Posted in Gameday Goods

Atlanta’s “Explosive” Offense, Not Explosive in Season Opener

Atlanta 12 at Philadelphia 18

September 6, 2018

The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Atlanta Falcons on the opening Thursday night of the 2018 NFL season.  The game was delayed nearly an hour due to storms in the area.

Inactives of note for the Falcons were Ben Garland, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Josh Harris, and Isaiah Oliver.

Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Grady Jarrett, Ricardo Allen, Matt Bosher, and Alex Mack represented as captains.  The Falcons lose the coin toss, but, as we would have done, Philadelphia deffered….so the Offense comes out first.

The opening kickoff was a touchback and the 2018 Atlanta Falcons season begins at the 25.  It begins with Logan Paulsen jumping off sides and we are 1st and 15 at the 20.  And the first OFFICIAL play is 10 yards to JULIO JONES.  Then, an end around to Ju, who stiff arms the defender and makes the first down….as a running back.  Ryan Schraeder makes two good blocks to open up the field for Devonta Freeman and a 20-yard run.  Two passes in a row fall incomplete and the Falcons face their first 3rd down of the game.  From the Eagles’ 45, Ryan in the shotgun, directs a confused line and passes to Julio for 33 yards, down at the 6.  Freeman goes up the middle to the 1-yard line.  2nd and goal, Fletcher Cox stops Freeman.  Freeman then taps the pass in the end zone and it falls incomplete.  On 4th and goal… receivers are on the field and Freeman goes far around the left side and is stopped at the 2.

The good news, the Philadelphia offense begins at the 2.  A quick run by Darren Sproles who is stopped for a 2-yard gain.  A pass for another couple of yards with Robert Alford quickly forcing the receiver out of bounds.  3rd and 4 from the 8 and Ricardo Allen breaks up the pass.  Again, the defense does their job and the offense should come back out with good field position.

Justin Hardy is back to receive the punt and returns it for a couple of yards, which is added onto with an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Eagles.

The offense comes out for their second possession of the game.  The pass to Mohamed Sanu is low and falls uncaught.  2nd down is a run by Tevin Coleman who runs up the middle for 5 yards.  On 3rd and 5, Ryan runs for the first down himself.  Now at the 33, Coleman runs along the outside and loses 3 yards, then catches the shovel pass and gains 23 yards.  From the 10, Ryan passes to Austin Hooper who managed to catch the ball nearly on the ground.  Eagles’ Head Coach, Doug Pederson challenged the catch.  The call was upheld and the Eagles lost their first time out and have one challenge remaining.  Just inside the 7, it is 2nd and goal.  Finding no one open, Ryan throws the ball out of the end zone.  Now, 3rd and goal, Ryan is sacked by Chris Long, but there is a flag for off sides on the defense.  The ball is moved to the 3 ½ yard line, Ryan throws toward Hooper, who was knocked down, but no penalty.  Finally, Money Matt Bryant comes out and easily puts the Falcons on the scoreboard.

img_7671Matt Bosher kicks it to the 1, where he ends up assisting with the stop at the 31.  Sproles runs 1 yard to the left side and is immediately stopped.  Takk McKinley was off sides on the next play.   At 2nd and 4, Nick Foles passes up for the first down, where the receiver was immediately wrapped up by Rocky.  Brian Poole highlights the next play with an immediate SACK for a loss of 7 yards.  Corey Clement gets the call and is stopped by Grady Jarrett for no gain.  On 3rd and 17, Takk has another movement penalty on the hard count.  Still 3rd down, now for 12 yards, Foles drops the snap…..Takk is all over Foles’ blocker, not allowing him to escape as Jarrett finally gets his leg to take him down.  The Eagles punt to Hardy, who lets the ball roll into the end zone.

First and 10 at the 20 and the pass goes thru Julio’s hands as the defender is wrapping him up.  Freeman and Coleman are both in, Freeman goes in motion as Ryan hands the ball to Coleman who is stopped in the backfield.  The first quarter ends with the Falcons leading 3/0 and the ball.

On 3rd down, Freeman is stopped behind the line and Bosher is on to punt from the end zone.  Sproles fair catches the ball with Justin Bethel just a few feet away.

The Eagles start their 3rd possession on their own 40 with a pass for a single yard where the receiver is met with De’Vondre Campbell.  A handoff to Jay Ajayi goes up the middle for 2 yards.  Foles drops back to pass to Nelson Agholor for the first down, in the arms of Rocky.  Next pass, to Agholor, slammed by Rocky and Rico.  On 2nd and 4, DeAndre Carter is wide open on the right side for the first down and more, pushed out of bounds by Poole.  Ajayi picks up 9 yards running hard of the middle.  He takes the ball again for the 2 yards for just short of the first down and is stopped by Campbell.  3rd and inches, Sproles uses some fancy footwork to gain the necessary inches and is tripped up by Campbell.  Takk had an arm on him, but was in a complete bearhug with the offensive lineman.  Continuing in the no huddle, Foles passes up the middle to Sproles, where he is slammed by Deion Jones.  On 3rd and 7 from the 17, Foles drops back and fires the ball to Wallace who is tapped by Desmond Trufant and he is called for the Pass Interference.  Keanu Neal is injured on the play, but walks off under his own power.  Damontae Kazee comes in for Keke.  Sproles runs up the middle, with the help of a hold, which is called and the Eagles are backed up to the 19 with a 1st and goal still.  Kazee was already in on the first tackle after entering the game.  Foles goes big to the end zone, but Dallas Goedert is out of bounds, being pushed out by Duke Riley.  Clement is met by Deadrin Senat and Brooks Reed.  3rd and goal from the 18, Zach Ertz catches the ball, but too far to go for it on 4th and goal. The game is now tied at 3.

The kickoff goes through the end zone again, and the Falcons will begin at their own 25.  Coleman takes the end around for a couple of yards.  Ryan opens it up and has a 23-yard pass to Julio.  Now near midfield, Ryan hands off to Coleman for a single yard gain.  On 2nd down, Ryan has a first down pass to Sanu, and tag on a roughing the passer penalty by Chris Long and the Falcons are suddenly on the 27.  Ryan cannot find a receiver and scrambles and slides at the 23, where he knocks his brace out of whack.  The Falcons take a timeout to get Ryan fixed back up.  With just over 2 minutes left, they removed the brace.  Ryan overthrows Sanu causing a 3rd and 8, where Ryan is sacked at the 34-yard line.  Bryant comes on, drops a 52-yard field goal like it’s an extra point and the Falcons lead again.

The kick-off is returned, where the returner keeps shuffling side to side to avoid Bethel and Kemal Ishmael, til Ish gets tired of that and lays him out.  Meanwhile, they also had a holding penalty, so the Eagles begin on their own 5.  Keke is back on the field.  Foles is in the end zone with Jack Crawford all over him and throws the ball at the feet of a covered receiver.  The 2-minute warning gives both teams time to regroup.  2nd and 10, Foles is nearly sacked in the end zone by Jarrett who is called for roughing the passer and the Eagles are given the ball at the 25.  Tru has good coverage on the receiver as Foles scrambles with Grady chasing him, and Tru is called for PI again.  A drop, then an errant pass, and the Eagles are forced to punt.

On the punt, the Eagles have a false start and must punt from the 30.  Hardy lets the ball go over his head, but it stops and the Falcons will begin at the 11 with a minute and a half until the half.  Ryan throws a quick pass for a first down to Julio.  Ryan’s first pass to rookie Calvin Ridley is knocked down before it reaches Ridley.  Ryan passes to Freeman for 7 yards.  On 3rd and 3, Ryan throws low to Julio who is covered tightly and cannot hold onto the ball.

As Bosher punts, another flag is thrown, a false start by Foye Oluokun.  Bosher hits another punt, where another flag is thrown, a personal foul on the Eagles, backing them up….the foul is on former Falcon, LeRoy Reynolds.  With 33 seconds until the half, the Eagles begins on their own 12.  Reed came across the line too soon.  Foles airs it out where Keke and Rico cover Wallace tightly.  With 2nd and 5, at the 17, the Eagles take a timeout as the 40 second clock expires.  The next pass is thrown out of bounds.  3rd and 5, Foles passes to Sproles who is short of the first down.  With 9 seconds to go and a 4th and 1, the Eagles call their final timeout of the half.

On the punt, Oluokun is blocked into the kicker and with 5 seconds left, the Eagles have another “gimme” first down.  They take a knee and go to the half.

Bosher is back out to kick to the back of the end zone, so Philadelphia will begin the 2nd half on their own 25.  Foles with the fake hand off and pass to Ertz for an 8-yard gain.  Ajayi gains 3 for a first down.  Foles is pushed back in the pocket, Keke jumps for a pass block, but Poole is in coverage on the receiver and stops a reception, nearly getting the interception.  However, Rocky is called for a 5-yard penalty.  Sproles runs into the defensive line for a 1-yard gain.  Play action, Foles throws a pass….nearly to Rocky, who cannot hold on for the first turn over of the season.  Agholor makes the reception for a short gain and has Tru on him immediately.  Keke is down again, with the same leg injured.  The Eagles punt again to Hardy who fair catches the ball at the 20.

Freeman gets the first call for an 8-yard gain.  Freeman in the backfield, picking up a block, gives Ryan time to get a quick, short pass to Julio for a first down.  A fake to Free and Ryan lobs the ball down the field to Julio for a 52-yard gain.  Called out of bounds as Julio was bobbling the ball as he fell and slid across the chalk, but DQ challenged the ruling and the ruling was upheld.  Under immense pressure, Ryan throws out of bounds and is called for intentional grounding. Now at 3rd and 24, Ryan throws across the middle to Julio for a few yards and Bosher punts again.

The Eagles begin at their own 37 and gain a quick 5.  Foles passes to Ertz who is stopped a yard short of the first down marker.  Ajayi gets the call and gains more than the needed one yard for the first down and the Eagles are across midfield. Foles drops back and is surrounded as his pass to Agholor falls incomplete in tight coverage by Debo.  Ajayi tries to juke through the middle, being met by numerous swarming Falcons, for a 5-yard game.  As we now see Takk sitting on the field.  Foles hands off then the ball is handed to Agholor, who passes for 15 yards to Foles and Tru takes him out of bounds.  Now…Tru is injured on the sideline.  Foles’ pass is low and incomplete.  Ajeya spins for 2 yards.  At 3rd and 8, Foles passes to an open Ertz, who gets to the 6-yard line, finally stopped by Rico with Kazee coming fast.  First and goal, a toss to Sproles who is knocked out at the 2 by Poole.  Now Debo is dinged up and has to come out for a play.  Takk is back on the field.  The first touchdown of the 2018 NFL season is by Ajayi and the Eagles take the lead 10 to the Falcons’ 6.

On the kickoff, that was a touchback, the Eagles still managed a penalty and the Falcons begin on their own 40.  Ryan hands off to Coleman who gains one yard.  Then a toss back to Coleman who runs for 6 yards is called back as Schraeder is flagged for clipping and a 15-yard penalty.  On 2nd and 25 from the 25, Ryan throws up to Hooper for a 15-yard gain.  3rd and 10 and time running out, Ryan drops back and the pass to Julio is perfectly defended and knocked out.

The Eagles being with another Ajayi run for a 4 yard gain, as we see Tru and Debo have returned to the field as well.  Foles drops back and passes to Ertz, which is called incomplete, while the D thought it was a turnover.  It’s 3rd and 6, with Vic Beasley holding Foles’ arm, he gets the ball to Ertz, but it is too low to catch.  Another punt to Hardy who returns a few yards, with another flag out, this time on Kazee for a block in the back.

Freeman gets the first call on this possession and gains 4 yards along the right side.  Ryan fakes to Free and lobs it down to the 15 to Julio, but the ball is slightly overthrown and Julio cannot get there.  On 3rd down, Ryan goes over the middle to Eric Saubert who catches then drops the ball.  Bosher on to punt again.

As the short punt rolls, 6 Falcons surround it to let it roll, but an Eagle touches it with their foot, and the Falcons quickly realize and cover the ball.  Now at the Eagles 32, Ryan nearly throws an interception, which would have been a Pick 6 because the defender and pass were behind the line.  Sanu reaches back to make the low reception as the 3rd quarter ends.

The fourth and final quarter of the game begins with the Eagles jumping off sides and giving the Falcons a first down instead of the sack.  A pitch pack to Coleman, who is stopped in the backfield, but then pushes through and gains 5 yards.  Coleman gets the call again for a couple of yards.  Freeman comes back in for the 3rd and 3 at the 15.  Ryan throws an interception at the 4-yard line.

The Eagles buy themselves some room with a 4-yard gain.  Another handoff gets close to the first down marker.  On 3rd and inches, Agholor runs for a big gain, up to the 29.  FINALLY….Kazee knocks the ball out of the receiver’s hands and bounces into Debo’s welcoming arms.  After a runback, the defense turns it back to the offense.  A pass to Ju, a run by Coleman….and we have our first TOUCHDOWN of the season.

With Josh Harris out, the long snapper hits Bosher with a bad snap which he bobbles, and Bryant’s extra point hits the upright and falls back into the field, so the Falcons lead by 2 with just under 10 minutes to go in the game.

Another Bosher touchback and the Eagles will begin at their 25.  Ajayi runs for 7 yards.  There is no room on the next run.  Foles passes up to Agholor, who is stopped by Debo, but a flag for pass interference calls it back and makes it 3rd and 14.  Grady is telling the D what they need to be preparing for, as Philadelphia is late getting the play and are forced to call their first time out of the 2nd half.  Foles fires up to Ertz who cannot catch the ball.  Hardy lets the punt go over his head and it rolls to the 20, another flag, on both teams, therefore there is a re-kick.  Not likely that Hardy will let this one roll past him again.  On this second punt, Hardy keeps the ball in front of him and it goes out at the 34.

With 7 ½ minutes to go, Freeman takes the ball around the right side and takes a loss, but Schraeder was holding so it is 1st and 20.  A pass down the line to Sanu is caught and now it is 2nd and 25.  Ryan is sacked, fumbles and Mack falls on the ball.  It is 3rd and 29.  Ryan drops back and throws up a few yards to Freeman, who manages to make a 12-yard gain.

Bosher on to punt to the 20 where Ish makes the stop at the 31, and a flag is on the field for Saubert and a huge facemask penalty.

The Eagles begin on their own 46.  Foles passes to Agholor for a few yards.  Foles goes deep to Wallace at the 2, but Rocky plays it perfectly and knocks the ball out.  3rd at 8 at the 48, Foles drops back under pressure and Sproles makes the reception and forces his way to the first down.  To Sproles again, Rico on the stop, after a 6-yard gain.  Ajayi goes up the middle for 2 yards.  Takk tweaks his leg again and is assisted off the field.  On 3rd and 2, Clement goes through the middle of the field untouched until Kazee catches him and saves the touchdown.  Clement runs again for a couple of yards.  Then, Ajayi takes the ball around the outside left and scores the touchdown, taking back the lead.  The Eagles succeed in their 2-point conversion attempt and lead 18 to 12 with 2:19 on the clock.

Ryan’s first pass is a 5-yard pass to Hooper.  Then, before the 2-minute warning, Ryan finds Julio for 36 yards.  Coleman is in as Free’s knee is tweaked.  An incomplete pass brings up 2nd and 10 with 1:50 and 33 yards to go.  Ryan is scrambling and slips at the 40.  As Ryan is inches from being slammed, he pitches it up 18 yards to a falling Julio.  The Falcons take their 2nd timeout.  Another pass to Julio for 9 yards to the 11-yard line.  Ryan is caught up in swarming Eagles and sacked.  3rd and 8 and a quick pass that Sanu snatches out of the air for the first down.  The final Falcons timeout of the game with 24 seconds remaining.  Ryan scrambles, runs towards the sidelines and throws it into the stands.  2nd and goal at the 10.  The next pass is just over Julio in the middle of the back of the end zone.  On 3rd down, Julio is double covered again.  Nearly sacked, Ryan throws a short incomplete pass.  Seven seconds remain for a final play that is way out of bounds, a flag is called on the defense.  Illegal contact.  So there is 1 second and 1 play left with the Falcons’ ball on the 5.  Julio and Sanu are both on the left side…..Ryan throws to Julio who falls out of bounds with the ball.

The Falcons begin their season 0-1 and will have extra time before hosting the Carolina Panthers on September 16, 2018.


@FalconAlley OWT

Photos courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons

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