Similar to a Hollywood script written for suspense and dramatic effect the Falcons had fans on the edge of their seats Matt Ryan had thrown his third interception at the worst possible time deep in the red zone pressure got the best of him.
He forced it into a triangle of Eagles Nathan Gary came down with the ball sucking the air out of Mercedes Benz stadium. It appeared the Falcons had choked again.
Carson Wentz played like a magician escaping out the pack of defenders he would disappear, and all of sudden appear with his head up throwing darts. With the game on the line, he threw a deep pass down the left sideline to a wide-open Nelson Angolor the ball hit him in perfect stride like two kids playing in the backyard with no defenders. The ball slipped right through his palms that was the game there was nothing but air in front of him.
As an owner, If you are going to pay big bucks to an athlete, then you expect him to deliver Julio Jones earned the right to cash his check. The $66 Million man came through for the Falcons in season-saving dramatic form. Matt Ryan threw a simple wide receiver screen. The timing was impeccable. Julio caught it paused and went into a toe-tapping patient motion to set up the block. And what a helluva block it was, just as he turned Jake Mathews (6’5, 309 Lbs.) appeared as if he was an out of control locomotive and destroyed defensive back Avonte Maddox 5’9, 184 Lbs.
He collapsed like a skyscraper being demolished using precise execution. Julio exploded off the block to see the green sea open, at that point, it was a footrace to the end zone, of course, he crossed the goal line 54 yards later displaying his trademark sprinter form leaning across the finish line.
That play not only won the game he also became the Falcons all-time leading receiver surpassing Roddy White and possibility pulling the Falcons off the ledge of a disappointing season. Sometimes it’s one play, one player, or one game that provides that franchise-altering paradigm. Being 1-1 is sobering compared to 0-2 following all the hype coming into the season. I am going to call it a defining moment in the 2019 season.
Julio said, “that type of plays may look spectacular to you guys, but for us, it’s routine we have the talent to make those type of plays.”
Angohlor atoned for his dropped pass facing 4th and 15 from their 39-yard line Wentz emerged from the human debris and flung it 43 yards. How was that possible facing such odds? It was a mental breakdown; all the defense had to do was not allow anyone to get behind them. But that would have been boring. The Falcons had to make it dramatic. Afterall Atlanta is Hollywood south. The Eagles stalled again this time on 4th, and 8 from the Falcons 16 yard line Zack Ertz caught the ball but came up a yard short. The official on the far side gave the human eyespot, but after further review the eye in the sky got it right. He was short, just like that, the Falcons won an emotional rollercoaster of a game to save the psyche of the team. Credit the coaching staff for holding on to those timeouts so they could challenge.
That’s the good news
The last thing an opponent should want is to see is Atlanta off to a fast start. The Eagles took their chance deferring until the second half; it paid off early. The first half was about undisciplined penalties (8) for 45 yards, three of them false starts. Aware of their troubles perhaps the offensive line was seeking any advantage.
For most of the game, the Falcons couldn’t get out of their own way every time they did something positive something negative followed to allow the Eagles to stay close. Their big break came at the beginning of the second half when Sherrod Neasman recovered a fumble during the kick return.
The Eagles lost both of their star receivers Deshaun Jackson and Alshon Jefferies to injuries early in the game, yet they put up on heck of a fight. This game was typical for these teams the last three going down to the wire. The difference this time it was the Falcons prevailing 24-20.
Matt Ryan completed 24 of 43 passes for 320 yards. He threw 3 touchdowns and matched that with 3 interceptions. In his sophomore campaign, Calvin Ridley is proving to be the second threat option 8 catches for 105 yards and 1 touchdown.
The man of the game Julio Jones caught 5 passes for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns none more impressive than the game-winner.
Key Facts of the Game
Vic Beasley and Tackk Mckinney brought pressure from the edge
Falcons committed only 2 penalties in the second half after committing 8 in the first half
Julio Jones got 10 unforced targets