NFC Playoff Recap: Divisional Round

By: Thomas Capo
Posted: January 16, 2018

Atlanta Falcons 10
Philadelphia Eagles 15

Saturday, January 13 th , 4:35 PM EST.

Nick Foles did everything the Eagles asked of him in the divisional round.

He didn’t make mistakes and he didn’t give the Falcons anything to build on.

For the top-seeded Eagles, owners of a stingy rush defense and duo of hard-to- tackle rushers, it
was enough.

OK. Maybe not quite enough. Philadelphia also got a wildly improbable Torrey Smith twenty-
yard reception that somehow slipped through Falcons’ safety Keanu Neal’s arms and popped
straight up off his knee. That surefire interception-turned- reception set up an Eagles’ field goal
to close out the half. It was painful to watch, yet somehow inevitable. The horribly-thrown ball
rocketing skyward just as Neal’s hands closed in on it, lofting slowly through the air directly at
the unintended receiver. Strangely, it was one of the longest passing plays of the game for the
Eagles. It was also a bit of a metaphor for the game as a whole.

A return trip to the NFC Championship game was there for the Falcons to take.

They just couldn’t make it happen.

Throughout the game, the Eagles defense made Matt Ryan look quite ordinary, holding him to
four of thirteen on third downs, and a pedestrian (by Ryan’s standards) 210 yards and one
touchdown. Julio Jones managed over one hundred yards on the game, but again was kept out
of the end zone. His three touchdowns this year are his lowest total since the 2013 season,
when he only played in five games. While he put up over fourteen-hundred yards this season,
Jones simply hasn’t been the game breaker he’s been in seasons past. If the Falcons want to
get back to the top, they’ll need him to regain some of the explosive power he’s known for.

The Eagles, for their part, are content to prepare this week for their second-consecutive home
playoff game as an underdog. I think they’re fine with that.

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Tom Capo


Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.



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