The night started all wrong for running back Jay Ajayi, but he found a way to right the ship before it sank.
The Falcons capitalized off his early turnover, a fumble on the offense's second play of the night, and marched down the field and took a 3-0 lead.
From that moment on, Ajayi resembled the back that gave the Falcons' defense fits earlier in the season when he rushed for 130 yards as a Dolphin, the most allowed to an individual rusher by Atlanta all season. Ajayi finished the opening quarter 49 rushing yards and 58 yards from scrimmage which were the most he's ever had in the first quarter of a game. He finished the game with 54 rushing yards on 15 carries and 98 total scrimmage yards.
"Staying with it. Having a downhill mentality. O-line did a great job today getting a push off the ball. Us running backs we just had to run hard," Ajayi said after the 15-10 victory.
Ajayi displayed his pass-catching talent providing quarterback Nick Foles with a reliable outlet in the backfield. He added 44 yards on three catches including a monumental 32-yard pickup, the longest reception for Philadelphia, on a third down during the Eagles' opening drive of the fourth quarter that led to the game's final points.
The running back was perhaps his harshest critic after the win, stating his mistakes, the early fumble and a dropped pass in the second half, that could have proved costly if not for the play of his teammates.
"To be honest I feel like a played poorly. Obviously, the fumble first carry, can't do that. Big gain and then the drop as well. I just feel like I could've executed a lot better today," Ajayi said. "It's a great job a great team win. A lot of the teammates picked up the slack. Defense played lights out. Other RBs made a lot of plays. I just think coming into next I need to play better."
LeGarrette Blount had nine touches on the night and scored the team's only touchdown on a 1-yard run along the right end to put the Eagles ahead early in the second quarter. Nelson Agholor made a spectacular carry that caught Atlanta's defense off-guard as he zipped for a 20-yard pickup on an end-around that set up Blount's score. On the night, the Eagles rushed for 96 total yards outdueling Atlanta's dynamic running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman who finished with just 86 yards combined.
"It's exciting now. One game closer to that dream that we all have of playing in the Super Bowl," Ajayi said. "At the end of the day whatever it takes. Find a way to win and we did that tonight."
The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 15-10, at Lincoln Financial Field.