In his first game as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn knew that slowing down the Eagles' ground attack would be key in coming away with a victory in their season opener. After all, Philadelphia's backfield features last season's rushing champion DeMarco Murray, two-time 1,000-yard rusher Ryan Mathews and dynamic multi-use back Darren Sproles, and as defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014 Quinn's group allowed the fewest ground yards in the NFL.
While the Eagles were able to gain 336 yards through the air against Atlanta, the Falcons' defense effectively shut down a running back group that is arguably the most talented in recent memory. On the day, Philadelphia rushed for just 63 yards on 16 attempts, with Murray and Mathews combining for just 13 yards on 11 carries.
"They're a good defense, a good defensive line," said Murray after the 26-24 road loss. "We'll watch the film, and we'll work on it ... We've got to all be on the same page and execute better as an offense, but it's a long season and we'll learn from it."
Although Murray carried the ball just eight times, marking the first time since 2013 that he's failed to hit double-digit attempts in a game, he expressed support in head coach Chip Kelly's game plan.
"Obviously you want to get more opportunities. I think not only myself, but everyone wants the ball as many times as they can to help this team out," he said. "(Chip Kelly) is a great offensive coordinator, a great coach, so whatever he decides to do we're all for it."
Despite only touching the ball 12 times total on the day (eight carries and four receptions), Murray scored two touchdowns in Monday's game, one on the ground and one in the air. It marked his eighth consecutive game with a rushing touchdown, the longest active streak in the NFL.
The #Eagles began Week 1 of the regular season in Atlanta for Monday Night Football. View the full gallery here...