It was an ornithological feast today at the Georgia Dome, where the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons pasodoble‘d for another victory. The Eagles took to the field sans running back Brian Westbrook and wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the Falcons were without quarterback Matt Ryan, offensive linemen Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl, running back Michael Turner, and wide receiver Michael Jenkins.
Broadcast on Fox, with commentary by Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston, the first quarter puffed out favorably for the Eagles as they made a field goal and then recovered fumbled ball when the Falcons were taking to offense. What say you, early shock therapy? Make the mistakes in the first half of the first quarter like a bucket of cold water to the face? Hmmm. That turnover gave the Eagles a greater lead with a touchdown pass connection between quarterback Donovan McNabb and fullback Leonard Weaver. Philadelphia 10 and Atlanta 0. The Eagles would’ve upped their lead again in the remaining seconds of the first quarter, but David Akers’s thirty-nine yard field goal was no good.
The Falcons were unable to take advantage of the handful of Eagles’ mistakes in the top of the second quarter. Nearing the second half of the second quarter, I wonder who is more frustrated, Matt Ryan or Chris Redman? After off-setting penalties on both teams in the middle of the quarter, it appeared that the Falcons defense got a second wind. They kept the Eagles’ pointage to a field goal. Philadelphia 13 and Atlanta 0. By the final two minutes in the second quarter, the Falcons’ offense were capitalizing on Eagles’ errors. Would that effort be enough for either a TD or an FG? Nope. Rather than kicking a field goal, the Falcons tried for a touchdown. After three consecutive failed attempts for running back Jason Snelling to break the plane, the Falcons inexplicably tried a fourth time? Third time is the charm not the fourth.
Third quarter dragged out some poetic icy-hot as Michael Vick made his first TD of the season. Philadelphia 20 and Atlanta 0. Whatever cinnabon the Falcons were on was quickly smashed as Chris Redman threw an interception straight into the bosom of Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown, who then ran eighty-three yards for a touchdown. Philadelphia 27 and Atlanta 0. The third came and went with no Falcons score.
The first play of the fourth quarter? Chris Redman threw another interception, this time to Eagles safety Sean Jones. Michael Vick was QB for the Eagles in the top of the quarter. A connection between him and tight end Brent Celek produced a TD. More poetic icy-hot for the Vick. His first passing TD would be in Atlanta, against Atlanta, bien sur. Philadelphia 34 and Atlanta 0. Because Vick injured his right hand after throwing that TD pass, Kevin Kolb went in as QB. As the game clock boiled to under two minutes, Chris Redman threw a series of complete passes, one of which went to wide receiver Brian Finneran. Hallelujah, wide receiver Roddy White kept the game from being a shut-out with a TD catch. Philadelphia 34 and Atlanta 7.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Pre-game footage included Michael Vick greeting former teammates and chatting with Tony Siragusa.
2. What does it mean if I were to say that I’m not sure the Falcons would have done any better in the first quarter if Matt Ryan were playing? On the other hand, if Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl were playing, I think the Falcons would’ve scored at least two field goals by the top of the second quarter.
3. “You can’t just get your hands on him and keep your hips square,” Daryl Johnston remarked halfway through the second quarter.
4. Today’s game reminded me of Falcons’ entire 2007 season.
5. Brian Finneran didn’t play in the last three games–Matt Ryan’s performance was shoddy in the last three games. Coincidence?
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.