Philadelphia's offense was not impressive, but the Eagles defense was as they overcame the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the NFL divisional round.
The Eagles shut down Atlanta's potent offense and earned a berth in next week's NFC championship game following Saturday's triumph at Lincoln Financial Field.
Atlanta (11-7) were actually favoured to knock off the NFC's top seed, because the Eagles offense has sputtered since starting quarterback Carson Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a week 14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
However, Atlanta's eighth-ranked offense that averaged nearly 365 yards per game was held to 281 yards by the Eagles on Saturday.
"That's a really good Atlanta team we beat and everybody's excited," Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox told NBC Sports. "We got a big team win. We'll be ready for next week."
With the win, the Eagles (14-3) will host next week's NFC title game against either the New Orleans Saints or the Minnesota Vikings, who play on Sunday.
EAGLES COACH PEDERSON HAD PERFECT GAME PLAN
Despite a shaky start that included running back Jay Ajayi fumbling on his first carry and two poorly thrown passes by Nick Foles, the Eagles settled down and implemented Doug Pederson's superb game plan. Foles, whose struggles over the final two weeks of the regular season were a big reason the Eagles were home underdogs, finished 23 of 30 for 246 yards with completions to eight different players. He completed just one pass thrown beyond 15 yards as Pederson used a variety of short throws to build his quarterback's confidence.
From there, the Eagles receivers did a great job of getting yards after the catch. Alshon Jeffery was the top receiver with four catches for 61 yards while rookie running back Corey Clement led the team with five receptions for 31 yards. Ajayi, who ran for 54 yards, caught three passes for 44 yards. Foles did get lucky as the Eagles got a field goal to make it a 10-9 Falcons lead before half-time thanks to a fortunate deflection. A Foles pass went off the knee of a leaping Keanu Neal and the ball caromed back to Eagles receiver Torrey Smith.
"We just kept believing in each other. That was it. Our team never wavered," Foles told NBC Sports. "Defense did an amazing job. Special teams.
"That's been the story this year. We all stuck together and believed we could move the ball."
RYAN DID NOT SCAN THE FIELD WELL
The Eagles sacked Matt Ryan three times, but even when the Falcons quarterback had time, he was locked in on either Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu. When the Falcons reached the Super Bowl last season, they did so largely because Ryan did an incredible job of spreading the ball around. He failed to find his second read on Saturday as 21 of his 36 pass attempts were to either Jones or Sanu. Jones finished with nine catches for 101 yards on 16 targets while Sanu had three receptions for 50 yards on five targets.
Ryan's final pass, on a fourth-and-goal from the two, was incomplete as he tried to force it to Jones in the corner of the end zone.
Taylor Gabriel, who had two catches for four yards, was the only other Falcons receiver with more than one target. Ryan's best pass may have been an improvisational throw as the Falcons capitalised on an Eagles turnover to take a 10-6 lead in the second quarter.
A muffed punt, which bounced off the feet of at least two Eagles players, led to a Falcons touchdown. Ryan did his best Brett Favre impression to spin away from pressure before lobbing a short pass to a crossing Devonta Freeman for a six-yard score.
Ryan was the 2016 NFL MVP because he made plays like that, but he was not nearly as productive in 2017 and was hamstrung by play calling and the Eagles defense on Saturday.
SAINTS-VIKINGS WINNER WILL REPRESENT NFC IN SUPER BOWL
While Foles did not turn the ball over on Saturday, he also did not throw a touchdown pass and did little to instil much confidence in Philadelphia's offense. The Eagles' defense is among the league's best, but the Vikings have the NFL's top defense and the Saints defense ranks third with 20 interceptions.
Whether it is the Vikings or the Saints, the Eagles defense might be on the field too much and the game could get away from Philadelphia despite the benefit of homefield advantage.
|Leganes 1 Real Madrid 0 (1-3 agg): Isco starts as Solari´s side go through despite defeat|
|NFL playoffs 2019: X-factor for each NFC team|
|Mahomes: Chiefs must not repeat mistakes against Patriots|
|Higuain´s Supercoppa benching due to virus, says Milan boss Gattuso|
|Brown fires back at Arians over ´diva´ comments|
|Stone heading home from West Indies tour with back injury|
|Shazier will continue rehab with intention of playing again|
|That´s why we signed him! Allegri hails Supercoppa match-winner Ronaldo|
|Monaco on worst home run in club´s history after Nice draw|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Girona 3 (4-4 agg): Simeone´s side out on away goals|
|Gregg Williams is Jets´ new defensive coordinator|
|Ronaldo: Supercoppa triumph just the start for Juve|
|Monaco confirm Batshuayi talks|
|You know more than me! Bielsa´s Barcelona research surprised Guardiola|
|Juventus 1 AC Milan 0: Ronaldo heads Bianconeri to Supercoppa glory|
|Kane injury cannot be excuse for Tottenham – Pochettino|
|Woods to open 2019 schedule at Torrey Pines|
|Reported Liverpool target Dabbur to undergo Sevilla medical|
|Lebanon v North Korea: Radulovic calls on players to make history|
|MLS MVP Martinez signs five-year contract with Atlanta|
|WBC set deadline for Wilder-Fury rematch|
|Iran 0 Iraq 0: Team Melli top Group D after dull draw|
|Vietnam 2 Yemen 0: Quang Hai shines to give Golden Dragons hope|
|Bielsa admits to spying on all Leeds´ opponents|
|Valverde open to arrivals amid De Jong tug-of-war|
|Sexton named in Ireland squad for Six Nations openers|
|Higuain benched for Supercoppa Italiana amid Chelsea links|
|De Grandhomme, Latham and Santner back in Black Caps squad|
|Oman v Turkmenistan: Verbeek tells players to ´score as many as possible´|
|Japan v Uzbekistan: Cuper not distracted by potential last-16 opponents|
|Brown desperate for England recall|
|Lowry ties course record in Abu Dhabi|
|James is playing for Bayern future – Kovac|
|Wizards can compete for playoffs in LeBron-less East despite injuries - Brooks|
|Kyrgyzstan 3 Philippines 1: Lux hat-trick gives White Falcons third-place hope|
|South Korea 2 China 0: Son sets the standard as Bento´s men take top spot|
|Saudi Arabia v Qatar: Top spot on the line in Group E|
|Wasps pull off Fekitoa coup|
|Fresh injury woe for Real Madrid defender Vallejo|
|Home sweet home for Wozniacki as Stephens conquers Melbourne demons|
|Nadal: Victory over Ebden a step forward|
|Proteas rest Steyn and De Kock for opening ODIs|
|Nadal and Federer march on as rising stars prosper|
|Barcelona president Bartomeu convinced Valverde will stay|
|Inter forward Keita suffers thigh injury|
|Nadal races into third round with easy Ebden win|
|Kimmich ´perfect´ for Barcelona, says Xavi|
|Richardson and Nabi inspire Renegades´ rout of Sixers|
|This Liverpool isn´t a team of chokers – Mane|
|Central Coast Mariners 2 Melbourne City 1: Late Simon winner ends 10-match losing streak|
|Bryan backs Murray to return after hip resurfacing surgery|
|Scotland coach Townsend turns to trio of uncapped hookers|
|Spurs´ Aurier arrested on suspicion of assault, released without charge|
|That was a fireworks show - Warriors revel in record-breaking first quarter|
|We are in talks with Chelsea – Salihamidzic reiterates interest in Hudson-Odoi|
|´Proud´ Messi recognises impact of team-mates after reaching 400 LaLiga goals|
|Henry v Vieira: The Arsene Wenger proteges to move into coaching|
|Federer enjoys ´cat and mouse´ win over Evans|
|Wozniacki cruises through in Melbourne|
|Federer maintains perfect Australian Open second-round record|
|Warriors set NBA record, Butler´s 76ers rout Timberwolves|
|´I like the fact we beat them´ - 76ers´ Butler revels in win over Timberwolves|
|Murray says he´ll ´probably´ have operation|
|Australian Open tribute for Andy Murray surprises brother Jamie|
|Warriors score NBA record 51 points in first quarter against Nuggets|
|Panthers owner Tepper doesn´t rule out Newton missing 2019 because of shoulder injury|
|De Ligt will be world´s best centre-back – Koeman|
|Ronaldo a ´perfect machine´, says Gattuso|
|Barcelona? I can´t say anything - Stuani|
|Silva upbeat about Man City title chances|