Eagles vs. Falcons final score, takeaways: Julio Jones goes off, Philly ravaged by injuries in nail-biter
Dan Quinn's Falcons finally pull out a close game against their bird rivals
Except the results most definitely were. After losing close games to the Eagles in the 2017 playoffs and 2018 season opener, the Falcons finally came out on top, overcoming three interceptions from Matt Ryan on their own turf to edge Carson Wentz and the Eagles in a 24-20 victory. Philadelphia was depleted by countless injuries, losing four of its top seven pass-catching targets early in Sunday night's prime-time affair, but threatened a fourth-quarter comeback before Ryan, Julio Jones and Dan Quinn's defense secured the team's first win of the season.
Here's a deeper dive into how the Falcons survived the Eagles to improve to 1-1:
Why the Falcons won
They made the right adjustments when it mattered most. Ryan at times did his best to lose the game for Atlanta, throwing three picks both under pressure and in a clean pocket, but Dan Quinn got bold when he needed to, dialing up key fourth-down calls late in the contest. Ryan put the icing on the cake by adjusting a call at the line on the play that led to Jones' 54-yard go-ahead score, and Atlanta schemed up enough defensive success to bottle up the Eagles' comeback attempt.
Week 2 is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here.
Why the Eagles lost
They were essentially playing with preseason starters by the time the clock hit 0:00. Injuries shouldn't normally be an excuse, but what would you do if you lost the number of contributors they did? Wentz, Jason Peters, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, Jason Kelce, Tim Jernigan, Sidney Jones and several others all left the game at some point to be evaluated for injuries. Wentz, in particular, looked severely off his game early on, either due to injury or nerves, and while his second-half efforts were heroic, those opening two quarters dug too deep a hole.
The cop-out answer is when Jones broke loose for a game-changing, go-ahead touchdown. But if we're being honest, the turning point of this game was probably when the trio of Jackson, Jeffery and Goedert were deemed unlikely to play as early as the Eagles' first drive. This game was so all over the place that it's hard to pinpoint a precise turning point for either side, but as soon as Philly's offense was stripped down to reserves, Wentz's rhythm went out the window, and Atlanta got an early lead that proved critical.
Play of the game
Here's where we can recognize Julio. His touchdown wasn't a particularly crazy play -- he beat one man on a screen and was off to the races. But the magnitude of the play, and the fact Ryan had to audible to set it up as the play clock was expiring, made it all the more important.
Had the Eagles completed their comeback, Wentz's first-down throw as he fell to his knees would've been in consideration.
"It's hard to find words. These guys are hurting, obviously ... Things began to kind of snowball a little bit ... When your two top receivers and a tight end go down, it's difficult, because now you're going to be having to put guys into positions, and they haven't gotten those reps during the week."
Doug Pederson was frank about Philly's dire injury situation after the game when addressing local media. And, really, the Eagles' injury situation moving forward is about as important as the Falcons getting a much-needed "W." Without so many of the weapons that were missing Sunday night, the Eagles are arguably a different team, at least for the time being.
Next up, the Eagles (1-1) return home on Sept. 22 for a 1 p.m. ET showdown with the Detroit Lions (1-0-1). The Falcons (1-1), meanwhile, hit the road for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) on the same day.
Relive Sunday night's entire Eagles-Falcons showdown right here:
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