The Philadelphia Eagles were able to edge out the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football in Philadelphia. It was an anticipated game for the two offenses, but neither seemed to find their rhythm. The Eagles’ defense held their ground, which leads us to the three positive takeaways from their performance.
3. The Defensive Line is Legit
It was a rough night for quarterback Matt Ryan and a dominant night for defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. Cox, alone, forced seven pressures, three hits and one sack. Matt Ryan’s poor performance is reflected off of the pressure the defensive line created. He had just a 38.8 passer rating while under pressure. Defensive end Chris Long added 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. With the constant pressure that will surround quarterbacks all year, it will be difficult to see this defense slow down.
2. Secondary Containment
Julio Jones had a huge night. He gained 169 yards on 10 catches and dismantled the Eagles’ secondary. The positive outlook on this stat, however, is that the Falcons’ offense had just 299 total yards. An offense that is arguably the best in the league only had 299 yards, 169 of it coming from one man. That is an impressive feat for the Eagles. Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman had just 36 yards. The number two option at receiver, Mohamed Sanu, had a whopping 18 yards on four catches. It was an impressive performance for the defensive unit.
1. Clutch Abilities
The Atlanta offense entered the red zone five times on Thursday night and capitalized just once. It was bad play calling by new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, but it was also great stands by Philadelphia. The biggest moment of the game came when Matt Ryan threw a prayer up to Julio Jones for a potential game-winner. Cornerback Ronald Darby played it perfectly and forced Jones out of bounds. Letting Atlanta walk away with 12 points in five red zone appearances is impressive.