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Game Recap: Valiant come-from-behind effort falls short in Atlanta

The Eagles were without tight end Dallas Goedert for the entire game, and lost wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery in the first half.

Still, the Eagles had a chance with 38 seconds at the Atlanta 16-yard line, down by four points. On fourth-and-8, quarterback Carson Wentz completed the pass to his trusted tight end Zach Ertz right at the sticks. Cornerback Isaiah Oliver immediately made the tackle. Ertz tried to spin free, but it was to no avail. The Eagles turned the ball over on downs and lost for the first time this season 24-20 in Atlanta on Sunday Night Football.

The Eagles-Falcons series has witnessed a series of close finishes in recent years. The previous two meetings ended with incomplete fourth-down attempts in the red zone to Atlanta's Julio Jones. The Falcons' All-Pro receiver finally broke free. On fourth-and-3 at the Atlanta 46-yard line, quarterback Matt Ryan read the pressure from the Eagles and hit Jones on a screen. Tackle Jake Matthews wiped out slot corner Avonte Maddox, and Jones had a wide-open lane for a 54-yard touchdown with 2:10 remaining.

Jones and second-year receiver Calvin Ridley each had 100-yard performances, combining for 13 receptions, 211 yards, and three touchdowns. Ryan was 27-of-43 for 320 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions as defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz turned up the heat knowing the offense was short-handed.

The Eagles trailed the entire game, but took their first lead just a little over a minute earlier, as Wentz snuck in from the 1-yard line to make it 20-17.

Wentz and the Eagles' offense struggled once again in the first half as the injuries piled up. Even Wentz missed six plays in the first half as he was in the concussion protocol. He also took a hit to the ribs on the second drive of the game from linebacker Deion Jones and seemed off his game. He was 6-of-16 for 47 yards with two interceptions for a 6.2 rating.

But the Eagles only trailed 10-6 at the intermission. Corey Clement fumbled the opening kickoff and Atlanta quickly capitalized with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Jones to make it 17-6.

Wentz and the Eagles for the second week in a row battled back and the quarterback made some miraculous throws to get the Eagles back in the game. He was being pulled down to the ground by edge rusher Vic Beasley on a third-and-9 in the fourth quarter, but completed the ball to Mack Hollins for a 17-yard gain. Wentz eventually snuck it in to give the Eagles the brief lead. Wentz's other touchdown was on a fourth-and-goal throw in the third quarter to Nelson Agholor.

Wentz ended the game 25-of-43 for 231 yards with one touchdown throwing, another running, and two interceptions for a 61.3 rating. Agholor had 107 yards receiving on eight catches and the touchdown. Ertz had eight catches for 72 yards.

The Eagles return home to take on the 1-0-1 Detroit Lions next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

For a complete recap of the game, read below:

Check out the best photos from the Eagles Sunday-night matchup against the Falcons.


1. Before kickoff, tight end Dallas Goedert went to the locker room with the training staff during pre-game warmups. Remember, Goedert missed time in the preseason with a calf injury. We'll see how much of an impact, if one at all, he can make. Zach Ertz is the only other active tight end for the Eagles.

2. Defensive end Brandon Graham's tackle for loss of running back Devonta Freeman helped stall the Falcons' offense on the opening drive of the game. Atlanta was rolling with four first downs, but after the tackle for loss, which came on first-and-10 from the Eagles' 26-yard line, the Falcons had to settle for a 50-yard Matt Bryant field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 9:28 left in the first quarter.

3. Bryant is forced into kickoff duty as specialist Matt Bosher is sidelined with a groin injury. Bosher will be able to punt, however.

4. Miles Sanders gets the start at running back. First play, quarterback Carson Wentz hits tight end Zach Ertz over the middle for a gain of 8. The Eagles get a first down on a late holding call on cornerback Isaiah Oliver against wide receiver Mack Hollins. The penalty came on a third-and-2, Hollins may have been on the field for Goedert.

5. The Eagles' first drive doesn't gain another first down, but on the punt, Cameron Johnston places it perfectly inside the 5-yard line and Hollins tossed it out of bounds at the 1. Great field position for the Eagles' defense.

6. On the Falcons' second drive, Rasul Douglas was matched up against Julio Jones to the left side of the offense. Douglas looked like he had a clean pass breakup on second-and-5 from the Atlanta 6-yard line. Atlanta challenged the call and lost. The Falcons did manage a first down as wide receiver Calvin Ridley ran and out-and-up to get 17 yards down the right sideline. But the Falcons were forced to punt and Bosher appeared to be in discomfort as he had to punt twice following a false start. The short punt was fair caught by Darren Sproles at the Eagles' 43-yard line.

7. Eagles officially announce that Goedert is questionable with a calf injury. On third-and-8 from the Falcons' 45-yard line, Atlanta blitzes. Wentz escapes and unloads a deep pass down the right seam to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that is intercepted by cornerback Desmond Trufant at the Atlanta 9-yard line. Wentz took a shot to the ribs from linebacker Deion Jones.

8. The Eagles force a three-and-out and Bosher's punt from his own end zone is short once again. Darren Sproles fielded the punt from the Eagles' 49-yard line and was returned to the Falcons' 43.


9. Eagles even the score with a 34-yard field goal by Jake Elliott with 10:45 remaining in the first half. Nelson Agholor converted a third-and-1 with a 12-yard reception against slot cornerback Damontee Kazee. It was the first catch by an Eagle not named Zach Ertz. On third-and-6 from the Falcons' 8-yard line, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sacked Wentz for a loss of 8 yards. It was the first red zone trip for either team.

10. Falcons were able to get out of a first-and-20 situation after a Jamon Brown offensive holding penalty thanks to a pair of receptions by Julio Jones, first a 19-yard gran then a 2-yarder.

11. Get Fletcher Cox on the JUGS machine. On a second-and-6 from the Atlanta 40-yard line, Cox dropped back in coverage and was in quarterback Matt Ryan's throwing lane, but couldn't get the pick. On the next play, Julio Jones does a phenomenal job catching the ball along the right sideline and getting both feet in bounds for a 27-yard gain to the Eagles' 33-yard line.

12. The Falcons put their first first-round pick guard Chris Lindstrom on Injured Reserve this week with a foot injury. Well, second first-round pick right tackle Kaleb McGary was injured after a first-down pass with 8:20 left in the first half and had to be helped to the sideline. McGary went into the locker room with a knee injury.

13. While the defense is on the field, not-so-good news for the offense. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) are both questionable to return, according to the team. Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside have filled in on offense as Goedert is out as well.

14. Two plays in a row, quarterback Matt Ryan JUST missed a touchdown from the Eagles' 32-yard line. First, Ryan rolled to his right and threw into the end zone for a diving Calvin Ridley. On the next play, Ryan read the Eagles' blitz and threw to J.J. Hardy down the middle of the field and again it was too far. Both times cornerback Ronald Darby was targeted.

15. Bryant's attempt from 50 yards was no good. Shanked it with 7:47 left in the first half.

16. On the first play of the Eagles' next drive, Wentz had bodies around him in the pocket as his pass deep down the right side was intercepted by again by Trufant, who was literally sitting down on the ground. Trufant got up and returned the ball 10 yards to the Falcons' 45-yard line, but Oliver was called for holding to move the ball back 10 yards.

17. Falcons capitalize off the turnover with the first touchdown of the night. Ryan finally connects deep with Ridley for a 34-yard touchdown on a post route beating Ronald Darby. Andrew Sendejo was deep on the play, but unable to provide help. It's 10-3 Falcons with 4:56 left in the first half.

18. Eagles finally get a little help. Defensive back Kendall Sheffield's holding penalty got the Eagles out of a first-and-20 situation. On third-and-2 with 2:43 left in the first half, Wentz connected with Agholor for 6 yards and another first down.

19. All week leading up to the game, the topic of discussion was how would the Eagles slow down Julio Jones? Calvin Ridley had seven catches on eight targets in the first half for 91 yards and a touchdown.

20. Sidney Jones comes up with his first career interception on a Ryan pass intended for Mohamed Sanu was knocked in the air and picked off, to give the Eagles the ball back with 43 seconds left in the first half at the Falcons' 41-yard line.

21. Following Sidney Jones' interception, Josh McCown came in for Wentz, who was in the medical tent being tested for a concussion. McCown was on the field for six plays, completing 3 of 5 pass attempts for 24 yards, before Wentz was cleared to return. The Eagles were able to add a 41-yard Jake Elliott field goal as the first half expired to make it 10-6 Atlanta.


22. Corey Clement fumbled the opening kickoff and it was recovered by safety Sharrod Neasman. The Falcons took advantage. Ryan's shovel pass to Devonta Freeman gained 28 yards to the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Ryan bought time in the pocket and found Julio Jones for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 17-6.

23. More injuries for the Eagles. Clement injured his shoulder on the fumbled kickoff return. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (foot) didn't come out for the start of the second half. Both players are questionable to return.

24. Darby gets some revenge. On third-and-9 with 8:19 remaining in the quarter, the Eagles send a blitz. Rodney McLeod comes up the middle and forces Ryan to chuck up the ball. It was intended for Julio Jones, but Darby was the only player in the area. Eagles take over at the Falcons' 27-yard line.

25. Wow. Following the pick, the Eagles get in the red zone with a 16-yard pass from Wentz to Ertz. But on fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line, head coach Doug Pederson decides to go for it. The Falcons only rush three and Wentz has enough time to thread the ball over the middle to Agholor for the touchdown! On the two-point conversion, Wentz kept the ball and went off-tackle to the right side and came up just short on the dive. It was originally ruled successful, but reversed on the official replay. It was 17-12 with 4:57 left in the quarter.

26. Malcolm Jenkins forced a fumble on the first play of the next drive, knocking the ball out of tight end Luke Stocker's hands, but Sanu was able to recover.

27. Nathan Gerry bails the Eagles out! On second-and-6 from the 8-yard line with 21 seconds left in the quarter, Ryan's pass for Austin Hooper was picked off by the linebacker. Eagles keep the score 17-12, Falcons.


28. McGary returned at right tackle for the Falcons' first drive of the fourth quarter with just over 13 minutes left in the game.

29. On third-and-9 with 12:20 left, Andrew Sendejo came off a delayed blitz and sacked Ryan for a loss of 10 yards. It was the Eagles' first sack of the night and it got Atlanta's offense off the field.

30. With Jackson and Jeffery sidelined, Agholor is stepping up in a huge way. He converted a third-and-3 with a 16-yard reception to keep the Eagles' drive going.

31. On a second-and-9 with 8:36 remaining, Wentz hit Mack Hollins on a tunnel screen for 3 yards. But Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, who has two picks tonight, is injured on the play. On third-and-6, Wentz rolled to his left and hit Hollins on a shallow cross for 16 yards and a first down.

32. OMG! On third-and-9 with 5:59 left, Wentz escaped pressure, was being dragged down by Vic Beasley, and hit Hollins over the middle for 17 yards and the first down. You can count on one hand the number of quarterbacks who could pull that play off!

33. On third-and-1 from the Atlanta 3-yard line, Wentz keeps the ball on the sneak to convert it, setting up a goal-to-go situation. On the next play, Wentz kept it again from 1-yard out for the go-ahead touchdown! Wentz follows that up with a perfect dart to Zach Ertz on the two-point conversion to make it 20-17 with 3:13 left in the game!

34. Falcons trail for the first time all game long and take over at their own 25-yard line after the touchback. On third-and-1, Hassan Ridgeway was called for encroachment to give the Falcons a first down with 2:48 left. Four plays later, on fourth-and-3 at the Atlanta 46-yard line, Ryan read the blitz, hit Julio Jones on the screen, tackle Jake Matthews wiped out slot corner Avonte Maddox, and Jones had a wide-open lane 54 yards for a touchdown. Atlanta regains the lead 24-20.

35. Eagles start their comeback drive at their own 32-yard line with 2:03 left. Wentz hits Agholor for an 8-yard gain to the 40-yard line at the two-minute warning. On the next play, Wentz dropped a dime down the left sideline for Agholor that the wide receiver just dropped. On third-and-2, Wentz hit Darren Sproles in the flat to move the chains. On first-and-10 from the Eagles' 43-yard line, Wentz's throw over the middle for Sproles was dropped. Second down, Wentz's throw was high over the middle for Ertz and the tight end took a shot in the side. The Eagles used a timeout to keep Ertz on the field. On third-and-10, Vic Beasley chased down Wentz to sack the quarterback for a loss of 4 yards. Fourth-and-14, 1:29 remaining, Wentz throws up a prayer for Agholor, who made up for the drop with a 43-yard gain. But the Eagles found themselves in another fourth-down situation needing 8 yards. With 38 seconds left at the Falcons' 16-yard line, Wentz's pass to Ertz was stopped just short of the sticks by cornerback Isaiah Oliver.

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