But after triumphing as the first ever No. 1 overall seed staked as an underdog in National Football League history, the locker room was the place to be. They never tried to power the ball with the run at the Eagles.
Rather than play down to expectations, they appeared determined to prove the doubters and the oddsmakers wrong-and they did.
But perhaps the most disturbing sign was the surprising first-half disappearance of Ajayi. Turnovers were. The Eagles put four balls on the ground, losing two.
The Falcons are going to have a painful, regret-filled offseason, one year after what, by the numbers, was the most painful, regret-filled offseason of the NFL's Super Bowl era. A botched hand-off early in the second quarter led to another fumble. But Pederson's shift led to a brutish drive that landed the Eagles in the end zone via, you guessed it, a Blount rushing touchdown.
It was initially ruled a touchdown, but the call was overturned upon review.
The loss of Wentz certainly factored into the questions about the Eagles' playoff viability, as did the shaky play of his replacement, Nick Foles, to close out the regular season.
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Hillsman paced Texas A&M with six points on 3-for-3 shooting as the Aggies held a one-point edge at the end of the quarter. Duane Wilson came off the bench and had six points and six assists Saturday after missing three games with a knee injury.
Things began nicely for Philadelphia when safety Brian Poole was tagged with pass interference on a deep pass by Foles that was held up by the wind. Jay Ajayi's fumble and a misplayed punt that bounced off Bryan Braman led to 10 Atlanta points. The drive started at Philadelphia's 7-yard line, and the Eagles advanced 74 yards in 12 plays.
In the victorious locker room, the Philadelphia Eagles' players were mocking the national experts labeling them as an underdog despite being a No. 1 seed. On second down, Ryan hit Julio Jones to bring the ball to the 2. He was able to get back up as Matt Ryan rolled out, but Ryan's throw ended up being a little too high for his star receiver. It's disappointing to not get the outcome that you want.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan rolled to his right side.
The Falcons were 1-of-3 in the red zone against the Eagles.
It kept the Falcons off balance, and with the offensive line rolling in both run blocking and pass protection, it kept Foles "on schedule", leading to the needed high conversion rate on third downs (6-of-13). They took advantage of every miscue and gave Foles chances over and over, to either score or control the clock.
The Falcons, last year's NFC champions, had trouble getting off the field in the second half.
Before Sunday's game, Pederson had been watching film of Foles's time with Chip Kelly in hopes of recapturing the magic Foles possessed back in 2013, and despite not putting up eye-popping numbers, Foles responded by executed a game plan built around his strengths. With the win, the Eagles (14-3) will host next week's NFC title game against either the New Orleans Saints or the Minnesota Vikings, who play on Sunday. Despite how Foles played, it will not be surprising if the Eagles end up being underdogs again next week.