Eagles 15, Falcons 10: Up-down drill, playoff edition | Jeff McLane

Eagles O-line

UP – Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks led a unit that controlled the line of scrimmage almost all game. They kept Nick Foles clean and picked up many five-man rushes. They gashed the Falcons on the ground and turned their D-line into a sieve. The O-linemen — including Stefen Wisniewski and Halapoulivaati Vaitai — were the Eagles’ most valuable players.

Doug Pederson

UP – The Eagles coach showed all season that he could game plan and call offensive plays with the best of the NFL. He dug dip into his playbook and featured Nelson Agholor in the run game. He got Nick Foles comfortable in the second half. And he helped deliver the Eagles’ their first playoff victory in nine years.

Nick Foles

UP – He was as bad as many expected he’d be in the first half. But Foles outplayed Matt Ryan after the break and looked like the poised quarterback circa 2013. Who knows how the Eagles’ postseason run will end, but Foles has earned a place forever in the team’s annals.

Jay Ajayi

SIDEWAYS – His fumble on his first carry led to the Falcons’ first three points. But the “Jay Train” got rolling thereafter. But for some reason, Ajayi wasn’t on the field for almost the entire second quarter. He returned in the second half and he took a screen pass for a big 32 yards.

Nelson Agholor

UP – Was Pederson saving his bag of Agholor tricks for 17 games? Maybe. The receiver is the Eagles’ most electric weapon — minus Carson Wentz — and they needed him to be on Saturday. Agholor’s 21-yard dart that set up the Eagles’ first touchdown was a thing of beauty.

Jake Elliott

SIDEWAYS – The Eagles kicker continued to be great from far, not so great from close. Elliott clanked an extra point off the right upright, but he nailed a 53-yard field goal before the half. Despite an ugly kickoff out of bounds, he connected on 37- and 21-yard field goals after the break.

Alshon Jeffery

UP – He was quiet for almost the entire first half. But Jeffery woke up big time after the break. The receiver was instrumental in the Eagles’ third-fourth quarter drive that expanded their lead to five points, catching three passes for 45 yards.

Jalen Mills

UP – Mills, as usual, was up and down, but he made the game-clinching play when he plastered Julio Jones on the Falcons’ last-chance touchdown try. The Eagles cornerback missed an early tackle and held  Jones in the end zone in the second quarter, but he had a big third-down pass breakup in the third.

Fletcher Cox

UP – It was time for the big dog to step up and he did. The all-pro defensive end was disruptive all game. He recorded a sack, pushed the pocket and made several run stops.

Malcolm Jenkins

SIDEWAYS – The Eagles’ emotional leader was a third-down stopping machine early in the game. But Jenkins made a poor decision on third and goal in the second quarter when he vacated his coverage and left Devonta Freeman open for a 6-yard touchdown catch.

Rodney McLeod

UP – He was called for a bogus personal foul in the second quarter. McLeod led with his shoulder and hit a Falcons receiver on the shoulder. The Eagles free safety had a huge second-half sack and let little get behind him all game.

Matt Ryan

DOWN – The Philly (high school) product drove the Falcons two yards from victory, and Steve Sarkisian’s play-calling didn’t exactly help the quarterback, but Ryan came up short.

 

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