Battle of the Birds: Fly or die with Matt Ryan 

The NFL season opener began with a bang, or better yet a Thunderstorm,
as the weather delay during the Philadelphia Eagles-Atlanta Falcons game on
Thursday night became symbolic for a messy, rough evening at Lincoln Financial
Field. 

The defending Super Bowl champs gave the Falcons numerous
chances to win; failing to convert on offense, and turning the ball over late
in 4th, Matt Ryan and company still didn’t get the job done. This
was certainly a game that the Atlanta should have won, but instead will start
the season with a loss. 

This game reeked anything but a NFC Championship rematch that
fans and media hoped for, the hype was very much downplayed after an abysmal first
half, 6-3 (Philadelphia).   

Both quarterbacks struggled to say the least, and the team
as a whole looked like it was still preseason. Fans were actually booing the
Eagles by halftime, showing their displeasure with a long awaited evening,
especially with the weather delay. 

Thursday night revealed and highlighted the lingering questions
at quarterback, where as the surrounding unit for both teams prove to be solid.
The Falcons have a tremendous offensive line, as do the Eagles, and are also
complemented with a great defense all-around. 

While QB Nick Foles wasn’t able to get the passing game
going, he stuck to his team’s motto of running the football and trusted his
line to do the rest. Jay Ajayi took advantage of the great blocking and scored two
touchdowns for Eagles, but it was still a one possession game. 

Ryan appeared to lean on his star wide receiver Julio Jones, who had a tremendous night
with 10-of-19 targets for 161 yards, all game long. 

Jones was getting doubled most the game, but still continued
to be the focal point for the Falcons. It was almost if Mohamed Sanu wasn’t in
the game, or any other wide receivers for that matter. 

I was surprised that Head Coach Dan Quinn and his staff didn’t
come up with some kind of RPO, or trick play to throw off the defense, rather
than just throwing it to a fully-blanketed Julio Jones in the red zone. These
were obvious passing situations, and clearly the Falcons failed to come up with
a “Philly Special” of their own. 

The Falcons certainly has to address their Red Zone inefficiency,
or else it will continue to be haunt them all season long.

Photo by Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

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