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Special Teams Make An Impact

ATLANTA –- It didn't take long for the Eagles to make an impact on special teams during Sunday's 34-7 win over Atlanta. In fact, two big plays in the first quarter staked the visitors to a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

First, it was Jeremy Maclin, in place of DeSean Jackson, making just like Jackson as he crossed the field and dashed 27 yards on Atlanta's first punt of the game, setting up the Eagles for a David Akers field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Then it was the kickoff coverage group, which took the ball away on the ensuing kickoff. Dimitri Patterson hit return man Eric Weems low, and then Eldra Buckley and Joe Mays knocked the football loose with a hit from behind and Tracy White recovered at Atlanta's 22-yard line. Four plays later Donovan McNabb connected with fullback Leonard Weaver on a 4-yard touchdown pass, and the Eagles had a quick 10-0 advantage.

"The turnovers ended up being points, and we were fortunate to have that," head coach Andy Reid said. "Our special teams played very well. We had a nice game plan and I thought the guys executed well. It was good all the way around."

It was exactly the kind of start the Eagles wanted on the road. They played an Atlanta team minus starting quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Michael Jenkins and two starting offensive linemen. So the important thing was to establish superiority early, and the special teams did just that.

-- Posted by Dave Spadaro, 6:41 p.m., December 6

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