Rapid Reaction: Falcons 30, Eagles 17
October, 28, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts from the Philadelphia Eagles' pancake-flat loss to the still-unbeaten Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
What it means: Big trouble for Eagles coach Andy Reid, who's got a mandate to produce a winning record this year and now must win six of his final nine games in order to accomplish that. This is the first time in his 14 seasons as Eagles head coach that Reid has lost a game immediately following a bye week, and the worst part of this day was that his team looked completely uninspired. Two weeks after Reid fired his defensive coordinator in a clear desperation move, the defense played its worst game of the season as the Falcons scored on each of their first six possessions and ran away with the game.
Helpless: The Eagles' defense allowed an 80-yard, 16-play, 8:44 touchdown drive to begin the game. They gave up a 63-yard touchdown bomb to Julio Jones on the Falcons' third offensive possession. Atlanta scored touchdowns on each of its first three drives and field goals on the next three. Cedric Thornton, of all people, broke through in the third quarter to get to Matt Ryan and record the Eagles' first sack of October. But there was precious little pressure when it mattered, too many drive-extending penalties in the secondary, and in general, Ryan and the Falcons looked as though they were well ahead of the Eagles on almost every play. Atlanta did not punt until there was 5:35 left on the game clock in the fourth quarter.
Offensively speaking: The Falcons dominated the time of possession for the first three quarters, so the Eagles' offense didn't get much of a chance to affect the competitive portion of the game. And for just the second time this season, they did not commit a turnover. Still, there wasn't much to love about what the Eagles did or tried to do on offense. The line is a mess, obviously, down three starters now with right guard Danny Watkins hurt and inactive for the game. But they didn't start feeding the ball to running back LeSean McCoy until the fourth quarter, and doing so earlier in the game might be a good way to ameliorate the line's problems and keep the pass rush away.
What's next: The Eagles travel to New Orleans next week, where they'll try to get back to .500 against the Saints on "Monday Night Football." New Orleans has won two games in a row following an 0-4 start and plays the Broncos in Denver on Sunday night.