It was an eventful Monday night for the Eagles as they opened their 2015 season. After a slow first-half start, the team rallied and began a comeback in the third. Unfortunately, the team's rally fell just short despite a 21-point second half. The Eagles ultimately fell to the Falcons, 26-24, in the opener.
As the team began the first quarter, opening-game rust was apparent. The offense was held scoreless, and although Atlanta's only points were from a field goal, the defense struggled out of the gate as well. Kiko Alonso's interception in the Eagles' end zone proved to be one of the only highlights. It was clear that showing was not how the Eagles planned to open the year.
After a Cody Parkey 29-yard field goal in the second quarter, the Eagles went into the locker room trailing Atlanta, 20-3. Thankfully, the short break may have been just what Philadelphia needed. The team that emerged for the second half was clearly ready to play.
The Eagles put up 14 points in the third quarter on two DeMarco Murray touchdowns. The first was an 8-yard run into the end zone, and the second was off a short pass from quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford ended his first regular season game with 36 for 52 for 336 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The defense held Atlanta scoreless in the third, and Walter Thurmond tacked on an interception, the defense's second of the game.
The fourth quarter proved to be the defining point of the matchup, as the two teams battled back and forth throughout the final 15 minutes. First, the Falcons added to their lead with a 44-yard field goal from kicker Matt Bryant.
However, in merely six plays, Bradford led the Eagles on another scoring drive. Receiver Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz, who made his return after preseason surgery, both played big roles on the drive that ended in a Ryan Mathews 1-yard touchdown run and the team's first and only lead of the night.
The Falcons' offense kicked another field goal to regain a two-point lead, 26-24.
Unfortunately, a missed Parkey field goal minutes later gave Atlanta the ball with 2:26 remaining in the game. The Eagles' defense, however, was not ready to throw in the towel. On a third-and-1 play, Malcolm Jenkins stuffed running back Tevin Coleman, giving the Philadelphia offense the ball back at its own 14-yard line with 1:49 to play and one timeout remaining.
Sadly, the comeback would end there. On third down, a pass intended for Matthews was intercepted by Ricardo Allen and sealed the Eagles' fate.
The team will return home and prepare for the Lincoln Financial Field opener on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys come to town.
The #Eagles began Week 1 of the regular season in Atlanta for Monday Night Football. View the full gallery here...