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Doug Pederson Wastes No Time Calling Philly Philly

With just more than seven minutes to go in the third quarter of Thursday night's 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field, the offense was in desperate need of a boost.

Trailing 6-3, the offense only had 102 total yards and was facing a third-and-5 at the Falcons' 41-yard line. A conversion was crucial, as was the creation of some bit of momentum.

With a 2017 World Champions banner hanging above in the rafters, the Eagles went back to a classic.

"You want Philly Philly?"

Quarterback Nick Foles took the snap in shotgun, handed it left to running back Corey Clement, who pitched it to Agholor on a reverse, and Agholor tossed a 15-yard completion to Foles on the right sideline.

The Philly Special: Reprise.

"Honestly, we were both thinking the same thing at the same time," Foles told reporters after the game. "I went over to talk to him and say, 'This may be a good time' and he pointed at the sheet and I was like, 'That's what I was coming over here for.' Yeah, it worked again."

It sure did.

The 15-yard completion riled up a sea of raucous fans anxious to cheer for an offense in rhythm as they clapped above their heads and chanted Foles' name. It also sparked the offense as five plays later, running back Jay Ajayi punched in a 1-yard score and the Eagles took their first lead of the game, 10-6.

"It was basically, 'Here we go.'" Clement said. "We needed a lot of plays to jump-start this offense. It started out not the way we wanted to but it's fun, it's football, we have four quarters to keep bouncing back and that's what we did. We kept fighting."

Head coach Doug Pederson downplayed questions previously about bringing back the Philly Special in a regular-season game. But after the game, he told reporters it was a situational call in man coverage that, once again, worked to perfection.

"It was a play we had put in for this week," Pederson said. "It was a play that was in our third-down menu. We were on the correct hash mark, and it was the right time of the game."

This trick play, which was called Philly Philly instead of Philly Special, Pederson and Clement said, was a bit different than the one run in the Super Bowl. Instead of a direct snap to Clement, it was pitched to Clement by Foles. And, of course, it was Agholor that made the throw instead of former tight end Trey Burton.

"I think we're all very capable of doing what's needed to be done," said Agholor, who mentioned he hadn't played quarterback in a game since "little league." "But I was the person that got his number called to do the play and it was a great opportunity."

The play looked similar to the trick play the New England Patriots attempted to run in Super Bowl LII. In that play, a slightly overthrown pass and a drop by quarterback Tom Brady nipped what could have been a sizeable gain in the bud.

"Yeah, that's where we got it from," Pederson said. "We just put different people in the game."

The Falcons, like the Patriots last year, did not see the play coming. Foles said they did not account for him in their man-coverage scheme, as he expected, and he was wide open when he made the reception in stride.

"I think I expected (the Eagles) to have some, what we call, 'gadget plays,'" Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. "I'll give them credit, they made a good play on that one."

The play was a treat for fans who sat through a 45-minute weather delay to see the Eagles unveil their first-ever Super Bowl banner. It was one last acknowledgment in 2018 of one of the most memorable moments in Eagles history.

But more importantly, it was a first-down conversion that led to a touchdown and changed the course of what could end up being a consequential game this season.

"Offensively, we had misfired a little bit," Pederson said. "We were looking for a big play, somebody to make a play. It just felt like it was the right time to make that call and the guys executed it well."

"If you can get a team at the right time, sometimes it's great to have it in there," Foles said. "You also need to be able to catch it and everything. I love having plays like that, our team loves it, everyone loves a good trick play."

Take a look at all the photos from the Philadelphia Eagles' home opener against the Atlanta Falcons to kick off the 2018 season.

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