In the first half, the Eagles were outgained 244-125, as the Falcons jumped out to a 20-3 lead. But when the two teams emerged from their respective tunnels for the second half, the game had a starkly different feel.
On the second play of Atlanta's opening drive of the third quarter, a corner blitz by Nolan Carroll allowed he and defensive end Fletcher Cox get to Matt Ryan for a sack to set up third-and-long. On third down, safety Walter Thurmond jumped a crossing route to intercept Ryan and take the ball back inside the Atlanta 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Sam Bradford handed off to DeMarco Murray, who ran off the right tackle and was given a wide open lane to the end zone thanks to a masterful pull block by center Jason Kelce. His 8-yard scamper into the end zone gave the Eagles their first touchdown of the night and trimmed the deficit to 20-10.
With 13:12 left in the third quarter, Matt Ryan and the Falcons took over at their own 20. Penalties and miscues ended their drive prematurely at their own 33, but a 62-yard punt by Matt Bosher pinned the Eagles at their own 5 to start their drive.
A false start call on Jason Peters moved the ball back to the two-and-a-half-yard line, but Bradford and the Eagles were able to work their way out of the jam, getting out to the 27 thanks to a short pass to Jordan Matthews that the sophomore wide receiver turned into a 19-yard gain after breaking a few would-be tacklers. Matthews was shaken up on the play but returned to the field later in the drive.
At the 4:46 mark, Darren Sproles broke off a 27-yard-run down to the Atlanta 10, thanks again to a stellar lead block from Kelce. A horse collar penalty brought the ball to the 5-yard line, and two plays later DeMarco Murray juked his way into the end zone after a short pass from Sam Bradford to cap off a 97-yard drive. That touchdown extended the Eagles' second half run to 14-0 and trimmed the deficit to 20-17 with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. The play gave Murray his fifth career game with multiple touchdowns and just his second with a receiving touchdown.
The Falcons started their next drive at their own 12, and over the next three-and-a-half minutes slowly worked the ball out to their own 40. That's where they'll take over, as they look to keep the streaking Eagles at bay in the fourth quarter.
The #Eagles began Week 1 of the regular season in Atlanta for Monday Night Football. View the full gallery here...