I had expected an ugly game from the Eagles passing game because Birds quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t been able to work very long with the team’s top wide receivers Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace and Alshon Jeffery. Of course we all know that Jeffery hasn’t been able to practice since his off season shoulder surgery, Agholor has been sidelined from practice for three weeks of training camp with a lower body injury and Wallace is new to the team and has been dropping passes throughout training camp.
I knew going into the game that the Birds passing game to the wide receivers just isn’t in sync. Foles can’t take a five step drop and know confidently there’s going to be somebody open and where everybody’s going to be on the route. A quarterback has to know that he knows that he knows that a receiver is going to be in the right spot. He’s got to be sure.
Foles does have confidence in Agholor, but he wasn’t able to get the ball to him downfield. He connected with Agholor eight times but for only 33 yards. Many of the throws were short out routes or short hooks across the middle. I don’t know that I have ever seen a wide receiver have eight catches for only 33 yards in a NFL game.
Agholor did a great job on the most memorable play of the game, the Philly Philly Call. The Eagles ran a similar play, which the Patriots ran in Super Bowl but Tom Brady dropped. Foles took the snap, handed the ball to Corey Clement, who tossed the ball to Agholor, who threw a 15 yard strike to Foles on third down. Foles had slid out of the backfield by sneaking past Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley, who wasn’t paying attention.
Atlanta’s corners are good coverage defensive backs, so I wasn’t expecting much from the Birds wideouts. I knew the Eagles would be attacking the Falcons with Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles. The Falcons did a good job against Sproles by putting a defensive back on him as much as possible. Mike Wallace didn’t catch a pass in the game.
Ertz dropped three passes during the game which was a surprise. He still led the Eagles in receiving yardage with 48 yards on five catches. I thought he was bothered by the Falcons linebacker holding and pushing him at the top of his routes. Atlanta got a way with a lot in their coverage of Ertz. There should have been more flags.
Eagles running back Jay Ajayi was put on ice in the first half of the game, but I have no idea why. He only carried the ball three times, but in the second half with the game on the line, Ajayi ran the ball with an attitude as he scored two touchdowns, which wound up being the difference in the game. He punished tacklers and ran with authority and aggressiveness.