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Underdog Eagles wear dog masks after beating Falcons

14 January 2018

The crowd followed. They celebrated a 15-10 postseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on a windy evening at Lincoln Financial Field, and scheduled one more home game in Philadelphia.

Falcons go coldQuarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons and teammates react against the Philadelphia Eagles. No matter how good the defense played, if the offense couldn't score, the team was in trouble.

On the eye test, Foles' performance did not match his stat line, particularly in the first half.

Coleman, usually the backup, had 79 yards on 10 carries, with a long of 23. "You know what? I will gladly take two more ugly wins and then we can have a handsome parade". He was also the beneficiary of a botched interception that deflected off the knee of a Falcons defender and into the hands of Torrey Smith. They got back into it in the second quarter when the Eagles capped a drive with LaGarrete Blount's two-yard run to take the lead.

Prior to their playoff win over the Falcons, the Eagles hadn't won a playoff game since the 2008 season. The drive started after Keanu Neal recovered a fumble from Eagles running back Jay Ajayi.

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The two teams exchanged punts before Foles engineered an 86-yard, 14-play drive for an Eagles touchdown.

Neither offense, however, looked playoff-ready through the first two quarters. Ideal situation for the Falcons at their own 40 - and on the final play of the quarter, Devonta Freeman whiffed on a blitz pickup and let Ryan get dropped for a 10-yard loss. Credit Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas for building a roster with enough depth to withstand the injuries its sustained this year and Pederson for fostering a next-man-up culture. But when a team is so strong around its QB, as the Eagles have been as the NFC's best team in the regular season, plenty of grit from the QB will do just fine. We weren't sustaining drives in the second half. The Eagles never said if Ajayi got injured and he was effective as a pass-catcher in the second half, but it seems like his extended rest took him out of the rhythm he was in early in the game.

In this matchup of birds of prey, what's a dog got to do with it? The Falcons had first-and-goal at the Eagles' 9-yard line with 1:19 on the clock, two timeouts left - just one left for the Eagles - and ended up making a mess of most of that series. There is no such thing as an ugly win at this point in the season. While Philadelphia advances to the NFC championship game, the Falcons (11-7) go home. The Eagles did beat the Saints in 1993, 36-20, behind a 26-point fourth quarter from the Birds.

The Falcons slow progress to the endzone had diehard Eagles fans cheering on a challenge on a pass completion, shouting when the Flacons made first downs, and roared when at 4th and goal the Eagles defense swooped in to prevent what could have been a game-winning touchdown for their opponents. The Falcons kept marching and appeared prime to pull out the victory. They've haven't reached the Super Bowl since Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Co. lost to the New England Patriots 24-21 in February 2005.

Underdog Eagles wear dog masks after beating Falcons