The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the more imperfect teams in the NFL so far. As such, Eagles fans like myself were weary about facing the perfect Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 28. Still, the Falcons have needed last-minute escapes to pull out their previous three wins, so they weren't completely perfect. However, that is exactly what they were for much of this game.
The Falcons lived up to their record and more, especially by not punting the ball in the first 55 minutes and scoring on their first six drives. Even a much better Eagles team couldn't have withstood this any better, as the Falcons rolled to a 30-17 victory which wasn't that close.
The tone was set immediately on the first drive, as Atlanta ate almost nine minutes of clock, converted five third-downs and ended it all with a touchdown. In fact, receiver Drew Davis got his first ever catch when he was wide open on the first third-down conversion - then was even more wide open for a touchdown on the last third-down. Then once the Eagles went three-and-out, the Falcons ate up the rest of the first quarter on their next touchdown drive.
Atlanta controlled the ball for all but two minutes in the first quarter, as it slowly but surely tore the Philadelphia defense apart. The Falcons didn't need a big play or bomb - but they still got one after the Eagles stuck back with a touchdown of their own. Before Philadelphia could build any momentum, Matt Ryan let loose with a 63-yard TD strike to Julio Jones, which pretty much sucked out what life the Eagles had left.
From then on in, Philadelphia could only trudge along in the steadily pouring rain, as Atlanta continued to pour everything else on. Michael Vick didn't turn the ball over for once, but the Eagles were in too big of a hole to do anything else.
While the Falcons didn't score another touchdown after the Jones catch, they kept eating up the clock, chipping in field goals and imposing their will throughout. In addition, Ryan remained on his feet most of the day and was mistake-free - reminding Philadelphia that there are still quarterbacks like that.
The Falcons may not be a perfect team to the letter, despite their 7-0 record. But they were virtually flawless for most of this afternoon, which was more than enough to beat down this less than perfect Eagles squad.
Eight years ago, the 2004 Eagles also started 7-0 on their way to the first - and likely last - Super Bowl of the Andy Reid era. Now those glory days look further away for Philadelphia, with the odds of seeing them again getting longer with each loss.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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