Injury-riddled Falcons dominated by Eagles in Dome
The Falcons were dominated by the Philadelphia Eagles at home, beaten soundly by a score of 34-7. The Falcons were riddled with injuries, missing five starters on offense and their replacements were unable to muster any production until a 99-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter against Eagles backups. The loss drops the Falcons record to 6-6 and likely makes any chance of earning a wildcard playoff spot impossible now that they do not own the tie-breaker against three NFC East teams that all have better records than them currently.
Chris Redman got the start instead of an injured Matt Ryan, and struggled early on. He only completed 2 of his first 11 pass attempts. He managed to finish the day completing 23 of 44 attempts for 235 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, one of which was taken 83 yards by Sheldon Brown for a score. Without Michael Turner, the running game had little success. Jason Snelling led the team with 10 carries for 35 yards, while Jerious Norwood only added 18 yards on 11 carries. Roddy White led receivers with 9 catches for 104 yards, and the team’s only score. Tony Gonzalez also added 8 catches for 72 yards, breaking the team record for most catches in a season by a tight end, as he now has 69 on the season. Marty Booker started in place of Michael Jenkins, but the team got little production from him as he only had 1 catch for 4 yards. The Falcons were also missing offensive line starters Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl, and while the Eagles only wound up with 2 sacks on the day, they were able to put pressure on Redman throughout the game. The Falcons were able to drive down the field late in the first half, getting the ball to the Eagles 1-yard line with more than a minute remaining, but were unable to score, as Jason Snelling was stuffed three times, including a 4th down effort. That coupled with their opening drive of the second half in which they were able to get the ball to the Eagles 22-yard line before Redman’s pick six, irreparably gave all momentum to the Eagles.
Defensively, the Falcons continued to struggle with giving up big plays as they gave up three passing plays of more than 40 yards. Curtis Lofton led the unit with 6 tackles. Kroy Biermann (3 tackles, 1 sack), Thomas DeCoud (5 tackles), Chevis Jackson (4 tackles), Mike Peterson (4 tackles), and Lawrence Sidbury (3 tackles, 1 sack) had notable games. While the defense had a relatively solid showing in the first half, holding the Eagles to 13 points, the failure on offense at the end of the half seemed to have sucked the life out of the Falcons. Coupled with the 21 points that were created by the Eagles off three Falcons turnovers for a very ugly performance as the Falcons postseason hopes appear dashed.
The team’s new kicker Matt Bryant’s only appearance came on the extra point as time elapsed. Michael Koenen had 6 punts for an average of 43.8 yards with half of them being put inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems averaged 10 yards on 2 punt returns, and 26.2 yards on 6 kickoffs, but fumbled his second attempt, setting up an Eagles score.
Even if the Falcons playoff hopes are still technically alive, the path doesn’t get any easier as they face a home rematch against the undefeated New Orleans Saints (12-0). The Falcons gave the Saints a game in Week 8 on Monday Night, losing 35-27, but their chances at getting revenge aren’t high with their current injuries. The Falcons have split their last 10 home games against the Saints, with their last victory coming in 2008.