The Atlanta Falcons offense failed to get in gear all night long as they dropped the season opener 18-12 against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
In addition, the Falcons offense continued to struggle in the red zone. The Falcons scored one touchdown in their five trips inside the Eagles’ 20 yard line. That lone touchdown was scored by running back Tevin Coleman with 9:54 left in the third quarter. The Falcons added two field goals as well.
However, as a harbinger for things to come, Atlanta had the ball, 2nd and 1 at the Philadelphia 1 yard line with 10:55 left in the first quarter. Three plays for Devonta Freeman that went for no gain, an incomplete pass and a one yard loss spelled trouble for the Falcons offense. Ironically, it was the same end zone where the Falcons season ended eight months ago.
Moreover, Atlanta converted four of fifteen third downs tonight. The Eagles made sure to take away any outside runs the Falcons had as part of their zone read running game.
Matt Ryan finished 21/43 with 257 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Running back Devonta Freeman had six carries for 39 yards, plus Tevin Coleman had nine carries for nineteen yards.
Julio Jones had 10 catches for 169 yards. He was targeted 19 times. However, an incomplete pass was erroneously called with 11:15 left in the third quarter. Ryan’s pass was ruled incomplete to Jones as he was defended by Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills. Atlanta challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was subsequently upheld.
The Falcons defense carried the lunch pail tonight. They held the Eagles offense to 232 total yards. Nick Foles finished the night 19/34 for 117 yards, no touchdowns and one interception by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones. Jones caught the ball out of midair after Safety Demontae Kazee knocked the ball in the air. Deion Jones finished the night with nine tackles, leading the defense.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Devondre Campbell each had six tackles.
Running back Jay Ajayi scored two touchdowns tonight ensuring Philadelphia’s victory tonight.
The Falcons will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday, September 16th against the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta will play five of their next six games at home.