 – Darren Sproles isn’t the lead back after all

Remember when Doug Pederson said Sproles was his No. 1 back earlier this week? Well, about that …

Sproles only had two carries for 19 rushing yards against the Falcons. The Eagles gave the majority of attempts to Ryan Mathews. Mathews hasn’t had a great year but he stepped up on Sunday with 19 rushes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Mathews also punched the ball in on a two-point conversion late in the game. The Eagles’ offensive line obviously deserves credit for giving Mathews room but the veteran running back helped his case by running hard.

Wendell Smallwood also finished with a lot more carries than Sproles. The rookie rusher had 13 attempts for 70 yards. Smallwood’s pass protection needs work but there’s no denying he has some nice running ability. He’s performed well in limited action this season.

5 – Jim Schwartz stopped the NFL’s best offense

The Falcons were averaging nearly 34 points per game heading into Week 10. Atlanta’s lowest point total was previously 23. Now it’s 15 after Schwartz’s unit largely shut down the Falcons’ offense.

This is a really impressive feat. The Falcons were primed for a big day after Philadelphia’s lackluster cornerback situation. Nolan Carroll was dealing with a hamstring injury before having to leave the game early. Rookie seventh-round pick Jalen Mills was matched up against Julio Jones one-on-one quite often. Despite this, the Birds held up pretty well.

The Eagles’ defense wasn’t perfect, but it was a really strong effort from Schwartz’s unit. There was a lot of good tackling from Philadelphia. The Eagles seemed to do a good job of getting pressure and winning in the trenches.

Matt Ryan entered this game with the NFL’s best passer rating at 119.0 and he was held to 78.7. The return of Bennie Logan helped the Eagles’ run defense hold the Falcons’ rushing attack to 3.7 yards per carry.

6 – The Eagles can win without their wide receivers

Give Pederson a lot of credit for his play-calling in this game. The Eagles changed things up on offense and put some nice scoring drives together. And they did it largely without help from their wide receivers. Dorial Green Beckham and Bryce Treggs weren’t even targeted in this game.

Nelson Agholor had two bad drops, including a brutal one on a clutch situation in 3rd-and-2 late in the game. Jordan Matthews also dropped a wide open catch that would have given the Eagles a shot at a long field right before the end of the first half.

Instead of relying on their receivers, the Eagles leaned heavily on Zach Ertz (six catches, 55 yards) and Sproles (eight catches, 57 yards). Pederson did a good job of making sure his best skill players got the ball.

7 – Jordan Matthews deserves an apology from the refs

It’s a joke that the Falcons didn’t get penalized for this Keanu Neal hit on Matthews.


“Yes, I definitely think it was a penalty,” said Matthews. “My helmet was bent. I had to get a new face mask. I had to change out my face mask and my visor. I don’t know what [the referees] saw, but at the end of the day we got the win, so I will take a bloody lip if we get a win.”

Officiating continues to be a big problem in the NFL.

8 – Leodis McKelvin went from zero to hero

McKelvin wasn’t even really supposed to be playing on Sunday. Prior to the game, the veteran cornerback told Pederson he wasn’t feeling good. But then Nolan Carroll suffered a concussion and McKelvin had to come in.

It wasn’t pretty at first. McKelvin got beat deep for a touchdown when he bit on a double move.


But McKelvin’s performance wasn’t all bad. He finished with three passes defensed. A few of those should have been interceptions, but he finally righted his wrongs with a game-sealing pick. Redemption.


9 – Caleb Sturgis came up big when it counted most

Sturgis missed a 44-yard attempt wide and he came up too short on a kick from 55 but his 48-yard field goal was huge. The Eagles were considering going for it on 4th-and-1 and it wouldn’t have been hard to blame them given their kicker’s earlier struggles. But Pederson trusted in his kicker and it paid off. Sturgis’ kick made it a two-possession game to help seal the Eagles’ fifth win of the season.

10 – Kenjon Barner was an unsung hero

Barner has been productive whenever he’s had a chance to touch the ball in limited opportunities this season. Case in point on Sunday when he returned three kicks for 114 yards (38.0 average). Barner’s returns gave the Eagles good field position on multiple occasions, which is important for an offense that’s far from being considered a juggernaut.

On a broader level, Dave Fipp’s special teams unit continues to shine yet again.

11 – The Eagles’ first round pick keeps getting better

Seeing Washington lose to the Vikings would have been ideal for the Eagles, but at least Philadelphia fans can find consolation in Minnesota’s loss. That 2017 first-round pick the Vikings gave to the Eagles in exchange for Sam Bradford continues to get better. The Vikings are now 5-4 after starting out 5-0. Minnesota hasn’t won a game since being exposed in Philadelphia.

12 – Eagles are alive in the NFC playoff picture

If the season ended today, the Eagles would be the seventh seed in the NFC. They’d miss the playoffs, but they’re close to being in the top six. The Giants and Washington are currently No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. The Eagles’ NFC East rivals currently hold head-to-head tie-breakers over Philadelphia but that could change when the Birds play those teams again at home later this season.

The Eagles have a tough road ahead of them. In terms of strength of schedule, their upcoming slate ranks as one of the most difficult in the NFL. Up next for the Eagles is a road game against the Seahawks.

But there’s no reason to think the Eagles don’t have a shot at qualifying for the post-season. As mentioned earlier, four of their last seven games are at home. If they can continue their dominance there and steal a game on the road, they could be in good shape.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles follow up a big win over a good Falcons team. Seattle will be a tough test next weekend.