Eagles at Falcons live: Highlights, analysis from NFL Week 1 game

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Eagles at Falcons live: Highlights, analysis from NFL Week 1 game

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11:35 p.m.: Had Zach Ertz been able to stretch another foot, the Eagles might have been able to pull out a win, but it didn’t happen. Ertz picked up 7 1/2 yards on 4th-and-8 with the Eagles driving toward the end zone and the Falcons pick up the win. 

An absolutely crazy game with a injuries and craziness. It would have been a huge win, but the Eagles come up just short. 

Final: Falcons 24, Eagles 20 

11:17 p.m.: Matt Ryan just hit Julio Jones on a little dump off that went for a 54-yard touchdown to give the Falcons the lead again. It came on 4th-and-3. 

Carson Wentz and the Eagles will get the ball back with two timeouts and 2:10 left. 

11:10 p.m.: Are you kidding me? 

The Eagles just drove 73 yards on 13 plays in 8:29 to score a touchdown, get a 2-point conversion and take a three-point lead with just over three minutes left. 

Carson Wentz connected with Mack Hollins on a 3rd-and-6 and a 3rd-and-9 to move the sticks. And then Wentz punched in a touchdown from the 1-yard line on a QB sneak. He spiked the ball so hard, he fell over. Then he hit Zach Ertz for the 2-point conversion. 

3:13 left: Eagles 20, Falcons 17 

10:54 p.m.: Andrew Sendejo just picked up the first full sack of his career. He’s in Year 10. Good time for it. It forced a punt and gives the Eagles the ball with 11:42 left, down 5. 

10:50 p.m.: The Eagles drive fizzled and now they need the defense to come up with another stop, but the Falcons have a short field. They’re at their own 45-yard line. 

10:41 p.m.: Big INT for Nate Gerry in the end zone. It was a touchback but Derek Barnett was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty to give the Eagles the ball at their own 10-yard line. Still, no points for Atlanta and the Eagles are down five points with 12 seconds left in the third quarter. 

It was Gerry’s second-career INT. 

10:37 p.m.: If you need to catch up on all the injuries: 

And now Sidney Jones to the medical tent. Unreal. 

10:30 p.m.: The Eagles are alive! 

Even though half of their team has taken a trip to the blue medical tent, they’re down just five points in the third quarter. After Ronald Darby got his first INT in nearly a calendar year, Carson Wentz hit Nelson Agholor on a 4-yard touchdown. Wentz dove across the goal line for the 2-pointer but a review ruled he was short. 

Still 4:57 left in the third quarter: 

Falcons 17, Eagles 12 

10:16 p.m.: Nelson Agholor was being evaluated for a concussion, but he’s back in the game. He’s good to go. That means the Eagles have three healthy receivers. 

But then there's this: 

10:11 p.m.: Well … that wasn’t an ideal start to the second half. 

Corey Clement fumbled the kickoff and the Falcons needed just three plays to punch in a touchdown. Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a 4-yard touchdown to cap the short drive. 

Still 13:23 left in the third: Falcons 17, Eagles 6 

9:59 p.m.: Party in the blue tent!

The Eagles are somehow down just four points, 10-6, at halftime, but have had a ton of injuries, including Carson Wentz, who left the game for six plays late in the first half. 

After Sidney Jones picked off a pass from Matt Ryan, Josh McCown took the field with the offense, but Wentz eventually returned. Jake Elliott hit his second field goal to cut the deficit to four points. 

Add Wentz to the growing list of Eagles who have been hurt tonight: Dallas Goedert (calf), Alshon Jeffery (calf), DeSean Jackson (groin) and Jason Kelce, who returned without missing any time. 

The Eagles were out-gained 207 to 95 in the first half. 

At half: Falcons 10, Eagles 6 

9:28 p.m.: The Falcons just scored the games first touchdown. Matt Ryan hit Calvin Ridley for a 34-yard touchdown over Ronald Darby. It’s pretty clear the Falcons are targeting Darby, who isn’t playing well. And Andrew Sendejo didn’t provide the help he was supposed to on that play. 

With 4:56 left in the half: Falcons 10, Eagles 3 

9:19 p.m.: We finally have an update on a couple more injured players. We already knew Dallas Goedert (calf) was questionable to return. 

Add two more to that list: 

The Eagles now have just three receivers — Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins — and one tight end (Zach Ertz) healthy. 

Matt Bryant just missed a 50-yard field goal to keep this game tied. 

9:08 p.m.: The Eagles just tied the game at 3-3 in the second quarter as Jake Elliott hit a 34-yard field goal. 

The Eagles are dealing with some injuries on offense to their skill position players. Dallas Goedert, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson all have injuries. And now Jason Kelce is in the medical tent. If Kelce has to miss time, Isaac Seumalo would likely slide to center and Halapoulivaati Vaitai would likely play LG. 

8:48 p.m.: A really nice TFL from Derek Barnett and the Eagles forced their first punt of the game. Interesting that on third down, Josh  

8:38 p.m.: The Eagles were forced to punt on their first drive, but a nice punt from Cam Johnston and a heads up play from Mack Hollins pins the Falcons at their own 1-yard line. 

Dallas Goedert, who might have gotten hurt during warmups, did not see the field on that first drive. 

8:29 p.m.: The Falcons were moving down the field until Brandon Graham had a huge six-yard TFL and eventually the Eagles forced the Falcons into the first third down of the game. The Eagles’ sticks defense held up, but Matt Bryant hit a 50-yard field goal. Still, it looked like the Falcons were gonna score a touchdown in a hurry and the Eagles’ defense held. 

Still 9:28 left in the first: Falcons 3, Eagles 0 

8:05 p.m.: Dallas Goedert was spotted heading back inside during warmups. He was spotted by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. 

That’s something to watch in this game. The Eagles came into this game with just two tight ends: Zach Ertz and Goedert. If Goedert is limited, expect to see a lot of Andre Dillard as a tight end/inline blocker. 

6:55 p.m.: The roof is indeed opening. 

6:54 p.m.: No surprises on the list of Eagles inactive players. In fact, the same seven from last week are inactive: 

Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee)
Jordan Mailata (back)
Nate Sudfeld (wrist)
Nate Herbig 
Matt Pryor 
Shareef Miller
Daeshon Hall 

6:40 p.m.: DeSean Jackson has taken the field.

And this is a good sign for Kamu Grugier-Hill, who's not wearing a brace.

6:20 p.m.: Carson Wentz is out on the field and getting ready.

4:47 p.m.: A quick look from the early games: The Giants lost to the Bills to fall to 0-2. 

And the Cowboys moved to 2-0 with a 31-21 win over the Redskins (0-2). That means the Eagles need to win tonight to keep pace with the Cowboys in the NFC East. Either way, this is becoming a two-team race like we all expected. Dak Prescott has now thrown for 674 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two games. He’s just the 11th quarterback all-time to put up those numbers in the first two games of a season. 

4:44 p.m.: I have arrived to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second time in two days. This time, I’m really looking forward to the game. 

8:21 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! It’s going to be a long day of waiting for Sunday Night Football, but we should be in for a good game tonight. 

I got into Atlanta yesterday around noon and already saw a bunch of Eagles fans as I walked around town. I’d expect there to be a bunch at the game tonight. 

Last night, I got a chance to get a sneak peek at Mercedes-Benz Stadium a little early; I went to an Atlanta United game. The stadium is really cool; they did a good job. And for those going to the game, remember: the concession prices are really reasonable. That’s one of the coolest things about this new stadium. 

For those who were asking, the Falcons play on different turf than the Atlanta United and the soccer pitch is wider too, so more seats get put in. 

Enjoy watching all the afternoon games. In the meantime, here are our Eagles-Falcons predictions and five matchups to watch. 

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Nelson Agholor’s missed catch caps miserable performance from Eagles’ WRs

Nelson Agholor’s missed catch caps miserable performance from Eagles’ WRs

With one play, Nelson Agholor could have erased what was an otherwise miserable offensive afternoon for the Eagles at the Linc against the Patriots. 

He couldn’t do it. 

The ball popped out of Agholor’s hands in the back of the end zone on fourth down late in the fourth quarter. It was a play that could have tied the game. That pretty much sealed the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the reigning Super Bowl champs (see Roob's observations).

It was a frustrating end to what was another frustrating performance from the Eagles’ wide receiver group, this time without Alshon Jeffery, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. 

“We gotta be better,” Agholor said. “I mean, that’s the reality of it. There’s no excuse. We just gotta be better.” 

Carson Wentz certainly didn’t have his best performance and he even missed a couple big throws on the penultimate drive that could have tied the game. But with 1:05 left, he was able to get off that fourth-down pass with pressure in his face and hit Agholor in the hands in the back of the end zone. 

Agholor, who has been having an unfortunate contract season, said he tried to track the ball over his shoulder and actually thought he did a good job of tracking it. 

“Yeah, I did,” Agholor answered when asked if he tracked the ball well. “If anything, I kind of hit the ground and that’s when I lost it.”

But it looked like Agholor might have overrun the ball and then had to contort his body in an attempt to haul it in. His knee did hit the ground hard and he grabbed it in pain after the play. 

Once again on Sunday, the Eagles didn’t get nearly enough production from their wide receivers. This time, they were without Jeffery, but the lack of plays from that position has been a trend the entire season, even with him. 

Look at Sunday’s receiving numbers for the Birds: 

Tight ends and running backs: 14 catches, 139 yards, 1 TD 

Receivers: 6 catches, 75 yards  

And until that second-to-last drive, the Eagles’ receivers had just 22 receiving yards. So that group went nearly the entire game without making any significant impact. 

Without Jeffery, you can certainly say this group isn’t talented enough. But Agholor is getting paid $9.4 million, JJ Arcega-Whiteside was a second-round pick and Jordan Matthews, although he’s been back just a week, has had a relatively productive NFL career. Even Mack Hollins made plays in two games earlier this year. 

Agholor: 4 catches on 9 targets, 40 yards

Arcega-Whiteside: 1 catch on 1 target, 29 yards 

Jordan Matthews: 1 catch on 6 targets, 6 yards 

Mack Hollins: 1 target

“Everybody’s gotta step up, meaning me,” Agholor said. “I only had, what, four catches? I gotta make more plays.”

It would certainly help if the Eagles got some more plays from their receivers, but at this point in the season, it’s unrealistic to expect a switch to get flipped. The Eagles have had most of their success with long drives, dinking and dunking their way down the field. 

For months, the Eagles have said the chunk plays are coming. They’re not. 

Why is Wentz so confident they’ll get more firepower from these players? 

“For me, I get to see all these guys at practice,” Wentz said. “I think everyone in here and in the public doesn’t get to see it. So I have a lot of confidence in the guys that when their number’s called, they’re going to make plays.”

Maybe Wentz has confidence — and maybe he should — but it would be misguided for anyone else to have it. These receivers kind of are what they are at this point. Was anyone really surprised Agholor failed to haul in that catch at the end of the game? 

I didn’t think so. 

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Lane Johnson injury too much for Eagles to overcome

Lane Johnson injury too much for Eagles to overcome

It felt like the Saints playoff game. The Eagles were up 7-0 and a couple plays from taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Brandon Brooks blew out his Achilles. The Eagles didn’t score again.

This time, the Eagles had taken a 10-0 lead over the Patriots early in the second quarter, and this time it was Lane Johnson, and it was a concussion. But the result was the same. Once again, the Eagles didn’t score.

The Eagles’ offense was utterly ineffective Sunday once Johnson, the Eagles’ two-time Pro Bowl right tackle, left the game after the Eagles’ second-quarter touchdown drive.

That 10-0 lead with Johnson turned into a 17-10 loss without him (see Roob's observations). And while there were plenty of other factors, his absence was glaring.

First three drives? Ten points and 147 yards.

Last nine drives? No points and 108 yards.

“There’s no excuse, we’ve got to be better as an offense,” Brooks said. “But you just don’t replace a Lane Johnson.”

Johnson was carted off the field after getting hurt, which is unusual with a concussion. It might not necessarily be a sign of how serious this particular head injury is, but it certainly wasn't encouraging.

Head coach Doug Pederson said after the game he didn’t have an update on Johnson’s status or the severity of the injury.

“Lane’s impact on our team is well documented,” said Jordan Matthews, who’s been with Johnson most of the last six years. “Obviously, we want him to take his time and make sure he’s OK, but it goes without saying that we need that guy out there when we’re trying to move the ball as an offense.”

Big V — Halapoulivaati Vaitai — played the rest of the game at right tackle ahead of Andre Dillard, the promising rookie first-round pick who played so well at left tackle the last three games with Jason Peters out.

Vaitai was a starting left tackle in a Super Bowl championship, but he’s no Lane Johnson.

Brooks said there wasn’t anything schematically the Eagles weren’t able to do once Johnson left the game.

They did the same thing. They just didn’t do it very well.

“I wouldn’t say there’s anything because he went out that we tried to scheme up differently as far as blocking and stuff,” he said. “We just have to do a better job.”

Johnson’s absence was really felt in the running game.

The Eagles ran 10 times for 47 yards with Johnson on the field, 4.7 yards a pop.

They were 11-for-34 without Johnson, 3.1 yards a pop.

That was a huge part of their game plan but it just wasn't effective after Johnson got hurt.

“Shoot, next man up,” Brooks said. “You’ve got a 100 percent chance of getting hurt. Same thing with me when I tore my Achilles. We’re always fortunate until we’re not. That’s the biggest thing. Got to pray that it’s nothing serious, that he can heal up and come back soon, but that’s just ball, man.”

On the first six drives after Johnson left the game, the Eagles netted 21 yards of offense. They moved the ball a little better late but still didn’t score.

It was just a pathetic all-around effort.

“Obviously, losing Lane probably was a factor,” Zach Ertz said. “I think we were up 10-0 when he went out. And he’s the best right tackle in the league, arguably the best tackle in the league, period, But (you) can never blame it on injuries.”

If Johnson misses time, the Eagles could keep Big V at right tackle or get Dillard some work there and hope Peters can stay healthy.

Either way, it’s a huge blow to an offense that’s already missing DeSean Jackson, Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Alshon Jeffery.

“Nothing against Big V, but Lane’s one of the best in the game, one of the best at what he does,” Matthews said. "His focus and attention to detail but his grit too is like all-elite to me. When he’s not there we obviously miss him, but hey next man up. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, nobody’s going to say, ‘Aww, dang, Lane’s not in, so let’s take it easy on them.’ Everybody’s trying to win games, it’s November football, so we’ve got to have next man up. Big V’s going to play well for us and we have to try to find a way to win.”

Pederson was asked if Johnson’s exit changed anything as far as the way the Eagles were able to operate:

“It didn’t change anything,” he said. “No.”

It clearly did, though. It changed everything.

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