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Week 19 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 10, Philadelphia Eagles 15
What you need to know
The Atlanta Falcons struggled against the strong interior defense of the Philadelphia Eagles. Devonta Freeman
struggled to run in the interior and Matt Ryan
faced frequent interior pressure. Atlanta found running success along the perimeter with Tevon Coleman, but did not establish volume in the running game. Julio Jones
led the passing game, but was unable to catch two late end zone opportunities that would have given Atlanta the lead.
The Eagles played it safe in this game and ended up grinding out a win utilizing their defense to setup their offense this week. Nick Foles
was highly efficient in this game and took low-risk throws to complete a high percentage of his passes and move the ball as the team was content in taking long drives and holding time of possession. Jay Ajayi
started the game off tremendously, but coach Doug Pederson
rotated the backs after initial success from Ajayi which ultimately caused Ajayi to stall out and lose the momentum that he had gained early on in the game.
|QB Matt Ryan, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 36 - 210 - 1 TD / 0 INT|
faced pressure throughout the game and was frequently forced to scramble. His lone touchdown was on a play where he had to improvise out of the pocket and dump the ball off the Devonta Freeman
in the end zone. Ryan had the opportunity for another touchdown late, but was unable to connect on two end zone targets to Julio Jones
. Jones arguably should have caught both passes, with the last one going threw his hands. Ryan targeted Jones 16 times, and the Philadelphia defense did a good job containing him, while the rest of the receiving corps did little to help Ryan.
|RB Devonta Freeman, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 26 - 1 (5 targets)|
struggled because of Philadelphia's strong defensive front. Atlanta tried to establish Freeman on the interior with little success, while Tevin Coleman
had strong perimeter runs throughout the game. Freeman caught the second most passes with five, but he was unable to much traction. Freeman's touchdown came on a dump off pass from Ryan in the red zone where he had room underneath the defense.
|RB Tevin Coleman, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 79 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)|
had the same number of carries as Freeman (10), and was far more effective (79 to 7 rushing yards). Coleman's usage came on the perimeter, where he was able to outflank Philadelphia's defense multiple times. His long carry was a 21-yard misdirection toss play. Coleman's rushing was the most effective portion of Atlanta's offense, but they continued to rotate Coleman with Freeman throughout the game. Early success to perimeter.
was heavily involved in the offense with 16 targets, but was unable to get a lot going. His long catch was a dig route that was a crucial fourth down conversion for 21 yards. Outside of that, Jones was mostly tackled at the catch. Jones three late targets in the red zone but was unable to convert for a touchdown. The first was a fade which Jones could not elevate to catch. He then caught a slant that was just short of the end zone. On the last play, Jones was targeted by a scrambling Matt Ryan
, and the ball when through his hands because of Jones's poor hand technique. The red zone struggles by Jones are a common refrain, and likely to be an offseason narrative.
|WR Mohamed Sanu, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 50 - 0 (5 targets)|
had the second most receiving yards for the Falcons with 50. Sanu's work was primarily in the middle of the field, and nearly had the opportunity for a bigger day. He was unable to catch a target on a red zone seam route, and drew a personal foul on a hit to the head on the play. Sanu was also targeted deep along the perimeter, but a miscommunication resulted in an overthrow on the play.
|QB Nick Foles, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 30 - 246 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - -2 - 0|
was incredibly efficient in this game as the Falcons allowed him to throw underneath and Foles did not try to take on risks just taking high probability safe throws throughout this game. This was in large part due to Foles took a deep shot to Torrey Smith
on the first play of the game and the ball fluttered but the Eagles were bailed out by a pass interference penalty. Foles' longest throw of the day was on a swing pass to Jay Ajayi
. Overall, the Eagles will likely need more out of Foles in the coming weeks especially if the game script dictates that they fall behind, but the Eagles stuck to a game plan of keeping Foles in a game manager type role for this week. Eight of Foles' 23 completions were to running backs as the Eagles looked to take advantage of the Falcons weak spot all season which is defending the running backs catching the ball out of the backfield.
|RB Jay Ajayi, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 54 - 0, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (5 targets)|
This was a rollercoaster type game for Ajayi this week. After a fumbling on his first carry of the day, he then looked as if he was going to have a monster game as he was running hard and effective behind Jason Kelce. From a running standpoint the defense for the Falcons made adjustments to slow Ajayi down after the first quarter as Ajayi had 49 yards at the end of the first quarter on seven carries and somehow only had eight carries for five yards the rest of the game. The team seemingly abandoned him for a period of time going with Corey Clement
and LeGarrette Blount
for periods of time and Ajayi was not able to get back in rhythm once this occurred. Ajayi did have great success as a receiver as he was used as a safety valve for Foles on a play that he caught the ball about five yards behind the line of scrimmage and was able to use his speed and power to turn this into a 32 yard gain.
Blount was primarily used for short yardage carries in this game as he saw the goal line work this week. While he did score a one-yard touchdown on fourth and goal, he seemingly was not utilized except for short down plays which has been his role for the past few weeks and we expect this role to continue in the future.
|WR Nelson Agholor, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 20 - 0, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (3 targets)|
Agholor was seldomly used in this game as he saw just three targets. The biggest issue for the Eagles wide receiver was that he was being asked to run deep routes or clear out routes which ultimately created space for the pass receiving running backs. This is a continued trend for Agholor who has not been highly utilized since Nick Foles
Alshon was quiet for most of the game with the exception of a key drive in the third quarter which setup the go-ahead field goal for the Eagles. Jeffery came up huge on this drive as he had three catches and created matchup problems for Desmond Trufant utilizing his size to go up and make the play as Jeffery accounted for 46 of the team's 74 yards on this drive. Outside of this drive, Jeffery saw just two targets as the team seemingly stayed away from trying to test the Falcons' secondary this game.
|TE Zach Ertz, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (5 targets)|
The Falcons seemingly game planned to take Ertz out of this game as they held him to just five targets this week which in the two full-games that he had played with Nick Foles
he saw 23 targets. The Falcons bracketed Ertz for a lot of this game which made it difficult for Ertz to get open. He was able to make a key first down to extend the drive for the Eagles which ultimately led to the field goal which made it 15-10 on a quick slant that defender Brian Poole fell down and the safety who was bracketing him was not able to get over in time.