Eagles hold off Falcons to begin title defense

Posted September 10, 2018

While the Philly Special is the first thing to come to mind from Thursday's play, one astute National Football League writer pointed out that it closely resembled a New England Patriots play from the same Super Bowl.

Matt Ryan threw five incompletions from inside the 10-yard line in the final seconds, including a 5-yard fade caught by Julio Jones on the final play, but Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby kept Jones from coming down inbounds.

While many noted that the play looked a lot like the "Philly Special" from Super Bowl LII, Pederson confirmed after the game that it was actually the trick play the Patriots unsuccessfully ran in the game. They have a new goal - finishing the season at home in Atlanta, where the Super Bowl will be played in February. We also fold in opponent-adjusted PFF grades into our machine-learning algorithm to factor in roster changes and possible asymmetric mismatches that can occur through the course of a game.

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Before Thursday's season opener against the Falcons, a severe weather warning didn't stop a few Eagles fans from getting their shirtless flex on, even amid a rainstorm and nasty lightning.

A day later, when Brady was given a chance to react to the play, he didn't say anything juicy.

The Eagles did, displaying the kind of resilience that helped them to last season's title. Atlanta, which must think there are hot coals lining the red zone at the Linc, gained 299 but had 135 yards in penalties. The Falcons went with an empty set, and had Jones in the slot instead of outside. Trey Burton made it look easy in the Super Bowl.

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"It wasn't a rhythmic game but we fought hard and did the job", Foles said. We don't know in week one.

Hopefully Johnson has enough Patriots jokes in his arsenal to last him the whole season, because deflecting attention from how badly Foles is playing is going to require some serious slight of hand.

Falcons safety Keanu Neal left in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return, after first hurting the knee in the second.

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