Déjà vu: Eagles help Falcons relive a nightmare

Déjà vu: Eagles help Falcons relive a nightmare

The Atlanta Falcons came to Philly to start their 2018 season fresh and ended up reliving a nightmare they've been haunted by for eight months.

One play to win the game.

Throw the ball to Julio.


"It's déjà vu all over again," Jalen Mills said after Thursday night's 18-12 win (see 10 observations).

In the same fashion the Eagles ended the Falcons' 2017 season, they gave them a loss to start their 2018 season. You'll remember Matt Ryan rolling right and trying to find Julio Jones in the end zone in the divisional round last year. Jones didn't catch that ball and came down out of bounds against tight coverage from Mills.

This time?

It was Ronald Darby on Jones ... and on the left side. One second left from the 5-yard line.

Same result.

"You lined up on 11, you know you're hot," Darby said. "You gotta lock in and make a play. Last game, my boy J-Mill made the play. In this game, I made it. That's why you have guys like us, to go out and compete. We just find a way to win."

This time, Jones was actually able to catch the ball but his momentum carried him out of bounds. Darby did a good job to stick with him and make sure he didn't land in the green.

After he made the game-ending play, Darby took off running, trying to do his best impression of Mills from last year's divisional round win.

He didn't get very far.

"I tried to run around," Darby said. "I was tired, so I couldn't run all the way down the field."

It was an exhausting game in 80-plus degree temperatures in South Philly. The last time these two teams played, it was in January.

So Thursday was a little different.

"It kind of did [remind me of last year's game]," Chris Long said. "Just hotter."

The Falcons got into the red zone five times on Thursday night but scored just one touchdown and one field goal on those drives.

The Eagles' defense put together a pretty spectacular performance. At times it bent ... it didn't break.

And on Thursday, even the last play wasn't the last play. The Eagles actually stopped the Falcons on 4th-and-goal, but an illegal contact penalty against Jordan Hicks — "I can't put our team in that situation," he said — gave the Falcons one more play with one second left.

The Eagles didn't panic. Malcolm Jenkins stressed for his teammates to regroup.

They did.

"All of us want to be the guy to make that play," Darby said. "Like, please come my way. I want to be the guy who celebrates, I wanted everybody to be yelling. Ya feel me?"

Yeah, we feel ya, Darb.

The Eagles somehow pulled off a nearly identical win against the same team eight months apart. The Falcons are going to have nightmares for a long time to come.

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Eagle Eye podcast: Demolished in Dallas

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Eagle Eye podcast: Demolished in Dallas

On this Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro sort through the rubble of the Eagles’ 37-10 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

The Eagles suffer one of the biggest losses of the Doug Pederson era and have lost back-to-back games by a combined 45 points. 

• How awful was that loss? 
• Nelson Agholor is bad right now
• The offense is completely out of sorts
• The defense isn’t any better
• Schedule isn’t getting any easier
• At least the NBA is starting soon 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

Doug Pederson doesn’t regret his declaration, but his confidence was misplaced

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Six days after Eagles head coach Doug Pederson went on WIP and said the Eagles were going to go to Dallas and “win that football game,” the Eagles suffered what Pederson agreed was one of the worst losses during his tenure as head coach. 

The Eagles were crushed by the Cowboys, 37-10, at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night in front of a national television audience. 

So late Sunday night, did Pederson regret his declaration? 

“Nope,” he said. “Do not.” 

Pederson was confident in his team. But that confidence was clearly misplaced, because his team put out a pathetic performance against their biggest rival in a game that would have moved them into first place in the division. 

Why didn’t he regret his words? 

“I just felt like I had a lot of confidence in this football team, a lot of trust, a lot of faith in the guys,” Pederson said. “Had a good week of preparation. Quite honestly, after a game like this, we all have to step back, look in the mirror, especially myself. It starts with me. This is one of those games that I take personal from that standpoint. We didn’t play well and that’s personal on me. I gotta get that fixed.” 

This was the Eagles’ worst loss at the hands of the Cowboys since a 34-0 drubbing in 1998, the year before Pederson joined the Eagles as a player. 

Pederson said he didn’t think he was overconfident heading into this week and disagreed with the notion that the Eagles were unprepared for the game. He pointed at the two early turnovers as costly mistakes, but ones that didn’t indicate unpreparedness. 

We’ve heard this now after every loss, right? The Eagles’ mistakes are correctable. They can fix them. They can still be the team we thought they were going to be. 

But seven games and a 3-4 record into the 2019 season, it’s time to wonder if that’s really the case. In back-to-back weeks to start the toughest stretch of their schedule, the Eagles have lost by 18 points and now by 27. 

So maybe it’s fair to ask, simply, is this Eagles team is talented enough? 

In fact, I asked Pederson that on Sunday night. 

He said it is. 

But why does he believe that? 

“Because you see signs of it, you see glimpses of it,” Pederson said. “Obviously, we’ve injured and we’ve got some guys that are missing, but we don’t use that as an excuse. And I do feel like we’ve got enough talent on this football team to get the job done.”

Glimpses aren’t enough. Glimpses don’t win football games. Glimpses don’t get you into the playoffs. 

And the Eagles certainly didn’t look all that talented on Sunday night. The offense couldn’t get going. The defense couldn’t stop Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott. Even their special teams unit had a couple blunders, too. 

Pederson looked weathered after the loss. But he stood there and tried to explain problems for which he clearly didn’t have answers. He tried to take blame. 

“It starts with me,” Pederson said. “So I’m going to own this one. This one will be on me.”

His biggest crime might have been believing in this team. 

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