Falcons final offensive play did not surprise Eagles defense

Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney Mc Leod sacks Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the second half of an NFL football NFC divisional playoff game Saturday Jan. 13 2018 in Philadelphia

But he got the job done, completing 23 of 30 passes for 246 while leading the Eagles into the NFC Championship game, Philadelphia's first conference championship appearance since 2008.

The Eagles were the first No. 1 seed to be underdogs in the divisional round, and what they perceived as a lack of respect became a rallying cry within the NovaCare Complex during the week. "We couldn't let them in". "I will go to bat for every one of those guys, I will go to war for everyone of those guys in the locker room".

Foles outplayed Matt Ryan, last year's NFL MVP.

Ryan was hardly dominant, going 22-of-36 for 210 yards and one touchdown. He did have 44 yards receiving on three catches. The Eagles would get a defensive pass interference call in their favor, putting the ball in Falcons territory. However, after review, it showed he was touched down at the 1-yard line. He called a timeout to further consider his decision before sending his field goal unit onto the field.

Elliott connected on two more field goals throughout to give the Eagles a 15-10 lead going into the Falcons' final drive.

Atlanta drove all the way to the two-yard line, but it wasn't enough. The Eagles' rushing defense played fearless yet again, allowing only 86 yards on 20 carries.

The Eagles' first blunder came on their opening drive. The Falcons punted on six of their nine drives. On the 49ers 42, Atlanta opted to go for it with the powerful Anderson, but got stopped by the defense. For starters, they know that the Eagles' defense is pretty good, sixth in the league in points per play (all stats per teamrankings.com). But, as the game approaches and the doubters keep popping up, I am growing more and more confident that the Eagles can win this game.

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In the second quarter, the Eagles scored a touchdown on a one yard run from LeGarrette Blunt.

Had Foles not been as good as he was on this night, the Eagles nearly certainly lose, especially after turning the ball over twice in the first half and missing an extra point.

Nick Foles will start in his first playoff game since 2013.

The Falcons, last year's NFC champions, had trouble getting off the field in the second half. Their defense is better at defense than the Falcons offense is at offense. They still gave up over seven yards a carry on the ground, but were able to get a lead and force Jared Goff to make more throws than he wanted to. Just 2 years removed from a terrible 3-13 showing, the Falcons were expected to be a playoff threat, possibly going 9-7 or maybe 10-6 at best thanks to hiring Dan Reeves.

With one second left on the clock, Elliott duly thumped over a 53-yarder to make it 10-9 at the break. Nick Foles can be expected to lean on running backs LaGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to do business, while seeking to keep Matt Ryan twiddling his thumbs for long stretches.

No big deal. Just put the ball in the hands of a future Hall of Famer.

The question now is if Sarkisian will return for a second season on the Falcons sideline. He connected on five passes of 10-plus yards during a third-quarter drive, three of which were to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. But the Falcons started off 2-0 before getting their annual "lunch handed to them by the 49ers" game in San Francisco and then won a few before getting drilled in NY to the Jets.

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