Good morning, Eagles fans! With an 18-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles kicked off the NFL regular season and began their 2018 campaign 1-0. In a game that saw the Eagles raise a banner, stop the Falcons at the goal line twice, and pull off another Philly Special, 2017 was celebrated justly as 2018 got off to a flying start. Here's everything you need to know in today's Morning Roundup presented by Microsoft.
1. Déjà Vu All Over Again
In a thriller to begin the season, the Eagles and Falcons played a game that was eerily similar to their Divisional playoff matchup in January. The Eagles defense came up with two massive goal-line stands to turn the ball over on downs, one that stopped the Falcons on their first drive and the second one that denied Atlanta on five-straight red-zone plays to end the game and seal the win.
The final throw from quarterback Matt Ryan was a fade to wide receiver Julio Jones in the North end zone that he couldn't haul in for a touchdown. Seriously.
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has more on the impressive win that could have serious playoff seeding implications this season:
"Crazy, right?" safety Rodney McLeod said. "I'm over there thinking, yeah, this is the same kind of game so let's go out and win it the same way."
"You want that play to come your way. You want to be in that position," said cornerback Ronald Darby, who was physical with Jones and pushed Jones out of bounds to force the incomplete. "We kind of knew they were going to throw it to Julio. They were doing it all night (Jones was targeted 19 times and had 10 catches for 169 yards). I went up and wanted the football. We both went for the ball. It was a great feeling when it was incomplete."
2. 'You Want Philly Philly?'
The Eagles did it again. In the third quarter with the offense desperately needing a spark, they pulled off another "Philly Special", this one called "Philly Philly", to gain a massive first down and valuable momentum on the way to a go-ahead touchdown. This trick play saw quarterback Nick Foles take the snap in shotgun, hand it to running back Corey Clement on his left, who pitched it to wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a reverse, who finally tossed it to Foles for a 15-yard gain.
The bold call, one that both Foles and head coach Doug Pederson had on their mind going into that crucial third-and-5 in the third quarter, sent Lincoln Financial Field in a frenzy and brought back exciting memories. Here's more on the classic play's reprise:
"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."
3. A Championship Moment For Everyone
Prior to kicking off the NFL season, the Eagles celebrated the accomplishments of 2017 one last time. The words "2017 World Champions" donned a banner double the size of any other hanging from the Lincoln Financial Field rafters and a spotlight lit them up all night. As the sign was unveiled, Eagles' Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie celebrated at midfield, Lombardi Trophy in hand, with recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Brian Dawkins and nearly 150 fans and members of the Eagles organization.
Lurie's message was clear: The Eagles couldn't have won it all without the help of everyone involved with this team. And while the celebration was outstanding, Chris McPherson shows that the stories behind several people on the field with Lurie are even more remarkable.
4. Douglas Steps In And Steps Up
With Eagles' cornerback Ronald Darby cramping, Rasul Douglas stepped in on a few plays in the secondary. One of them happened to be one of the most important of the game. After a special teams turnover started the Falcons' offense in Eagles territory, Douglas stepped in for Darby on a third-and-3 from the Eagles' 15-yard line and intercepted Ryan just in front of the end zone. The play kept the Falcons from getting any points off the turnover and preserved the Eagles' 10-6 lead early in the fourth quarter. Alex Smith has more on how the second-year player is used to being the next man up and making plays:
"Last year, I wasn't playing, wasn't dressed," said Douglas. "I was watching the Redskins game Week 1, and Darby went down, and I was like you're the next guy up so be ready to play. Even when I'm practicing, I'm always watching Darby and Jalen Mills, even watching film. I'm always watching them and studying them and studying the plays the guys are running so that If I do by any chance have to go in and play, I'm still ready."
5. Toyota Player Of The Week Nominees
In a game defined by defensive dominance and timely plays offensively, a few players made consistent plays all night to keep the Eagles in the game and eventually deliver the win. Vaughn Johnson named three nominees for Toyota Player of the Week, who you can vote for here, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox:
The perennial Pro Bowl selection routinely made life tough quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense Thursday night.
Cox registered one sack himself, but his pressure helped his teammates wreak havoc in the Atlanta backfield on multiple occasions, including once in the fourth quarter when he pushed the pocket into Ryan's face, which helped defensive end Chris Long and linebacker Jordan Hicks combine for the sack.
6. Mack Hollins To Injured Reserve
Before Thursday's game, the Eagles announced the addition of wide receiver Mack Hollins to the Injured/Reserve list. Hollins joins roster on the list and does not count toward the 53-man roster. Only two players are allowed to come off the IR list all season so the Eagles could face trouble if another player goes down.