Eagles' defense came to the rescue in opener

The Eagles defense came up with two massive goal-line stands to turn the ball over on downs, one that stopped the Falcons on their first drive and the second one that denied Atlanta on five-straight red-zone plays to end the game and seal the win. For at least the first week, it carried the weight as Pederson's offense struggled to get on track. The Eagles gained 15 yards on a third down in Falcons territory, and Jay Ajayi scored with a short touchdown run.

The Eagles, 30 minutes in football time from seeing a Super Bowl banner raised, were treated to a chorus of boos from the home crowd as they left the field trailing the Atlanta Falcons, 6-3.

"I really believe we're going to make those plays as we move forward", an optimistic Ryan said after the game, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN. "We knew coming in this was going to be a good matchup defensively, offensively and all in different areas but that part of our game clearly tonight we didn't execute at the level we'd like and we've got work to do". Ryan completed just 49 percent of his throws for 251 yards, zero touchdowns, an interception and a 57.4 passer rating. But Rasul Douglas intercepted Ryan's pass at the 4.

RED ZONE WOES: The Falcons were 1 for 5 in the red zone after struggling inside the opponents' 20 past year. "It felt like the right time".

In his first season as the team's offensive coordinator in 2017, Steve Sarkisian directed Atlanta to a No. 8 ranking in total offense. He had 10 receptions for 169 yards but didn't score. Jones only had three TD catches last season. However the officials ruled he didn't have possession, an arguably dubious verdict that was upheld when Falcons coach Dan Quinn challenged it.

Notes: Long snapper Josh Harris was limited in practice Tuesday after missing Monday's session with a hip injury.

  • Steve Townsend