Eagles Struggle Past Falcons for 18-12 Win in 2018 NFL Season Opener

With his offense struggling, Eagles coach Doug Pederson dusted off a variation of the most iconic playcall in franchise history. This one, known as “Philly Philly,” provided the spark he was looking for in an 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Nick Foles was not his Super Bowl self in the first half Thursday night, averaging just 3.6 yards per pass attempt, and the offense was outgained by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones 89-68 over the first two quarters.

Needing to inject some life into the unit, Pederson dialed up a play similar to the “Philly Special” that came to define the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots. In fact, “Philly Philly” is a play the Patriots ran in the Super Bowl against the Eagles, but the pass to quarterback Tom Brady fell incomplete in that game.

“I mean, it’s a good play,” Foles said Thursday. “This league, there’s a lot of great plays, there’s a lot of great minds, so when you see something like that, that’s unique and it works well, you try to execute it like they do.”

Or in this case, better.

Facing a third-and-5 from the Falcons’ 41-yard line midway through the third quarter, Nelson Agholor, playing the role of Trey Burton, came around on a reverse and lofted a throw to a streaking Foles for a 15-yard gain — the longest of the night for Philadelphia to that point. Jay Ajayi scored the Eagles’ first touchdown of the 2018 season five plays later.

Foles said they had run that play only once in practice. Agholor was a backup quarterback in high school but doesn’t have much in-game throwing experience. He said the last pass he threw was during a spring game at USC.

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