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McCaffery: Nick Foles helped give underdog Eagles some unexpected bite

14 January 2018

Afterward, Jenkins explained that the Falcons' personnel package - they used two runnings backs on that fourth-down snap - also hinted at the play call.

"I feel like I played poorly", Ajayi said. "But we've been there before this season".

"I was able to get the game plan and kind of get the information I needed yesterday", Ryan said. The Falcons had first-and-goal at the 9, and got to the 2 on fourth down before Ryan's pass to Julio Jones soared over his head in the end zone. He has reached 4,000 yards passing for the seventh straight season, but he passed for only 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in the regular season.

No incendiary comments needed, the Eagles are using the point spread for this weekend's game against Atlanta as added motivation, a reminder of how little chance some people give them to win. Facing an Eagles defence with 31 takeaways this season, Ryan and his running backs need to be very careful with the football in this one.

Of course, the Falcons' poorly executed (and poorly designed) 4th-and-goal play from the Philadelphia 2-yard line never had a chance.

It's always something special defeating a great team without their star player as an underdog.

So, no, the Eagles hadn't been there before.

"Watch this, watch this", Kendricks said, grabbing fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham in the next locker. He is 1-3 as a pro in the same city he played his high school ball in at posh Penn Charter.

"Most of them have nevee played, they get paid to talk, " Brandon Graham, who had a key tackle for loss in the final defensive siand said. "And he rushed the quarterback and made him hurry". Eagles tight end Trey Burton barely missed blocking a punt in the first quarter. "At the end of the day, we're not surprised".

All Foles (23-for-30, 246 yards, 100.1 passer rating) did in this game was quietly outperform his Atlanta counterpart, Matt Ryan (22-for-36, 210 yards, 1 TD, 86.6 passer rating). The final thing for the Falcons is not turning the ball over. Both teams have been trending in opposite directions with the Eagles losing Carson Wentz and looking lackluster on offense in recent games and the Falcons winning 7 of their last nine, including wins over the Rams, Panthers, and Saints.

The Eagles may be the top seed in the NFC and have home-field advantage in next Sunday's conference title game after beating the Falcons, but this team feels slighted by each prognosticator, pundit and panelist who has come out in the past few weeks to declare them finished.

"A lot of us have played with Nick before", said Johnson, who was a rookie in 2013, when Foles came in for Vick and took the league by storm. "It's the same thing we had been doing all game. I think if teams want to overlook us, that is good". Our DBs stood up and covered [Jones], whether on that fade route or on the sprint out. Keenum, a career backup/Rams bridge QB, has found an incredible rapport with receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, and leads a Vikings offence that ranked 10th in points scored and 11th in total yards in 2017. The Falcons were that close, but they left the field with only the memory of how close.

McCaffery: Nick Foles helped give underdog Eagles some unexpected bite